“Create new content!”
Good answer! Without regular new content your blog isn’t really a blog is it?
Another Great Daily Exercise for Your Blog
But other than creating new content – what else should you be paying attention to every day?
I want to suggest a simple activity that I think can be almost as important as creating new content for your blog.
It’s still content related but it’s about paying some attention to OLD posts.
Lately, I’ve been paying as much attention to my archives as I have to writing new content. And it’s paying off driving more traffic to old posts, finding new readers and importantly, improving the quality of content on the blog as a whole.
Here’s what I do:
1. Select a Post
I choose a post each day that is at least a year old. I usually choose one that is 2-3 years old and one that could do with some attention.
My criteria for selection is that it is a post with one or more of the following criteria:
- It has performed well in the past, in terms of traffic or comment numbers
- It has dated and needs updating to make it relevant for today
- It was a good post but for one reason or another didn’t perform to its potential
I usually am looking for a ‘tutorial’ rather than a ‘news’ or ‘review’ type post – because I find these posts don’t date as fast.
2. Update It
By updating the post I mean numerous things, depending upon the post itself. These might include:
This can be anything from a proof read through to a larger ‘rewrite’ of the post (or sections of it). I might add updates to make the post relevant to today or even add images/diagrams etc. Ultimately, it is about improving the content to make it more useful for readers.
Search Engine Optimisation
I don’t spend a heap of time on SEO but as I read back through the post, I will tweak it to better optimise for search engines. I use Yoast’s plugin for this and it helps by suggesting areas the post can be improved (heading, titles, alt tags, meta descriptions etc).
I also add links to other relevant posts on the blog. This is not only good for SEO, it’s good for readers too.
Posts published 3 or more years ago were published into a very different internet. Since then we’ve seen people sharing different types of content through new social media sites like Pinterest and G+.
One update I like to make is to make posts more shareable. For example adding a good visual or a collage of images can make a post more shareable on Pinterest. Also adding calls to action to share can be beneficial.
Calls to Action
In the same way that the web has changed over the last 3 years, so too have my own blogging goals and monetisation model. As a result, I take a critical look at old posts and what ‘calls to action‘ I’m giving to readers.
For example, 3 years ago I didn’t have any eBooks to sell, today on dPS we have 14. If a post I’m updating is relevant to one of these eBooks I’ll add a call to action to buy it. Other new calls to action might be to share a post on social media, to subscribe to our newsletter, to read another post, to join our forum etc.
3. Share and/or Republish
With the post updated, I then consider how it might be appropriate to give it some more exposure.
Again – there are a range of options available here including:
I don’t republish every updated post but 1-2 times per week, I will. I usually choose posts that have a proven track record of being well received and the type of content that has been shared in the past on social.
These posts go up on the blog as new posts simply by changing the publishing date to a recent one (note: on dPS I can do this easily as our link structure does not have dates in it).
I also share every updated post on social media, in some way or another. I will tweet links to it but also add it into our Facebook and Pinterest sharing schedule.
At times I’ll also link to these updated posts in our weekly newsletter. I don’t do this for every post but often will add them with a note saying that they’re a hot post in the archives.
The last thing I occasionally do with updated posts is to write new followup posts. This usually happens when I’m doing an update of an old post and realise that there is now scope to extend the idea considerably with a second part to the series. This new post will link back to the old – driving traffic back into the archives.
The Benefits of Paying Attention to Your Archives
The archives of your blog are in many ways just as important as the new posts on your blog.
On dPS we have over 4000 posts in the archives and it’s on these posts that the majority of our readers land thanks to search engine referrals. Updating those posts, in the way I’ve described above, not only helps their search rankings but makes the posts more useful , which means you’re more likely to see the posts shared by readers and more likely to create a good first impression on the readers who find them.
The result is more traffic, more subscribers and followers and hopefully more revenue as a consequence.
Do you update old posts on your blog? What other ‘updates’ would you add to my list above?