Blogging and Writing

Do You Edit Older Blog Posts?

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Not long ago, I wrote about fidgeting with my blog, as in making fairly superficial design changes. My fidgeting isn’t overly constructive, but in addition to that, I do spend a fair bit of time going back and sprucing up older blog posts. My blogging friend Meg brought this up recently, so let’s chat about it!

Why would you want to?

Depending on the kind of content you’re writing, it may have a best before date that’s fairly close to the time you write it, or it may be evergreen, maintaining its relevance long-term. For content that has evergreen potential, you can help boost its long-term visibility by sprucing it up every once in a while.

When doing this, you’re mostly not targeting your regular readers; you’re targeting people who may be doing a search in the WordPress Reader or within a search engine, or possibly having WP recommend you as a “related post” at the end of someone’s post in the Reader.

What should you tweak?

There’s probably not much point working on posts without evergreen potential (i.e. ongoing relevance at any time after posting). One way to approach it is to go back through your lists of posts and see which ones are already getting dribbles of traffic, and try to spruce those up. If a post hasn’t seen any traffic since you posted it, it’s probably not the best us of your time.

When you’re there, what might you want to do?

Graphics

Try to find a new image or create a new graphic, and then use that to share the post on social media. That can be a good way to boost Pinterest traffic.

Add headings

I’ve started using more headings in my writing, but it’s something I have to think about rather than doing it automatically. Using H2/H3 headings makes your posts more friendly to readers, the WP Reader algorithm, and search engines, although of course headings aren’t going to make sense for all types of posts. I often find it’s easier to go back and add headings later rather than doing it at the time of writing.

Add links

Chances are, you write about certain things repeatedly. When you create links between your related posts, it looks good for search engines, plus it helps your readers find other relevant content on your site. My what is… series posts are very well linked together because the same things come of repeatedly, and going back to older posts helps with getting them integrated into the series like one big happy family.

Spruce up the writing

Even if you don’t think your writing has gotten better over time, your blog writing probably has. I certainly see that in my own posts, and without too much effort I can make an older post sound a little better.

Should you bother?

Nope, not unless you want to. Not all blogs and blogging styles are conducive to this. If you have a mostly diary-style blog or do a lot of prompts, all of this is probably completely irrelevant to you. But if you’d like your older posts to play more of a role in the current life of your blog, then tweaking them can help.

Alternatively, you could do a refresh of an older post and republish rather than update. Your newer readers haven’t seen your older content, and there’s nothing wrong with bringing older posts out to play. If you’re running short on time or ideas, recycling older content can be a great strategy.

Do you work on your older posts at all, either to update or republish?

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45 thoughts on “Do You Edit Older Blog Posts?”

  1. I have in the past looked at the odd posts to edit in anyway I see fit.
    More so now I have left WordPress, I keep an eye on stats to see what posts are being read, I will then update that post, or it may refresh my brain and do an updated post on where I blog now.

  2. Oh, yes. I’m always fidgeting with my writing blog. For me, I’m working on branding right now so things need to get changed. But I do find I go back to edit old blogs, mostly feature images and updating links. I also checked some old posts and found some images missing for no obvious reason. I had to re-upload the images. I might have missed some, but they’re from months ago, some as old as a year, so I’ll go through those when I have more time. I also find the “suggested posts” at the bottom of the WP app on my posts can be older ones, so I would like to make sure they’re all looking good in case anyone checks those out. But on my personal blog… meh. It’s not that big of a deal on there.

  3. I have deleted a ton of older posts because they annoyed me. I have also fixed bad videos (usually by removing them entirely). I may do more of this… not happy with some of my dumber writing in response to prompts. Actually, now that Iโ€™m not writing for Medium or working on a new book, I have time ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Thanks for the shout-out!! YAY!!

    I never go back and edit old posts, but I have a huge habit of editing a post right after I publish it. I’ll look over it and notice a mistake/typo, or I’ll think, oh wait, I should add a sentence right there. And then I immediately go into edit. It’s never occurred to me to edit an older post, but you’ve provided a lot of food for thought here! Surprisingly, one post that people keep on liking and liking is called “The origin of my food addiction.” It’s freaky. Hold on and let me check how many likes it has… I keep getting email notifications… WHOA! Forty-nine likes! For me, that must be a record! Geez. I didn’t think it was that great of a post, but that just shows that you can never predict what people will like. (At any rate, I certainly can’t. If I could, I’d be a best-selling author.) I sometimes also delete posts if I needed to express myself at the time and later decide it’s too personal, or if I feel like, oops, I shared too-personal info about a family member, etc. Old-fashioned people say, “Once you put it out there online, you can’t take it back,” but I don’t buy into that. Deleting works!

    The evergreen concept is interesting! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    1. That’s an example of the power of a long-tail keyword title. “Origin of my food addiction” is something people want to know about, but not a lot of people are writing about it. Searching for those terms, your post shows up #1 in the WP Reader, and searching “origin of my food action” in quotes on Google shows you at #3. Go Meg!

  5. It’s strange because, I’m quite lax on editing, even though I’m the kind of person who will go back in my mind over an entire post that I’ve just written, especially if it’s rich in content, and I spend ages editing the post after I write but before I publish it, and then when I post something I often think that I wrote this or that wrong or I could write this or that better, or clearer, or not write this or that, and it’s usually quite irrational because it’s not like in most cases I can think of what exactly I wrote wrong, something just is wrong and it scares me. ๐Ÿ˜€
    But I rarely actually go and edit very old posts. I’m more likely to do it the way Meg mentioned – publish a post, then realise that, oh sheesh, I didn’t add that or I got that wrong or there’s something wrong with that link – and will edit it right away and then leave it be. But I hardly go like months back and edit posts, unless something is really nagging me for some reason or I remember about something I wrote that is no longer the case and is important enough that it’s better if people have up to date information.
    Sometimes I like to look at my old posts just for fun, like I do with my personal diary, and sometimes something does bother me enough that I’ll go edit it. And this year I’ve started playing around with Google Search Console a little bit just to see what, if anything, brings people to me from Google and if Google has anything in particular to say about my blog, so I edited some minor posts which had some apparent errors in them.
    Oh yeah, and I edit my pages regularly since this is something that I think should be up to date, in my case regularly means once a year.
    But now I’m thinking perhaps I should make it more of a habit to spruce up my older posts once in a while, especially that my blog writing is definitely changing over time, or do more republishing, we shall see.

  6. In my case, my views have changed so much in the past six years that I would love to alter previous blog posts fairly drastically in order to accommodate them. But that would seem unethical.

    One such post is the one called “Classism, Stigma and Mental Health” that you commented on recently. I wish I could alter it to make the statement more comprehensible. But it feels wrong to do that, because that’s the way I wrote it at the time.

    More ethical would be to simply remove a post like that, and then alter it offline. I’ve been thinking of doing this with a number of similar posts.

    As for minor edits like spelling and grammatical errors, or adjustments in syntax, I have no moral problem making such edits. Since I’ve been in journalism, I’ve been advised that this is where the line is drawn. Once something is in print, it’s unethical to edit content to alter meaning. But it’s not unethical to remove it from print, if possible.

  7. Great advice. I try to be disciplined about going back and looking at old posts to see if I need to update it or whatever. It can take a lot of time though!

  8. So funny, just before Christmas last year I went on a huge “editing spree” of my earlier posts, just kind of sprucing up as you say. Especially some of the older ones that are starting to get extra traffic. I also just like to keep things fresh, especially as I learn more and more about neat, tight writing and try to put it in practice ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Sometimes I will edit older comments, but usually I leave them. Iโ€™ve tried republishing older posts but noticed that my older posts donโ€™t seem to show up in the reader.

    P.S. Someone left a really harsh comment under one of my comments on one of your previous posts. I tried to reply to it (in the nicest way possible) but WP said error, could not send. Their comment was harsh and uncalled for imo.

    1. I’ve also had issues trying to republish and not having it show up in the reader.

      If you were trying to respond through the WP notification of the comment and it didn’t work, I probably already deleted it. I generally delete obnoxious comments.

  10. I do edit old blog post and republish and/or repurpose old blog post. Often helps newer followers to discover older content. Plus gives an update on previous published content to make new.

    1. That’s great! Yeah, newer viewers don’t usually go back and browse through the archives, so republishing is a good way for them to see older posts.

  11. I just updated an old post with a new section and new images. Itโ€™s old and I donโ€™t expect more traffic but by looking at it closer Iโ€™m realizing what I need to do more Iโ€™m current posts!

  12. What odd timing! I used to update every old post whenever I changed my blog’s theme or aesthetic, but just TODAY I decided to stop touching old posts. Now the only time I will edit old posts is if I find a typo I missed earlier!

  13. I once wrote a follow up post of a post that had attracted so much traffic. Let’s just say it did not do as well as I expected. Either way I do update posts that I feel need to be spiced up.

  14. Yes to keep it fresh and evergreen the keywords titles and images should be changed time to time according to the fast moving industry . Very interesting article . ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

  15. Great post and conversation. I use screen readers (text-to-speech) to navigate. It is an excellent tool for listening to your text and editing. Sometimes I listen to text on my iPad and use my iPhone or voice recorder to take notes on edits.
    I appreciate all the insights shared here and wish you all the best. I look forward to reading more here and visiting others to see what you are all creating

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