Monday, August 19, 2013

Blogging Housekeeping


I was right - while Jon's at work this week, before we head out to Suffolk, I've got plenty of time on my hands!  There are things to do, of course, but I think that today and tomorrow I'll primarily be orbiting cafés with wifi so that I can confirm last-minute wedding details by email and get caught up on some blog housekeeping.  (I'm seeing as many people as possible, too, of course, but most of my friends are busy during normal working hours!  Remember those student days when nearly everyone was free for a coffee almost anytime between 9am and 5pm?)  My family arrives in London on Wednesday morning, so I'll be a bit manic from the moment they land through the wedding weekend, which lasts until Monday morning.

While I'm thinking about all the blog housekeeping I'm doing, though, I thought I'd share the method to my madness!  At least, it's the method I'm currently using - it's changed a bit since I commented on Lauren's fab post from a few weeks ago about how she organizes the blogs she reads and I'm sure it will continue to evolve.  But her post, plus the backlog of more than 400 unread posts in my Bloglovin' dashboard, made me rethink how I sort everything.  Like so many of you, I feel really guilty when I fall behind on my blog reading - my Twitter feed is full of blog friends bemoaning how much they have to catch up on!  But, also like you, I understand when my readers miss a few days or weeks of my posts.  After all, sometimes we have to get out of our screens and into our real lives!  I do put pressure on myself to stay current, though, and the best way for me to minimize that is to be realistic and organized in how I follow blogs.

Back in February, I shared how I cleaned up my Blogger dashboard, which is how I followed blogs and got notified about new posts.  I never read blogs from Google Reader, but when that went away I used it as an excuse to transfer everything to Bloglovin' - and I love the flexibility and focus it gives me.


I follow 89 blogs.  This number used to be higher; when I commented on Lauren's post, I had a group called "mag reads" that then became "expert reads" before I got rid of it completely.  In there were all of the professional blogs I followed - you know, the ones that present themselves as experts on whatever topics (decor, styling, fashion, blogging, etc.) and that serve as the bloggers' livelihoods.  Honestly, while I love skimming those sites, I don't look at them regularly.  Having them in my dashboard just ended up being irrelevantly stressful - I was never going to clear those unread posts and I didn't need the pressure of that number creeping ever higher.  So I made sure I was following the bloggers on Twitter... and then I unfollowed all of the blogs on Bloglovin'.  When I see them tweet about a new post that interests me I can click over, but otherwise they don't bother me!

Here's how I group the blogs I follow:

Daily Reads
These are the blogs I try to read on a daily basis. For the most part, I have a relationship (even if only online) with the blogger and I feel invested in his/her life.

Regular Reads
I feel less responsible to my regular reads. Of course I enjoy them, which is why I follow them, but I don’t feel like I’m letting anyone down if I miss their posts for a week and then binge-read everything in one sitting.

Sponsors
My sponsors’ blogs get their own category – I realized very soon into offering sponsorships that I had to do this! When life gets busy enough that I have trouble making it through my daily reads, I need to highlight my sponsors’ new posts so I can make sure that, no matter what else is going on, I read them and comment on them and share them. This is super important to me!

To Discover
When I find new blogs, I resist putting them into either the "daily" or "regular" groups right away.  I want to see how frequently I actually feel compelled to stay current with their posts before I label them.  Sometimes I find that, after a blog has been put into "to discover," I never read it again even though I do check that group regularly for new posts!  That's a sign that I shouldn't have followed it in the first place.  It's all about being realistic.

I do feel like a disclaimer is necessary: I've been awful at reading everyone's blogs for the past six weeks or so because of real life demands on my time and I hope none of my readers try to guess which category they're in because one isn't better than another.  It's just that, with more than three years of blogging under my belt, I've learned I have to be smart about how I follow blogs or I'll quietly implode at my laptop.  But, like I said, this method is constantly evolving.  What suggestions do you have?  I'd love to hear what works for you, dear readers!

46 comments:

  1. I really like your breakdown and I think I may have to streamline my feeds to look more like this! I have "Engaging reads" (your dailies- bloggers I'd consider friends and with whom I often exchange comments or emails), "sometimes" (fun but often bigger bloggers who I don't feel as connected to), "thoughtful reads" (sit down and read on a saturday morning with a coffee), and a few other categories by topic--food, fashion, blog design/coding, professional...

    This post is a great kick in the rear to go in and give my feed a good cleaning!

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  2. Ah, I so need to do something like this. Currently, I have some blogs in my blogger feed, some in bloglovin and others I follow sporadically through twitter... this needs to change! I like the categories you're using and I think I'll use those as a start :) But first, I need to somehow found a few hours to sit and migrate over to bloglovin completely. So much easier to be streamlined.


    xxx
    Jenna

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  3. happy that you have a little down time before the wedding week picks up! I actually have very similar categories in my blog reader except I also have separate categories for food and wedding blogs. Creating my 'favorite daily reads' category was really important for me because those are the people that I have / want to form relationships with. And they deserve to know how much I enjoy reading their blogs!

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  4. I honestly don't have a system. Is that bad? I have everything in my blogger dashboard, which is possibly not the best place since it's screwy sometimes. And I follow many more people on twitter with blogs than I follow blogs specifically. Organizing them is a good idea. I often don't have time to read all the blogs I like, but I never feel guilty about it. You shouldn't either! We're busy women with jobs, significant others (who don't live with us), family, and friends. The real world is important!

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  5. also: did you read this post from Chelsea on why unfollowing is okay? http://www.sunnywithachanceofsprinkles.com/2013/08/why-unfollowing-is-okay.html
    I was pretty inspired by her post and ended up unfollowing a lot of blogs, instagrams and twitter accounts. It feels nice to clean up!

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  6. It's your wedding week! It's your wedding week! GAH!!! So exciting :) I feel like I have been waiting for this day for a long time and it isn't even my wedding! Enjoy your week, and I am sure slacking on blog reading over the past 6 weeks is not only understandable but forgivable ;)

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  7. I think having your sponsors in their own category is a brilliant way to organize and I am a bit jealous that i never thought of that... xx

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  8. This makes me feel guilty about organising my blogs. I have been using my blogger dashboard and sort of half using Bloglovin', and keep meaning to properly add all the blogs I read to Bloglovin' so I can properly and solely use that. I wish you could comment remotely from Bloglovin'. On Bloglovin' though, I do divide mine into categories - mainly fashion/beauty, lifestyle and other.

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  9. I've only just got around to properly reading your blog despite following you on instagram as I knew so many fabulous bloggers that I was struggling to keep up with! So this post feels very apt for me right now.


    I've also stopped following most professional blogs apart from one or two as those are ones I do genuinely engage with and enjoy engaging with except when my feeder has more than 200 unread items!

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  10. I have blogs sorted into categories based on a general theme - things like style bloggers, international bloggers, lifestyle ladies with adorable kids, recipe inspiration, etc. it's all rather arbitrary and based on my reason for reading a blog in the first place. it works fine, I guess; I don't have some sort of deep attachment to my system, which means I'll probably reorganize things in the future when I go on a housekeeping binge.

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  11. My reader is organised very similar to yours although I do like your "To Discover" section and will ponder that for the future.
    I really cut down my followed blogs lately as I was getting overwhelmed at the amount of unread posts. (I 'marked all as read' 3 times this summer because I just couldn't get caught up.) I never follow a blog for giveaway purposes so my reader doesn't get too clogged that way but every few months, if I notice that I'm not paying much attention to a particular blog, I'll remove it from my reader. I do keep most everyone on my Twitter though which will remind me to click over every once in awhile to check in.

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  12. I read through Bloglovin, and I love (no pun intended) it! I have a "daily reads" category, which are blogs where I read *almost* every single post. Then there are "favorites" which is different from the former only because I don't read every post all the time. Then I have "running" "photography" and "writing" categories, which are blogs specifically about those things. Then I have unsorted, which are blogs I click through occasionally and hit 1 post a week or so. In all, I have 100 blogs, which is a lot but manageable. I've stopped feeling bad for not catching every single post someone writes. Some people post every day! Who has time for that? Not I.

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  13. I have a similar setup to you, but I also have a million more categories. I have daily, weekly, and bookmarked (which is like your to discover category). Then I have blogs I don't read regularly organized by topic (and there are a lot of them!). I need to condense those somehow. I like the simplicity of yours though. I might have to do some weeding out!

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  14. i use the 'get to know' tab on my toolbar just like you use your 'to discover' group. i've found that this is essential. like you, i peruse my 'get to know' tab often, & i take note if i keep passing over a blog & not feeling drawn to clicking on it - that means it needs to be deleted from my lists altogether. right now i only have my 'daily' tab - but i like how you have a weekly or 'regular' reads group, & i may have to incorporate a similar tab on my toolbar. i am also considering deleting the 'professional' blogs off my lists after reading this post. sometimes i'm just not in the mood for them, but i feel guilty for passing them over all the time. maybe i'll do what you do: make sure i'm following them on twitter so i can click through if they've posted something i'm interested in.


    i LOVE these organization posts, & i think it'll be fun to do an update on my system in a few months. i enjoyed reading yours.

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  15. I just realised that apparently I follow too few blogs or have too much time ;) :D Although I avoid following blogs for the sake of link-ups or anything like that because I know I'm not going to read that blog everyday - and if I'm following, then I really am following :) But, some organisation in this department could help I guess :)

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  16. Jenni @ Flying on a RainbowAugust 19, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    I really need to do this! My unread posts seem to be constantly somewhere around the 500 mark and I'm really struggling to keep on top of it. You've inspired me to be more organised!

    Also, how exciting that your wedding is so close!!!

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  17. I'm so glad you published this post, I've been struggling to figure out a way to organize this better myself and I think your plan is brilliant. It's funny, I've been feeling so out of my routine as the summer has gone further and further along that I've done so little of the blog reading I love. I keep thinking I will catch up over the weekend, but I never do as much catching up as I think I will. Maybe once fall resumes! Hope you have a wonderful pre-wedding week! xoxo

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  18. Ooohh, I love organization. I really like your strategy here. I've started following more blogs and will probably need to implement something similar. It really is stressful when that "unread posts" number creeps up after a few days away from blogland!

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  19. This is so smart and something I really need to do this fall, I have not catagories and like you said the number will just rise to insanity!!

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  20. ooh thoughtful reads! I like that idea - I might have to jump on that!

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  21. aaaaah that would make me crazy! I have to see them all in one place - OCD much? haha

    I think there's a way to migrate everything from Blogger to Bloglovin' with the click of a button... I'll try to find it for you :)

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  22. that's a fab post - and so true! I will admit that there are some blogs in my "regular reads" category that I follow just because I want to support the blogger but I don't read often, but otherwise I throw all my "eh, maybe I'll be interested again someday" bloggers into Twitter. I really only unfollow someone on Twitter if they're actively bothering me!


    (I didn't officially follow any wedding blogs - I kept them all bookmarked. Maybe because they're all so expert? Not sure.)

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  23. haha if not having a system works for you then it's good!


    I started getting overwhelmed by my Blogger dashboard about a year ago, when the number of blogs I followed skyrocketed from, like, 30 to over 100. You never "clear" the posts in the blogger dashboard so I always felt behind even if I wasn't!


    But you are so right - the real world IS important! And knowing that everyone I follow knows that makes me feel okay about falling behind :)

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  24. what do you mean, comment remotely from Bloglovin'?


    I think that, with the exception of expat bloggers, I don't follow enough blogs that fall nearly into a category other than "lifestyle" to make sub categories. Maybe I need some new interests :P

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  25. well HELLO it's nice to meet you and welcome!


    part of why I had a hard time following professional blogs is that they post more than once a day - I was NEVER going to feel caught up :/

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  26. haha I will too - who knows what my system will look like in a few months?


    (can I ask how many you follow? I fell like it's an impressive number.)

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  27. yeah, it's interesting to see how - in regular usually but even in daily - some blogs will always only have 1 (or 0) unread posts while others will have a high number just because I don't click over. it's a sign!

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  28. I WANT TO FOLLOW BLOGS ABOUT WRITING. share?


    (also, I totally get mad at bloggers who post every day when I'm behind. WHO ARE YOU PROLIFIC PEOPLE AND WHY ARE YOU TORTURING ME?)

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  29. oh wow - that IS organized! I'm not sure I'd have the willpower to not feel guilty about not reading your last group... but, on the downside, sometimes I lose blogs because I unfollow them and then forget to save them elsewhere :/

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  30. I guess with the professional blogs it comes down to what you use them for - I just don't NEED any right now so I'm not motivated to follow. But if I had a project I'd probably start again!


    (thanks for inspiring this post!)

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  31. no such thing as following too few blogs - you do what works for you! but I did find that the number of blogs I followed increased exponentially rather than incrementally, which may have been why I got overwhelmed :( learn from my mistake, haha!

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  32. AH 500 I just got stressed for you.


    haha :)


    thank you!

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  33. I mean comment on them on BL - as you have to go to the actual blog to comment don't you? Opposed to the post from BL. Unless I have been using it wrong haha! I still haven't properly warmed to BL!


    I need more lifestyle ones to follow really, when I first started reading blogs they were all fashion and beauty and now I much prefer lifestyle ones.

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  34. I find it hard that some people I know personally also blog that frequently. I can't keep up with that.

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  35. My favorite is: http://writetodone.com/. They have great posts on writing, publishing, etc. I also subscribed to Writer's Digest emails, and they have some great posts on writing.

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  36. me neither. they need to slow their rolls :P

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  37. When I made the move over to Bloglovin I took the time to actually categorize my massive blogroll, which has made life so much easier. Now I need to go through and prune through everything. I love categories and yours sound very smart :)

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  38. Loving this blog organization inspiration. Enjoy your family in town and your upcoming wedding!

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  39. I love the way you broke this down and I feel like your line of thinking is very similar to mine. I may have to further categorize my reads based on this (which is helpful), but thanks.


    I actually have two blog readers I use: feedly, which has the blogs I read and comment on most often and then bloglovin, which pretty much contains every blog that I'm even remotely interested in. I do have categories that I sort them into, but I find I rarely actually use the feed, as my other feed is usually spilling over with content.


    That's why I am really loving your "to discover" category. I have a hard time sorting blogs sometimes that I think I may end up really, really loving versus if it's just a one-time or occasional thing that doesn't need to be in my daily feed. But I've kind of done like you -- I let them get into my daily feed for a while and if I really find myself not wanting to ever really read or anything, I let them go (but they remain forever saved in Bloglovin).


    Anyway, thanks for this and your transparency with this! :)))

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  40. I'm sooooooooo guilty of the whining! But I definitely need to get on it and organize the blogs I follow - your categories are a great inspiration. My biggest problem is that I follow a couple of multi-author blogs that publish a bunch of articles every day. One of them I'm writing for professionally so I like keeping tabs on it, but I don't think I need to have that one or the others in my Bloglovin' feed :p

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  41. I just checked - I'm currently at 78 on Bloglovin'. I totally thought it was higher than that, but I guess I've been slowly weeding people out.

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  42. When I jumped to bloglovin, I had my blogroll fairly organized. I thought. The guilt you mentioned has set in, however, and things haven't gotten a bit out-of-hand. Your 'housekeeping' skills are both timely and v encouraging! I'm off to revamp things; it's time to cut myself some blogreadin slack.

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I love reading your thoughts and suggestions! Please do leave a comment so we can get to know each other better.