251646154 55e331da36 m As a business owner or marketer, you might have unknowingly turned your blog into an online landfill. From the sidebar to the navigation, too many blogs get cluttered with extras that confuse visitors and stop them from sharing your content or converting from a visitor to lead. Take a few minutes today and delete any of the items that might be diluting your blog's awesomeness.

1. Extra Sharing Buttons - Do you know how people share your blog content on the web? Gain a clear understanding of the major traffic drivers to your blog using web analytics and looking at traffic from social media channels and email. It is likely that you are using too many sharing buttons. If most of your traffic comes from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn , then you probably don’t need the other half a dozen sharing options that currently exist on your blog. Tests conducted on this blog proved that reducing the available sharing options increase sharing and referral traffic from existing social media referrers.

2. Blogroll - Is acknowledging other thought-leaders in your industry important? Absolutely. Is putting them all into a list with very little context while taking up valuable real estate on your blog the best way to acknowledge them? No. Mention thought-leaders and link to their blogs in your articles and delete that boring blogroll from your sidebar. Mentioning them in your content will make the references more credible for them and help force you to respond and think about important industry content.

3. News Releases - A blog isn’t a place for news releases. While it is important to share company news and announcements, do that on a different page of your website as to not distract your audience from consuming your thought-leadership content. At HubSpot we use a separate blog for company news and have a press room for bloggers and journalists .

4. Sidebar Items Without Purpose - Take a long look at your blog sidebar. What is sitting on that sidebar that is not helping to solve a business objective? Delete any and all of these items right now. It is easy to test out new tools and drop new widgets into your blog sidebar, but if they don’t help people share your content or learn more about your business, then they shouldn’t be there.

5. Extra Navigation Options - Your blog should have the same navigation as the rest of your website. It is also fine to include navigation for categories or tags. However, it is easy to add other links into the main navigation of your blog because it is not your "real" website. This extra navigation takes up valuable space and decreases the number of visitors who will click on the links that you felt were important enough to place in your main navigation, such as your product page(s).

Do you agree with getting rid of these items? What others would you add?

Photo Credit: D'Arcy Norman

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Originally published Nov 11, 2010 1:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016