There is one common mistake among many a newbie blogger.
A mistake that not only hurts their productivity but also their blog’s quality over time.
It is their search, perhaps even their obsession, for brand new content.
Don’t get me wrong, a successful, well-performing blog should have a LOT of content, and a professional blogger must be able to come up with new content practically on command. But it takes a while to get there.
In the meantime, often bloggers (and not just new bloggers, veteran bloggers are equally guilty of this) make the mistake of neglecting their old content.
Make no mistake, when you publish a blog post for the first time, it is only the beginning of said post’s lifecycle online.
So, in this blog post, I will walk you through fifteen (15) smart, but easy to implement tips for revisiting your old blog posts periodically. If you follow through, you will have a list of evergreen blog posts that are always fresh, current, on-demand, and these posts will continue to drive huge traffic to your blog.
We will start off by looking at what evergreen content is in the first place, and then I will walk you through the tips for revisiting such content.
What is Evergreen Content?
Evergreen content is something that is always in demand, something that is useful and beneficial to your readers on any given day.
Let’s tackle three examples and see what does or doesn’t make them evergreen.
Let’s assume that Mary is our superstar blogger of the day who writes about digital marketing. Now, let’s look at three blog posts she has written in the past.
- Post 1: 25 Copywriting Techniques That Will Multiply your Sales
- Post 2: How to Use BoardBooster to Schedule Pins and Drive Traffic to Your Blog
- Post 3: 15 Ways You Can Leverage Facebook Groups to Sell Your Products
So, which ones(s) do you think is/are evergreen content? And those that are not, why not?
It’s obvious, right?
Post 1 (25 copywriting techniques to multiply sales) is our evergreen post. Copywriting techniques do not change overnight. These are related to human psychology, and human psychology is more or less consistent. I mean, sure, human beings evolve, but not as fast as say, Facebook algorithms. The topic itself is a very popular one. People and companies are always looking for ways to increase sales, and copywriting is an integral part of sales. The demand for this blog post is thus evergreen.
Post 2 (how to use BoardBooster to schedule Pins) is a dud in the muck. For those of you who do not know, BoardBooster used to be a Pin scheduling platform, kinda like TailWind. It gained popularity for a while when blogger and entrepreneur Melyssa Griffin was teaching everyone how to use Pinterest to drive traffic. Her strategies focused primarily on using certain BoardBooster features. Suddenly, this platform was the talk of the town (more like the entire blogging world). And then, just as suddenly, it was dead. Back in June 2018, BoardBooster announced that they were closing down. Now, our star blogger Mary wrote this post when the platform was still going strong. BUT! Here and now, in August 2019, a post on BoardBooster is irrelevant; a total waste of space. The content of the post has been rendered useless and Mary isn’t benefitting from it at all, nor are her readers.
Post 3 (15 ways to leverage Facebook Groups to sell products) is a bit more complicated. A lot of factors are involved in deciding the usefulness of this post on any given day. For example, Mary may have written this post as recently as 6 months ago. But if we know anything about social media, it’s that these platforms are extremely volatile. The algorithm is constantly evolving, and what used to be true 6 months ago, may not be so 6 months later. So, Mary has to be vigilant and always pay attention to changing features. Now, Facebook may not die out like BoardBooster did anytime soon, but the content of the post may still need to be updated to match the current algorithm and practices.
I want to make one thing very clear before we go any further. Your blog needs all sorts of content. Evergreen content (as much as possible), seasonal content, and also content that’s in-between (just like May’s post # 3 on using Facebook groups to make more sales).
So, now that we understand what evergreen content is, let’s dive into the main topic of the day: tips to revisiting old content to boost blog traffic.
15 Tips for Revisiting and Refreshing Old Blog Posts
If you’ve had your blog for 6 months or longer, you should have built up an impressive archive of blog posts at this point. You likely have 25+ posts and growing. Now is the perfect time to start implementing the strategies I’m about to outline.
So, to start off, here’s how you should tackle the process. if you’ve had your blog for 6 months to a year, start with the very first posts. Schedule time during a week or over a few weeks, depending on how much time you can invest and how many posts you have. Start with posts that are about 6 months old and then go through the strategies (outlined below).
If you have had your blog for longer and/or you have way too many posts, you may have to block out several packets of time to go over all of your posts.
Either way, start from the most recent (most recent posts that are 6 months old, an then work backward with older posts). Once you have built up a habit of doing this, things will be much more simple. You’re lucky if you’re a new(er) blogger. But if you’re a veteran and you have a TON of old posts, well, better start NOW!
1. Assess the “Evergreen” Status
The first thing you should do is see if the post is evergreen or not. Depending on that, your next course of actions will vary somewhat.
If you have an evergreen post, you should polish it up (I will go over this step more in the subsequent sections) and republish with the current date (so that it seems like you just published it, not 6 months or a year ago; I will show you how.) You should always make sure to have recently published evergreen posts on your blog. One way to do so is by republishing older posts with the current date.
If you have a dud (like the one Mary posted about BoardBooster), delete the post pronto! if you have a similar but more relevant post, you may redirect the old URL to this other post. For example, if Mary has a blog post on how to use TailWind to schedule Pins and drive traffic, she may redirect the BoardBooster post to the TailWind post as they are both related to scheduling Pins and driving traffic with Pinterest.
If you have something a bit more volatile, like Mary’s facebook post, then you may want to revisit and see the information is still applicable. If not, either delete the post, or rewrite it, or redirect it to a relevant post.
2. Add More Value, Delete Redundancy, Correct Mistakes
There has never been a blog post that I revisited and didn’t find a way to improve upon it. There’s always something to add and/or something to take out. See if you can add another point to make it more useful and beneficial for your readers. See if something is redundant and if there is, remove it.
If you have something on the post that used to be applicable but not anymore, make sure to catch them and then delete these now-incorrect parts.
Some other things to do:
- Check for spelling and/or grammar mistakes. Make sure you have Grammarly extension/addon installed on your browser. Grammarly isn’t always correct, but it usually catches the most obvious errors.
- Consider switching difficult words with simpler ones, and remove unnecessary words like adverbs and reduce passive sentences.
- See if you have broken links or broken images. Relink these or remove them.
3. Improve Formatting
Formatting is a big part of a blog post. You can write a killer post, but if not formatted properly, you could totally kill it. Sometimes, just by having the proper formatting, you can drive mega traffic to your posts.
Some things to consider:
- See if you can break up long paragraphs.
- If you can add (or break up existing content) under additional headers and/or subheaders, do so.
- If your content can benefit from added images/videos or any other type of content, add them.
4. Reassess SEO
SEO is an ongoing thing. How you optimized your content for search engines 6 months ago may not be sufficient (or at the very least, you can always improve upon) today. The entirety of SEO practices are outside of the breadth of this post, however, a few things to note are:
- Change the title to be more optimized for your keywords/phrases?
- Can you change the URL slug (the unique extension to your URL for a specific post, such as, www.yourblogdomain.com/unique-slug/) to be more SEO friendly? IMPORTANT: If you change URL slug, make sure to redirect old URL to this new URL so that you do not have any broken links in case this post was linked by someone else or by yourself, or if it was shared on social media. You can use a plugin called Trash Duplicator to easily redirect an old URL to a new one.
- Can you change the headers and subheader texts to make them more optimized?
- Make sure your images have alt tags.
- Make sure you have a meta description (you can add meta description for your posts with the Yoast plugin, provided you have a self-hosted WordPress blog).
- Check to see how this post has been doing in terms of organic traffic. You can use Ubersuggest to find out where you rank on Google. Insert your URL in the search bar on Ubersuggest, and click “Enter”. In the results page, scroll down until you see the “SEO Keywords” section. See if the particular blog post you’re working on is in the list. Based on how you’re doing, you may tweak your title and image alt tags to further refine how you’re optimizing your content to improve its ranking on Google.
5. Work on Internal Links
Ask yourself these two questions:
- Can any of the other posts on your blog use a link back to this blog post as a supporting material?
- Can this blog post use a link-back to any of the other posts you have on your blog?
If you find ways to add more internal links, do so.
6. Add a Content Upgrade
A blogger must always be proactive about getting new email list subscribers. Trust me, how much money you can make from your blog has a direct correlation to how many subscribers you have.
One of the best ways to get more email list signups is by offering a content upgrade. Basically, you create something (maybe a downloadable PDF checklist or workbook, or a video, or whatever you think will be helpful for your readers) and offer it to your readers in exchange for signing up to your email list.
Not all blog posts need a content upgrade, but if a blog post can use one, you should make it!
7. Can This Blog Post Use a Follow Up Post?
I once wrote a post about making passive income from your blog by selling digital, downloadable products. later, I realized that people who are considering starting an eCommerce business alongside their blog, could probably use a blog post on the technical side of things. Things like, how to set up WooCommerce — an eCommerce plugin for self-hosted WordPress users — to start selling digital, downloadable products.
If you think your post could use a follow-up post, jot it down in your to-do list and make it a priority. Also, remember to link the new post inside this post when the new one’s up, and link to this post inside the new post as well.
8. Does Your Blog Post Need a [Different] Call to Action?
Every blog should have a call to action. Maybe you’re promoting a new product, or maybe you’re simply asking your readers a simple question and prompting them to leave their answer as a comment. Either way, make sure the call to action is still relevant.
9. Consider Updating the Featured Image
Use a new image/graphic for the featured image of the post. This is the very first image visitors see when they land on a blog post, so it makes an impression. A new image will give the post a fresh and brand new look, even if the post itself is not new.
10. Republish The Post With the Current Date
To make sure the post looks current, republish it with the current date. otherwise, even if you edit the content to be up to date, your readers may still be skeptical if they see an old publish date.
It’s super easy to do with WordPress.
Step 1: Go to the post inside the dashboard, and then locate the publish date (right column in the post editor window, towards the top, as shown in the image below.) Click on the date; this will open up the calendar.
Step 2: In the calendar, change the date to whichever date you want the post to be published on. Optionally, you can even set the time for when it is published.
Step 3: When you’ve edited the publish date (and time), click on the “Update” button toward the top-right corner of the window. And done!
11. Promote the Post on Social Media and Pinterest
Once the post is republished, better, up to date, with possibly a content upgrade to go with it, it’s time to promote the post. promote it across all of your social media platforms and Pinterest.
If you have a content upgrade, make sure to mention it in your promotional content. For example, if you’re creating a new Pin graphic, mention it within the graphic that the post comes with a content upgrade (mention what the content upgrade is). Additionally, you may also add a small image of the content upgrade on top of your Pin graphic.
Mention the content upgrade inside the title and description of the post as well. Often readers are attracted more to a certain blog post when there’s a freebie included. So, make sure everyone knows that you have something extra to offer to your readers.
Some examples of graphics for posts with a content upgrade:
12. Check to See If There are Unanswered or Spam Comments
Make sure all the comments are properly dealt with. If there are comments that you need to respond to, do so. If any spam comment found its way in somehow, make sure to delete it.[Pro-tip: Make sure you have an anti-spam plugin to minimize dealing with spam comments.]
13. Redirect Deleted Posts to Something Relevant
For the posts that are no longer relevant, either delete them, or, if there is a relevant post, then redirect the old post to this other post, in order to prevent people landing on a 404 error page.
In self-hosted WordPress, you can easily create 301 redirects using a plugin called Trash Duplicate and 301 Redirect.
This is not necessary, but a good practice whenever possible.
14. Consider Repurposing into Other Mediums
This is only applicable if you also create videos or have a podcast. The idea is to take the content of the blog post and see if you can offer the same content using a different medium.
Even if you do not have a YouTube channel or a podcast, you can consider adding a plugin (play.ht) that automatically converts blog posts into audio files. This usually works better if you have mostly text-heavy blog post.
You can also consider taking a blog post and converting it into an eBook or eGuide, and then sell it even!
15. Request Indexing on Google Search Console
After you have republished your old blog post with possibly some new content, with a slightly different title, and maybe even a new URL slug, make sure to submit your blog post URL for re0indexing on Google Search Console. You want Google to crawl your revamped, and better blog post as soon as possible. (I’m assuming you already have a Google Search Console account and you have submitted your sitemap when you set up your blog.)
Go to Google Search Console, and then enter your blog post URL in the top search bar where it says “Inspect any URL”. Hit “Enter”. It can take a few seconds to a couple of minutes to inspect the URL. If your URL [slug] has not changed, then you will likely get a message saying the URL is on Google. And if the URL [slug] has changed, then you’ll get a message saying that it is not on Google. Either way, I want you to request indexing once again.
Even if your URL hasn’t changed, your content probably has, so you want Google to crawl your newly improved post. So, make sure to click on the link that says “REQUEST INDEXING”.
Bonus: Update Your Email List Subscribers with a Newsletter
When you have republished an older blog post, let your subscribers know! If you have added a free content upgrade, make sure to send the content upgrade to your subscribers; do not make them opt-in again (which is redundant) to receive a freebie. Your subscribers are your most trusted audience; so treat them accordingly. Give them some special treatment whenever possible. Send them new freebies before anyone else gets their hands on it.
Benefits of Regularly Revisiting Old Posts
Readers love when a blog post is relevant.
Imagine searching for a tutorial or guide, you see a promising title on Google, you click on it, only to find out that the tutorial is old and some or most of the steps do not even apply anymore!
This happens more than you think!
For example, I have a post on using Canva to create worksheets. When I first wrote that post, I used screenshots to help my readers walk through the processes I was describing. Just a couple of months after I wrote that post, Canva changed its interface and came out with a version 2.
I had to redo the whole thing.
Sure, it was a pain in the ass to rewrite something I wrote only a couple of months ago, but as bloggers, it’s our duty to make sure that our content is always helpful to the audience. Otherwise, what’s the point of even having a blog in the first place?
Also, revamping an older blog post and republishing it ALWAYS gives a boost to blog traffic. Especially if its a blog post that is evergreen AND popular with readers. When you revamp an already popular post with updated content, often with added value and/or a content upgrade to go with it, it gets even more traction and drives more traffic.
So, in conclusion, make sure to always keep your posts up to date and fresh. The sooner you make this a habit, the better for your blog.
Thoughts on refreshing old content? Share them in the comment below!