Grandma’s advice on virtual housecleaning

At the end of every December my parents dropped me and my three little brothers off at Grandma Jenny’s for a night or two so that they could ring in the new year properly and, no doubt, gear up for another 12 months of raising four kids.

Grandma would always be cleaning when we arrived. She believed that the way you started the new year influenced the way the whole year would go. If your house was dirty at midnight, you were in for a year of dust, grime and slop. If it was clean, you could expect the year to sparkle and shine.

All of this comes back to me as I near completion of a virtual housecleaning of BlueCoastMediaGroup.com’s home page and a WordPress relaunch of SusanFornoff.com. Though it’s a quiet time of year and clients are enjoying a breather, I’ve been feeling the pressure of that midnight New Year’s Eve deadline. Grandma has been gone 30 years, but I can’t help but think she would apply her superstition to the business of the internet.

Here are a few bits of her virtual house Grandma would want to have in order:

  • Her website, of course. Does it still represent the business of the day? Is it pointed in the right direction? Are the images fresh or stale, and is everything optimized for mobile? And how many links are directing to 404 neverneverland? Grandma would whip out her sewing basket and stitch up any loose buttons.
  • Her blog. Look first at the posts that draw the most traffic to see if they could benefit from updating and to check the links. And there may be posts that are so stale they deserve to go out with the trash. Of course, you’ll want to create a redirect to take that old URL to a fresh related post. Grandma always found some yummy use for leftovers.
  • Her social media. Yes, it is possible to house-clean at LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. If Donald Trump can delete Tweets, what’s to stop the rest of us from disposing of content that smells funny or has no purpose? And sweep out your contact list at LinkedIn and Facebook! Grandma used to say if you haven’t worn something in the past year, it doesn’t deserve space in your closet in the next year. Respectfully, I disagree with her on that; I just think that if you have had “friends” you are not likely to ever actually meet, they will not be offended if you remove them from your Facebook account. And if you LinkedIn a few years ago with folks with whom you intended to actually connect and never have, they will not notice if you remove them from your contacts. Remember that friending and connecting gives others access to all of your friends and contacts.
  • Her privacy settings. Once a year is not too often to review who has access to what and establish guidelines for your social media accounts. Grandma did not like having people in her business because for her business was strictly personal.

The happy by-products of housecleaning, of course, are a closet that has room for more clothes and a house that deserves a new thing or two. In January, perhaps we can do virtual shopping for new plug-ins, apps and connections.

But first, Grandma Jenny would want us all to have some pickled herring at the stroke of midnight. That way, we’ll not only have a clean and sparkling new year, we’ll have a lucky one.

Cheers everyone!

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post fulfills the writer’s urge to procrastinate on her deadline-driven work on BlueCoastMediaGroup.com, which has been house-cleaned, and on SusanFornoff.com, which is nowhere near done.

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