I spend a fair bit of time going back and sprucing up older blog posts, so I thought I’d do a post about what the reasons might be to do that.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Update static pages
You may not look at your about page, or perhaps even your home page, very often. It’s worth taking a peek every now and then to make sure they still reflect you and your blog.
Other housekeeping tasks
Aside from editing older posts, you may want to do assorted housekeeping tasks, like weeding out tags and categories that you don’t need, or images that are taking up room unnecessarily.
You may want to consider using a link checking tool, such as this one from Internet Marketing Ninjas, to check if there are problems with your internal links or links pointing to other websites. Fixing broken links is good for search engines but it’s also helpful to your readers.i
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?