Spring Cleaning Sources of Insight

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SpringCleaningSourcesOfInsight

It had to be done.  Out with the old, in with the new.  In this case, it was a bit more like spit and polish.  I cleaned up Sources of Insight to get rid of some of the things that were bugging me.  I consider it an example of sweeping in action.

Here are the outcomes I wanted to achieve:

  • A tag line that resonates and inspires
  • A simpler and more useful set of categories for my posts
  • A simpler and more useful set of tags for my posts
  • More emphasis on the vital few areas: mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun
  • A better showcase of my Sources of Insight Amazon Shop
  • I wanted it easier to browse books, people, and quotes … it’s all part of the “stand on the shoulders of giants” idea

Here are some of the things I did to accomplish that:

  • I went back to my old tag line – “Insight and Action for Work and Life” – there’s something sticky about it … as if it would be cool on a t-shirt.
  • I chopped my categories list in half, consolidating where I could.
  • I chopped my tag cloud in half, getting rid of conflicts and overlap with my categories.
  • I cleaned up my people page and my quotes page and simplified the links to them.

It sounds simple enough.  However, I found re-tagging and categorizing my few hundred posts to be pretty time-consuming.  That said, it was worth it.  While there’s room for improvement, I significantly raised the bar and it’s good enough for now.  How do I know? Well, I tested against results.

My tests for success were simple: Does browsing “Intellectual Horsepower” show me posts that can improve my mind?  Does browsing “Body” show me posts that improve my body? Does browsing “People” for lessons learned provide a simple and clean experience? And so on.

Don’t take my word for it though – take your own test-drive and see what you think:
Browse the key categories:

Browse the updated pages:

My ultimate test for success is that somebody can come to Sources of Insight and get skilled for life and feel like they really are standing on the shoulders of giants – drawing from books, people, and quotes for inspiration and insight.

Photo by jingkay2008.

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23 COMMENTS

  1. Hey JD,

    Sounds like a great project – I’ll take a poke around =)

    I know I am just awful at categorizing and tagging, shamefully bad actually. One of those things I need to get around to doing at some point as well =)

  2. I think improving tag cloud is a good move. I am thinking to do it for my blog too but the time it’d consume frightens me 😉
    Good job, it’s inedeed more cleaner and nicer now.

  3. I can imagine how much work that was with the amount of posts you have here! “simple and clean experience” – I like it:)

  4. Hi JD .. thanks for these ideas .. I need to rethink my blog .. and being able to tap into your clarity of mind is really helpful.

    It is really clear and well set out – no distractions .. that’s what I like .. and we can find things .. simple colours ..

    Good!! – thank you – Hilary

  5. Hi J.D.,

    Looking good.

    I know what you mean about cleaning up the categories. When I publish something I go through the whole list and normally end up only using two or three. Your post is a good reminder I need to do the same.

    I also like you idea of testing where you land when you click on a category or tag. Too many mis-categorized or tags posts and a visitor may become too frustrated to stick around.

  6. AWESOME J.D.! Inspires me to go back through some of my old posts to put BIGGER pix in the ones in my new Fun-Fun and Beauty categories, the ones I imagine will get clicked most. As you say, a lot of work, but worth it.

    And print up my tees saying “Will Sing For Donuts & Beer.” 🙂 Let’s have a blogger tee exchange. 🙂

    That’s one thing about blogging — the deeper we get into it, the more it evolves and improves.

    You’re a winner!! As Hilary points out — real clarity of mind.
    xo

  7. Oh, and goodness — it just ocurred ot me, you could put in a small horizontal banner ad to the left of your site title, and perhaps move your big square one down, and move your Popolar Posts, Recent Posts, Categories and Resources up to more of the “above the fold area.” And put that cute pic of you up a bit higher too!

    — from Jannie, with totally unsolicited blog design advice. 🙂

    xo

  8. J.D.,
    super cool inspiration to get into cleaning mode.
    simplicity is not simple and gosh, it must have taken you many hours to re-tag your posts.
    thanks for leading by example.
    I am putting “rubber gloves” on and will clean my “home” shortly, too.

  9. Hi J.D,….All these ideas that you assemble are always very inspiring and give of sparks for doing better many things. I am a true fan of your approach and I know that if you work hard, the rewards will definitely follow. What is your expert opinion of the cultural aspects,
    that in my guess, also play an interesting role in efficiently applying
    all these tools,mindsets etc.

  10. Looks like that was a big project to bite off. But taking a step back and rethinking what you’re doing on a regular basis is a critical step towards success. Using ‘spring cleaning’ as a point of analysis, simplification and renewal makes all the sense in the world.

  11. Neat as a pin and easy to figure out and discover – I like the changes and moves. I am working to clean up my act a bit by getting all the books I have reviewed into the recommended reading category as now I have to go through the whole 300+ posts to find them…I am not understanding tags or categories well so I am quite dependent on my IT girl to help me with that….while she is working full time, and going to school, I try not to ask for changes.

    I can see all these things that bloggers – successful bloggers need to do – and I sometimes get frustrated at my lack of ability in this area – I do grow in patience and perseverance 🙂

    I think too my blog style writing is getting better – another + But I do so love spring cleaning and progressing.

    Yes, I like you new or renewed tagline very much. Thank you

  12. JD, great job! I love how you keep the adaptability going and you are always ready for new flow! I can see great things ahead for you!! Thank you for putting so much effort in for the best experience for us and keeping to how we know you: great quality content! It is certainly appreciated! have a lovely day, Jenn

  13. JD,

    Well done in clearing through your categories and tags! I know it must have been a lot of work, but definetly worth it in the end. I have been meaning to do this on mine for a while now, seeing as they just keep building up and it’s getting rather disorganised. I had a set of categories which I found didn’t reasonate well with each post, so I cut them out completetly, and so each post is now uncategorised.

    I have been contemplating on whether I feel to create new ones. One thing is for certain, my tags need re-inventing as I have too many and some criss cross and I feel now that I know more clearly what each represents so I can start on working on that.

    I wish you well in everything that comes your way. 🙂

  14. Jd
    Isn’t it wonderful when we let go of the old, new and more exciting things begin to emerge for us?
    I enjoyed reading this post, it was insightful and fun to read.Have an amazing rest of the week!

  15. @ Sid — I’m still making my mind up about categories, but I think they help with 3 things: 1) Scope and boundaries, 2) Choosing where to invest — as if filling up buckets
    3) Providing a guide path for people exploring your work. I think they also help a reader get a quick idea of what your blog is about.

    @ Alik — Thank you. Maybe think of it like tuning and pruning yoru Bonsai tree and enjoy the process.

    @ Lana — I think it was the immediate feedback of browsing a category and having the right posts show up that kept me going. I found some posts I hadn’t seen in a long time.

    @ Hilary — It’s here for the tapping 🙂 I think simple, clean, and useful are my 3 main drivers.

    @ Barbara — Thank you. I was really surprised by some of the posts that showed up in the wrong categories. It’s another reminder that it’s often easier to sweep, than to try to get everything right up front. I think it’s periodic sweeping that helps build a firm foundation rather than a house of cards.

    @ Jannie — Thank you! Me inspiring you inspires me. It’s actually an effective loop. Clarity of mind — has such a nice ring. Now that you mention it, I see that a lot of my focus is about clarity. You have an eye for details and I think your suggestions are good. I haven’t mastered my template yet, but I have room to play around.

    @ Ivana — You’re right … simplicity is not simple. I enjoy the process of turning something from chaos into clarity … and complexity into simplicity.

    @ Michael — Thank you. I’m a believer in making things happen through effort, skills, and techniques. The longer I’ve been a PM at Microsoft, the more I’ve learned that project management skills make a big difference.

    @ Fred — When you put it like that, Spring cleaning is a truly powerful metaphor. When I was in landscaping, the two big seasons were Spring cleanup and Fall cleanup. I think it’s a perfect pair.

    @ Patricia — Thank you. Growing in patience and perseverence is an unbeatable combination. I think the “stand on the shoulders of giants” is a crucial piece of my tag line puzzle — It’s the empowering and inspiring part.

    @ Lance — Thank you! It’s too bad I can’t do the same thing with my bookshelves … they overfloweth 🙂

    @ Jenn — Thank you! You always remind me that my effort pays off and that sharing my approach falls on empathic ears.

    @ Ana — Thank you. The beauty is that now you have a look from the balcony across your posts and you can see the bigger picture. Your categories can be the roads, and your tags can be the signs and sights of interest along the way.

    @ Baker — It sure is. I like making space … especially for new things and for growth. It’s like when I clear a bookshelf and make room for more 🙂

  16. Hi JD .. many thanks for the offer of the ‘tapping’ .. I may well do that in due course – just now is challenging. Great – nice to have support .. very grateful… have a good week – Hilary

  17. A very effective loop, yes!!

    Clarity of words too.

    As to blog design, I picked up some tips from guys like Chris Brogan and Copyblogger, 2 blogs I pop in on quite often. I also pop in quite often at Seth Godin’s, The Pioneer Woman and of course — ProBlogger.

    Cheerios!

    And Corn Pops too! 🙂

    xo

    Oh, and my typo up there, “Popolar” posts — is that like a bipolar popular post? 🙂

  18. @ Hilary – and a great week to you!

    @ Jannie – You draw from among the best!

    @ Therese – Hey there — Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your exploration.

  19. On your people page you don’t have listed Steve Pavlina. Just wondering if he is supposed to be on there? Great site by the way, I love the insights you provide.

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