Publishing new posts is the most exciting thing about blogging. You want to get that fresh content out there and let your readers get their teeth into it. You want to publish your post quickly so you can move on to the next one. And the next one. And the next one. Stop! Take a breath. Think for a moment. You’re mistaken if you think your most recent post is your most important. It’s a common misconception that all new bloggers have to come to terms with sooner or later. Read on and allow me to explain how neglecting your post archive is doing your blog, and your readers, a disservice.
How To Make Your Archive Work Harder
If you’ve been blogging for some time, you’ve probably built up a large number of posts. There could be hundreds, or even thousands, of posts in your archive. If you’re like most bloggers, you probably don’t give your old posts a second thought; new content is where you focus your time. You want proof of just how important your archive posts are? Go ahead and take a look at your Google Analytics stats. If your stats for the past 24 hours are anything like mine, as much as 90% of your traffic will be landing on posts older than one week. Still think your most recent post is the most important?
Think of it this way; you could be devoting as much as 99% of your time into writing new content, while your readers are spending 90% of their time looking at your archive. It’s a ratio that can only lead to one thing: dissatisfied readers and a failure to convert.
How do you redress the balance? By incorporating regular archive maintenance into your blogging routine. This way you can keep your archive posts fresh and relevant and keep reaping the rewards from them.
How to Maintain Your Archive
I recommend you perform some archive maintenance every day. Every day? Yes, that’s how important this is. Here’s how to do it:
On any given day, look at the post you published exactly six months earlier. Look at it from the front end, not the back end; you want to see what your readers are seeing.
- First of all, read the post carefully and correct any typos. There’s bound to be at least one! While you’re doing this, you might find it helpful to have the front end and back end open side by side in separate windows.
- Then, check the links still work and the images are all displaying correctly.
- Finally, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the post still relevant? If it’s obsolete, should it be deleted or should you add a note telling readers this is how things used to be, but see this new post to see how things are now?
- Can it be improved visually with a new image, an extra heading, or a list?
- Do all the facts still hold true?
- Have you published a recent post that you can link to from the old post?
- Have you published a recent post that you can link to the old post?
- Is the SEO as good as it can be? Improve it if you can. Try searching for the post on Google. Is it ranking? Do you need to rethink your SEO strategy for the post?
- If it was a popular post, does it deserve a follow-up post to add new information or a different perspective?
- Can it be re-purposed as a SlideShare, infographic, podcast etc.?
- Is the post monetized? Can you add affiliate links or a link to another relevant, monetized post?
- Is the call to action clear and relevant? If not give it a new clear, relevant one.
- Are there any spam comments to delete. Are there any unanswered questions you should answer? If there are a lot of comments, you might want to check the traffic on Google Analytics. If it’s getting a lot of traffic, you may want to pay it some extra attention or promote it again on social media.
Once you’ve followed the above steps, give it another quick proofread (you really can’t proofread too much!) This step is optional, but you may like to add a note to tell your readers the post has been updated on this date. Maybe something like, Updated on 08/19/2016. When you’re happy with your changes, click update.
Now, go back another six months and do the same for the post you published exactly one year ago. Then another six months. (Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I used to write that badly!) Keep going back until you run out of posts to maintain. If you’ve been blogging for many years and have a lot of posts, this is going to be a big job. But it will be so worth it. The first year will be the hardest (ha!). Once you’ve given every post in your archive the treatment, the next time you go to maintain that post, you’ll have a much easier job to do.
Keep Your Most Popular Posts Tidy Too
Because maintaining your old posts is so important, as well as this daily maintenance, I recommend you do a monthly maintenance of your ten most popular posts ever, and, depending on how many posts you publish each month, your most popular five posts from the past month. This may seem like overkill, but if you want to get the most out of your posts over time, you’ve got to look after them.Look after your old posts, and your old posts will look after you! Click To Tweet
The Benefits of Maintaining Your Archive
By regularly maintaining your archive you will be eking out every last bit of value from your old posts. As a result of maintaining your old posts, you will:
- Improve and correct them (you’re a much better writer now), making them more valuable to your readers.
- Drive fresh traffic to them by sharing them on social media.
- Improve SEO and increase organic traffic.
- Generate ideas for future content.
- Improve the interlinking of your blog.
- Reconnect with readers who left comments.
- Learn what kinds of posts drive the most traffic to your blog.
- Keep your blog fresh and relevant, improving your authority in your niche.
- Improve the monetization potential of your blog.
What are you waiting for? Start maintaining your archive now!