Cleaning Up Old Posts, The Gateway to Your Blog

Filed as Features on August 21, 2007 8:13 am

Graphic Copyright Lorelle VanFossen - New and improved blog post signA popular article I wrote recently, SEO Tips: Increase Page Rank By Revitalizing Your Old Posts, offered tips on why and how to put some new life into your old posts, thus increasing their value.

Old posts, especially timeless posts, continue to give value to your blog for many years, bringing in new readers and visitors as they discover your blog posts in their searches. The more they are linked to by others, the more likely that post becomes a gateway to your blog, the first impression new visitors see when they walk in the door.

My Tech Talk recently offered a post on helping individuals or businesses learn how to blog and featured my article, Learning About Blogging and How to Blog. I thanked them for the link, then decided to check out the article on my blog. After all, it’d been quite a while since I’d looked.

Thank goodness I checked!

The article was written in 2005 and continues to get a lot of attention through trackbacks and comments today, two years later. It pops in and out of the top 25 most popular posts lists. It is post ID number 31 on my blog, so it came from the earliest days of this blog when I was still running it solely as a test blog for WordPress.com. My blog was called “Lorelle on WordPress” back then because everyone was calling their blog “Mark on WordPress”, “Matt on WordPress”, and whatever your name was on WordPress. The name stuck, as did the blog’s purpose.

I’ve not looked at that post with more than a cursory glance since it was published. Getting so much attention, maybe I should have given it a look over to make sure it was still worthy of that attention sooner, especially since many link to it and it’s a gateway to the first thing people see on my blog. I checked it to to see:

  • What it says.
  • How it says it.
  • If it still says what I want it to say.
  • Is it offering good links to other resources on my blog?
  • Are the outgoing links still valid?
  • What can I do to make it even better?

Here are the steps I took to clean up my old post.

Add Value by Offering Related Content

First thing I did was check the Related Articles section to make sure the articles included in that list also included more recent articles I’ve written on the subject. It didn’t.

I create this list manually, without the aid of a WordPress Plugin. I went through my blog posts and added more recent related posts.

I had too many. So I categorized them, breaking them down by general subject, to help direct the readers to the information they need, increasing the ease of navigation, thus the value of the links.

These related post links provide some interesting value to your blog and blog post. The link lists connects the reader with more information, thus giving them more than what they thought they would find upon arrival.

It also says “This person knows what she’s writing about.” By providing related content links and lists, it helps establish you as an expert. You didn’t just write one post on blogging tips, but 5, 10, or 20 or more. You clearly must know what you’re talking about.

It creates a body of work, a collection of writings that establishes reputation and expertise. This says a lot about the kind of blogger you are, and how long you have been blogging.

Clean Up The Content

Second thing I did was spell check it. When I wrote it, Firefox and WordPress didn’t offer spell checking features and some small “errers” slipped in, especially the notorious “from” versus “form” common errors. I then reread the entire article.

It consisted of paragraph after paragraph of too much information, with few bullet points or emphasis on specific points being made in the article. It also had a lot of clutter information that needed serious editing.

In the past two years, I’ve improved my writing style on , using more condensed phrasing and making my points in bullets or under headings, thus leading the eye through the content, pulling the reader from point to point in the process to the end.

I pulled out the vacuum, power sander, and paint brushes and started to work.

I broke up huge sections of content into heading sections. When it was possible to break paragraphs of information and tips into bullet points, I did so. I stripped out tangential and unnecessary content and put the focus back on the points I wanted to make.

The article is now longer, but that is due to the space added by headings and bullets, along with some new graphics. I cut about 500 words, give or take, from the article’s actual post length.

It now flows from point to point with good headings, leading the reader through to the end.

Checking External Links

I included a list of articles I’d found at the time covering the how-to aspects of blogging. These were now over 2 years old and possibly out of date as well as out of existence.

A quick test of the links showed that only a few were defunct. I deleted those and went hunting.

In 2005, the term “weblog” was becoming “blog” and there were few writing about blogging nor offering the tips and techniques bloggers needed to know about this new medium of communication. Thus, it was harder to find good articles on the subject, which is why I wrote the post to begin with.

So I went plowing for new gold.

Today, in 2007, the web is over-stuffed with too much information on how to blog. With such inundation on the subject of blogging, there is a ton of great information out there, but I was surprised at how much junk Ihad to plow through.

A lot of articles offering tips on blogging are dated, even if published yesterday. It’s old news, regurgitated over and over, often with misleading information. Many well-written post titles led me to links to blockquote articles pointing to the articles already in my list in 2005. I learned that there are few out there really giving you really good information on the subject of blogging.

I did find a few new articles, but found myself returning over and over to only a few good bloggers who blog about blogging. So, I included a list of those bloggers worth reading if you are going to learn more about blogging, adding even more value to the content.

Adding More Value to Link Lists

As I went through the list of external links, I realized that all I had was a list, and some of the titles didn’t describe the benefits within those posts.

Today’s link lists need to add value to the links. A list of links just isn’t good enough. The reader needs to be convinced that this is going to help solve all their problems if they just click through.

So I added a sentence or two about the linked post’s content, describing what they will learn from visiting that page.

This offers my post some great SEO value. It increases the keywords and search terms on the page, which increases the chances of being found when people search for “how to blog”.

It also helps the reader decide between clicking or passing it by, and anything that helps the reader helps the bloggers involved.

Graphic and Design Details Updated

The last thing I did before saving the updated post was to go through and fix the little graphic and design details which now make so much of the character of my blog.

In 2005, there were only a few WordPress Themes to choose from, and these were nice and simple, but inadequate to my blogging needs and design preferences. I had to develop graphic effects manually to create the “look” I wanted – until WordPress.com offered the Sandbox WordPress Theme which gave WordPress.com bloggers a chance to customize the look of their blogs.

The old post featured the old forced design elements, so I cleaned it up and added my now popular signature, which has now inadvertently turned into a branding identity associated with my blog.

Visually the post now resembles newer posts, creating a continuity in design throughout my blog.

Benefits of Updating Old Posts

It took me almost two hours to update this particular post, time well-spent in my book. Now, one of the popular posts and gateways to my blog offers not only fresh and updated information for my readers, but it is now working harder for my blog by providing more related content and value to my readers and visitors.

It also adds more keywords and search terms to the post, improving the chances of ending up high in the search results when people search for information on how to blog.

The article is more pleasing to read, offers the tips and resources the reader needs, and increases its chances of more incoming links.

And I realized that I have an invaluable resource in that single blog post. I have several “how to blog” basic workshops and speaker events coming up soon and I’m now going to print up that post as a hand-out. Something my audience can take home with them from my blog as a resource.

A two-year old post being revitalized is like preparing a house for sale. Sometimes spending an additional $5,000 in repairs and fix-ups can increase the value of the house by $25,000 or more. Updating old posts might increase the value of your blog 10 fold.

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  1. Linker Barn: Hump Day August 22August 21, 2007 at 11:15 pm
  2. By Jermayn Parker posted on August 22, 2007 at 12:29 am
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    good tips, will have to re look at some of my old posts and clean them up, I do it every so often but probably not nearly enough.

    Reply

  3. By Rob Hiller posted on September 3, 2007 at 4:48 pm
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    I agree with you, new blog readers seldom read old blog posts and it is really useful thing to update old post

    Reply

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