F words, Blogging and Your Kitchen. What’s the connection?
That “F word” got your eye, eh? But it’s not what you think, as you’ll discover shortly. This post really is about how blogging, kitchens and F words are connected.
Or rather, why managing your blog is similar to organizing your kitchen. You’ll agree that both tasks are important since you spend quality time on both.
I will talk about:
- How to un-clutter (or declutter, if you prefer that word) your blog
- Four F words that will show you how. (yep, really!)
- How to showcase your content
Whether or not you enjoy cooking, you can’t really avoid the kitchen and it helps to keep it organized, right? I find it quite therapeutic to spend time in the kitchen creating—just as much as I love to write and spend time on my blogs (six of them). So, imagine my a-ha (ha!) moment when I sat at my desk one morning and realized how similar the two activities actually are! Both in terms of creating as well as staying organized.
As it happens, I am currently spring-cleaning my kitchen (and will soon do it on my blog). The kitchen is the hub of our home, just as the blog is the hub of my work. Both are challenging to maintain and organize. With the endless tasks involved on a day to day basis, I have to make sure that both run smoothly!
Friends and other guests who visit our home love to walk into our kitchen to see what’s cooking and don’t hesitate to give me feedback (there’s a pun!) and say they enjoy hanging out there.
Readers who come over to my blog browse around, see what I write and respond to my call to action, if any, and—hang out.
Spot the similarities?
Of course, I want everyone to feel happy—whether they visit my kitchen or my blog—and smile when they leave, with every intention of returning.
Like the kitchen, a blog has only so much space with which to grab the visitor’s attention. And with many people visiting, it is only fair that this space is organized in a way that’s easy to navigate.
Fortunately, there are so many ways to design a great experience for the visitors to your blog. And here is where those F words come in.
The four F words (maybe five) that I am referring to are:
Focusing on these F words not only works to make the kitchen look good—but also the blog. On an aside—is it coincidence that the visual editor toolbar in the classic editor on WordPress is called the kitchen sink? I am not surprised!
Let’s see how we can leverage these four F words to keep your blog fresh and interesting.
Features refer to the basic elements of a blog. This includes your content, obviously, then a way for your visitors to contact you, an “about me” page, social media profile/sharing buttons, an email subscription form to build your list, a disclosure page, any special offers you may have and other elements you need to achieve your blogging goals. (yes, you need blogging goals). Now, unless you wanted to revamp your blog, you would not change these, just as you wouldn’t change your refrigerator, microwave, stove, sink and dishwasher in your kitchen—unless you were remodeling.
Next comes flow—which is all about how your blog’s features relate to one another. In your kitchen, you place various appliances and features like your sink, dishwasher, oven etc. in such a way that they’re conveniently placed and easy to access, so you can efficiently cook up that fabulous meal.
In the same way, on your blog, you want to place everything in such a way that your visitors find it easy to navigate and enjoy a great browsing experience. This means ensuring that everything such as your links, your contact form, your load time—works perfectly. Nobody hangs around a slow site or likes dead links.
This answers the question: what are your goals? What do you want to achieve? With more and more people accessing the web on their mobile screens, your content must be optimized to make it compatible with various devices.
Eyetracking research shows that people scan web pages and phone screens in various patterns. One of them is in the shape of the letter F. The F-pattern is the way our eyes move when we read something. Most of us take just seconds to scan the content on a page as we take in the visual elements and copy. Typically, this is what we do:
- We begin by scanning the top of the page to see the headlines
- Then, our eyes move down the left side of the page, picking up numbers, bullet points.
- Finally, we look across the page to read bold text or sub-headlines.
On a mobile screen, it is all the more important to hold the visitor’s attention from the moment they arrive on your page. Here’s what to do:
- Format the text in such a way that they see what you want them to see, in the order you want them to see it.
- Put the most important information right on top so your visitor does not miss it.
- Let the first two paras grab their attention.
- Begin each para, subheading or bullet point with key phrases or informative words that lead to your wonderful content. Quite like giving them a taste of the amazing things to come.
- Don’t forget to link to blogs relevant to your content/niche. If you are on a self-hosted WordPress blog, use an SEO plugin to analyse your content—they are pretty good checklists for how you should optimize your content for the search engines.
On last count, there were 600 million blogs online, out of 1.7 billion websites. And each one is trying to grab the distracted reader’s eyeballs. Yes, keeping up with blogging is tough. While blogging is not just about writing great posts, content definitely forms the foundation. Quality content will always be queen.
Just as you aim to serve good, healthy food in your kitchen, it’s important to serve valuable content on your blog so that you are on track with your blogging goals.
Just as everything has a place in your kitchen, place elements where your visitor expects to see them. Sure, it’s nice to be cute and creative, but not if it does not serve any purpose.
A good layout is a simple one that groups similar features together—quite like how you keep your kitchen supplies close to their function:
- groceries in the pantry
- chopping, measuring, slicing, blending tools together near the preparation area
- dishes, utensils and other accessories in your cutlery cabinet
In the same way, arrange your blog’s elements according to their function, rather than scatter them around so your readers miss them. Make sure your sidebar, if you have one, has meaningful elements. If it doesn’t make you money or help you connect with your audience, it doesn’t belong there. Make that valuable real estate work for you.
The last F word is Frequency. Although I clean out my kitchen and reorganize it—stuff does accumulate—stuff I don’t use regularly—stuff that occupies space I can put to better use.
Ever noticed how you end up adding things to your blog page over a period of time? There’s your home page, looking all simple and clean. Then the widgets and badges add up. We see something on another blog and want it for ourselves, whether or not it adds value.
Follow this rule: if it does not serve your readers, or you, out it goes!
Can’t let go? Put all those things you love on a separate page, just as you pack up those Christmas decorations. Bring them out or highlight them only when relevant. Stop to think whether you “want” it or “need” it. Big difference!
If you can’t decide whether to keep or throw, pause to reflect on what you want to accomplish. Don’t hesitate to get professional help.
There are days when I wish organizing my kitchen was as easy as organizing my blog and vice versa. But yes, these F words do help. And many times, less can be so much more.
What do you think? Do share your thoughts about managing your blog in the comments.
Writer, Editor, Blogger, Collecting Smiles.
I write about all the things I enjoy in life: parenting, personal development, health and wellness, books, food, travel, gratitude, mindfulness, happiness–and showing my diabetes who’s boss.