Like anything else in the world your old blog posts also need to be updated from time to time.
You may know the amazing reasons of updating old blog posts.
If you have been blogging for a while, it’s possible that you have dozens or hundreds or even more blog posts in your archive. You need to update them regularly to give them a new life.
You may think that who has that much time to focus on old posts as creating new posts regularly is important.
I agree. You should be creating new contents regularly to keep your blog fresh and updated.
But we actually blog for readers. So, it’s our responsibility to serve them better.
This is one of the many reasons I update my old blog posts regularly.
Not only your readers will thank you for that, but it’ll also increase your readership and trustworthiness.
Updating old blog posts shouldn’t be hard and time-consuming. It should be easy and simple.
I apply some tricks to make the process easy.
In this post, I’ll share my tricks on how you can update your old posts without giving much effort and spending less time.
What Can You Do With Your Old Posts?
The old blog posts can be your gold mines or they can hurt your business. Posts which are bringing you traffic or leads are your goldmines. But the old posts which became obsolete and spoiling your trustworthiness can hurt your business even they bring traffic.
Depending on these situations, you can do the followings with your old posts.
Delete: The post which became completely irrelevant to current times, you should delete them. For example, Google plus discontinued their service. So, if you’ve written posts before covering Google plus, those aren’t of any use nowadays. You should delete them.
Quick Update: You don’t need to change many things for a quick update. Just checking typos and broken links are fine.
You don’t need to go through all of your old posts for quick updating. You can apply my trick here.
We often link back to our old posts from our new posts. In my post publishing checklist, I have a point. That is update posts which are linked to. Whenever I link back to my old posts from the new one, I just go to them and make a quick update.
You can follow the trick. It doesn’t take much time.
Full Update: This is the major update of old blog posts. You need to carefully select posts and may need to update many things. I’ll mainly discuss this topic in details in this post.
Republish: If you think your readers need to know about a fully updated blog post, you should republish that.
As republishing old posts takes time, you can apply my trick here.
I publish one post in a week and every month I update one old post fully and republish that instead of publishing a new post.
Thus, I can keep my blog updated and save time for creating a new post.
For republishing an old post, you just need to change the publishing date to current.
Create A New Post: If you want to present the message of an old post in a new way completely, you can write a new post based on the message of the old post.
But, you shouldn’t delete the old post as it brings you traffic.
In this case, you either can leave a message in your old post letting your readers know that there is a newer version of the post or you can redirect the old post to the new one. When you redirect the old post, your readers will automatically be redirected to your new post once they clicked on the old post link.
If you follow my tricks discussed in this section, instead of being a hard task, updating old blog posts will be a continuous process.
The trick is,
Quick update your old posts while linking back from your new post.
Include updating and republishing old blog posts to your post publishing schedule. You’ll fully update an old post and republish that instead of a new one. I republish one in every month. You can set your own schedule based on your posting frequency.
How To Decide Which Posts To Update
Virtually you should update all of your old blog posts from time to time. If you follow my tricks I discussed in the above section, all of your old blog posts will be updated over time.
But for updating old blog posts fully, you may need to be strategic to select posts.
While selecting posts to update, consider the following things –
- Consider top performing posts.
- Your evergreen posts.
- Posts with keyword you’re trying to rank for.
- Posts that were published more than a year ago.
- Consider selecting a post that hasn’t received any organic traffic in the first month.
- Select post that has zero comments.
- Consider selecting posts with outdated information.
What are you thinking? Selecting posts to update considering all these things is a hard task!
It shouldn’t be.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you already know that my mission is to eliminate blogging overwhelm. So I try to make things as simple as possible.
I’ve developed a strategy to select old blog posts to update. And it’s really simple. You can follow my strategy.
As you know from the above discussion, I update an old blog post fully every month. After updating I republish that. So I just need to select 12 posts for a year. Depending on your post publishing frequency, you need to determine how many posts you’ll update in a year.
After that go to Google analytics > Behavior > Overview. You’ll see the following screen.
Here you’ll get only ten posts.
To get all of your posts, change the duration at the top right corner of the screen.
Now select view full report at the bottom right corner of the page. See the image below.
Still, you’re seeing 10 posts. To see all posts choose Show rows 5000 at the bottom right corner of the screen.
You’re now seeing all of your posts. Export that sheet to Google sheet or excel document by clicking the EXPORT drop-down menu at the top right corner of the screen.
Once you exported the sheet to Google sheet, you can now view the data as you want.
The first metric I focus on is the engagement that you’ll know from the column “Avg. Time on page“. The 2nd metric I focus on is the pageview to know the popularity of posts. You can short your data using both columns.
Just go to Data > sort range…in your Google sheet (if you’re using any other excel program, there must be some options to sort data).
You’ll see the following screen.
Now click the checkbox that labeled “Data has header row“. In the Sort by drop-down menu select the “avg. time on page” column and select the radio button “Z to A“.
Now click on the “Add another sort column” button and choose the pageviews and again select the sorting option Z to A. See the image below.
Finally click on Sort button.
Your sheet is now sorted by the options you chose.
You’ll find many rows in your sorted sheet which aren’t your blog posts. You can easily delete them.
Select the row or rows you want to delete and then right click on a selected row and choose delete.
After deleting unnecessary rows, you now only have blog posts. The posts are in top rows of the sheet are top performing posts of your blog.
You now need to add other metrics to the sheet in different columns.
For example, add a column for publishing date and write the post publishing date in the column beside relevant rows of posts.
Add another column for tracking comments you got on those posts.
You can also add columns for marking your evergreen posts, the posts that have outdated information, etc.
Once you completed the sheet with all the metrics you want to consider to select posts to update, it’s now easy for you to decide which posts you want to update sooner and which posts later.
Select six to twelve posts for one year to update depending on your post publishing frequency.
As these posts need to be updated fully, you may consider republishing them. And I found it’s the best strategy to reduce the workload of creating new contents.
Read More: How to republish old blog posts?
What Things Should You Consider While Updating An Old Blog Post?
Now the question is, what things of an old blog post will you consider changing?
You shouldn’t change all the things of an old post. Remember that you aren’t creating a new post, you’re just updating an old post.
Depending on the post content consider following things to update –
- Remove content that is no longer relevant to the post.
- Add fresh content.
- Update outdated copy.
- Replace screenshots if things have changed (This is especially important for tutorial type posts).
- Update outdated data/stat with fresher, more timely ones.
- Remove “best practices” that are no longer the best and replace them with new ones.
- Add new, fresh examples or replace old one.
- Remove broken links.
- Add more internal links.
- Replace internal links if there are now better resources.
- Update post’s call-to-action (particularly if there is any lead generating opportunity).
- Reconsider post formatting and improve readability.
- Consider adding or replacing images.
- Remove spam comments.
- Consider rewriting post title.
- Reconsider keywords.
How To Update Old Blog Posts?
You’ve made a list of posts to update. You now know the considering things of an old blog post to update. Now it’s time to work.
Updating an old blog post shouldn’t take long as writing a new post. You need to follow a process to update old blog posts. The process should be easy.
You can set your own process which you’re comfortable with or you can follow my process which I’m describing below.
Step #1: Read Through The Post
Start with the top post on your list. Go to the post and read thoroughly. If you think that anything needs to be changed in the post, make a list of them in a notepad.
Step #2: Make Everything Ready Before Going To Edit Your Post
Based on the list you’ve just made, make sure you’ve everything ready before going to edit the old post.
For example, if you need to replace an image, make the image ready. If you need to update any data or stats, research to gather the data or stat.
Step #3: Go To Your WordPress Post Editor Screen
Now it’s time to edit the post.
Go to the post link you’re going to update. If you’re already logged in to your WordPress dashboard you’ll see an EDIT link at the top of the page. If you aren’t logged in, open another tab in your browser and log in to your WordPress dashboard.
Once you logged in to your WordPress dashboard, now close the browser tab. You’ll be on the opened page of the old post that you’re going to update.
Now refresh the page by clicking on the reload button. The EDIT link will now be visible. Click on the link and you’ll be on the WordPress POST EDITOR screen.
Step #4: Update The Things You’ve Gathered
In step #2, you’ve made some things ready to update.
Now include those things in the post.
Step #5: Reread The Post Again While You’re On The WordPress Post Editor
While you’re in the WordPress post editor screen, start reading the post from the top. During reading, you’ll find many contents that need to be updated. You also may need to delete or add some content in your post.
Step #6: Update The Old Post
Preview the post after updating. If everything is fine, just click on the Update button at the top of the WordPress post editor screen to make the updated post live on your blog.
In this step, you can also republish the post by changing the publishing date of the post.
Just click on the document tab at the top right-hand corner in your WordPress post editor screen and change the date and time as shown in the image below.
Best Practice For Updating Old Blog Posts
The purpose of updating old blog posts is to make them shine, time relevant, SEO optimized, improving reader engagement, getting more page views, and increasing the overall performance.
Keeping these things in mind you need to update an old post in such a way that doesn’t hurt your blog instead of increasing its value.
So, keep the following things in mind while updating.
- Keep The Overall Seo Strategy Of The Post Unchanged: You definitely selected a keyword for the post while you published that for the first time. Don’t change that keyword. Because the post may get some SEO juice for the keyword.
But you can add more relevant keywords which will support the main keyword of the post.
- Keep The Url The Same: Changing the URL of the post will hurt the SEO ranking of the post. Don’t change that.
- Keep The Keyword In The Title: If you’re changing the post title, make sure you put the post’s keywords in the title.
- Don’t Republish The Post If The Permalink Structure Has A Date In It: Republishing the post after updating will change the post URL If your permalink structure contains a date in it. In that case, don’t republish the post. If you want to republish look for a solution. So that the post URL remains unchanged after republishing.
- Add An Editor’s Note For Transparency: It’s better to leave a note in your updated blog post to let your readers know that you’ve updated the post.
When I republish an old blog post, I leave a message at the end of the post which looks like,
“This post was originally published on…(date) and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.“
What To Do After Updating An Old Blog Post?
Wait! Your job isn’t done yet.
Fully updating an old blog post takes almost half of the time of creating a new post. You just can avoid the mass writing which you do for creating a new post.
So you need to ensure the maximum ROI from the post after updating. Do the followings.
- Keep Records Of Posts You Updated: The first thing I do after updating an old post is, I keep a record in my UPDATING POST list.
Make a column in your list and write a name of the column in the header raw as UPDATE STATUS.
After updating a post go to your list and write the updated date as shown in the image below.
- Promote The Post: A fully updated post should be promoted like a new post. I’ve talked about how to promote a blog post before. So, I won’t discuss the thing here. Just click on the link and read the post to learn the techniques of promoting blog posts.
- Keep Track Of The Performance Of The Post: How the post is performing after the update? How many social shares it gets? How many comments the post is getting? Keep tracking the overall performance of the post.
I hope, by now, that you realize how important it is to update old blog posts.
They bring most of your blog traffic. So, it is important to update them from time to time to increase their overall engagement and usability.
So, take actions. Make a list of old blog posts to update. Include this in your content publishing strategy to consistently update old blog posts.
I’d appreciate if you could take a minute to let me know what is your strategy of updating old blog posts.
And I’d be happy if you come back later and let me know the overall performance of an old blog post after updating. Just leave a comment below…