Recently I was doing some housekeeping on my blog and I decided to delete a number of old blog posts, maybe 100-150. I haven’t the slightest idea as to whether or not that’s something that you “should” do or not, but I thought I’d share the things I considered when I did it.
Is it evergreen?
A nice thing about the WordPress My Sites dashboard is that when you’re scrolling through your list of published posts, you can easily see how many recent views there have been. A fair number of my older posts are “evergreen,” and continue to get some traffic. Those posts all stayed put.
I don’t have a lot of diary-style posts, so keeping those for my own personal record wasn’t much of an issue. My weekend wrap-up posts are the closest equivalent to that, and those stayed put. The older weekend wrap-ups don’t continue to get views, but I would never delete any of those.
There are some posts that have a very short lifespan. Question posts, tags, and blog awards don’t draw visitors for very long after they’ve been published, at least in my experience. I to hang onto a few of the blog award posts, but deleted a lot of them. I decided to get rid of quite a few question posts, prompts, and tags because they’re not really doing anything for my blog anymore.
I also got rid of posts I’d reblogged. I never did a lot of reblogs to begin with, but I pruned out those that I did. They’re good at the time when they show up in people’s Reader feed, but beyond that, they’re just a one-paragraph excerpt that’s not going to draw anyone in on an ongoing basis.
Considerations before deleting
Another consideration was internal linking. I’ve created a lot of links among my posts, and I didn’t want to delete posts and then have to track down the newly broken links I’d created. Nobody likes broken links and that 404 error – page not found. With assorted tags, question posts, or holiday posts, I know that I never create links to posts like that, so I could be pretty sure anything I was deleting was its own little island.
This was the first time I ever deleted anything more than the occasional post here and there, although I think I did weed out a number of reblogs a while back. I don’t think I would consider deleting posts that have anything substantial to say, but the tags and Q&As from a couple of years back just didn’t seem to be adding any benefit to the blog.
Less is more
Mostly this was something I decided to do because in my world, less is better. From an SEO perspective, it might be a slightly good thing, in the sense that the kinds of posts I deleted would be of little interest to search engines, for the same reason they don’t continue to get views. I doubt it would have much influence, but I really have no idea. And, more importantly, I don’t really care.
So, I’m not saying this is something that you should do or something that’s necessarily a good thing. It’s simply a thing, and I thought about, so I wrote about it.
Have you ever gone back and weeded through old posts? Why or why not?