For the last year, I’ve been going through my blog archives. I started doing this to get ready to switch from Blogger to WordPress. Now that I’ve switched, I’ve kept plugging away at it to make sure all my posts are doing what I want on my new site. Because I have over 1,000 posts now, it’s a big job, but I think it’s worth it to ensure that my blog is running at its best. Here’s my tips for how to maximize your blog archives.
1. Fix broken links.
There’s nothing more annoying than reading a great post and then clicking on the recommended link, only to end up at a 404 or a page totally unrelated to the original post. It’s a reality that websites change and go away, so links must change too.
Many of my old posts link to my .blogspot address, so I’m having to fix those links since my switch to WordPress. Sometimes I check and fix these links as I’m reviewing old posts; other times, I run my blog through Free Broken Link Checker and start fixing the links it finds.
2. Add internal links.
Many SEO companies suggest that internal links can help increase your blog’s SEO and add value to your readers by giving them more posts to read about in a topic they’re already interested in. Many of my recent posts are linked to each other, but as I read through older posts, I discovered I’d written some great posts about topics that I knew I’d written other posts about but I hadn’t linked them. So I’ve been adding internal links to related posts.
Yoast’s SEO plugin is an easy way to see which posts need links. If you buy the premium plugin, it will show you any “orphan content” on your blog. These are posts that have no links to them. They may be old posts in your archives that you’ve forgotten about, or new posts you’ve written and not linked to yet.
3. Update SEO.
On Blogger, doing SEO was a little bit of a shot in the dark, unless I used Google’s Keyword Tool (time-consuming for individual posts). Now, I use Yoast to make sure that I’m optimizing each post for SEO. The free version of Yoast includes a handy checklist where you can enter your keyword and it will show you if you’ve included that keyword in your title, subtitles, post content, images, and more. The paid version of Yoast has a few more features (like the orphaned content category above).
I found Kelly’s Sticky SEO e-course (affiliate link) super helpful in understanding SEO and approaching keyword research for both my old and new blog posts. Kelly unpacks what search engine optimization is and how to do keyword research and how to write great posts with your chosen keywords. Now, I try to follow her tips each week and update a couple old posts with better keywords.
For most of my blog’s life, I blogged just for fun. A few years ago, I figured if I put this much time into something, it should be giving back to me too. (Plus, as my blog has grown and my costs for doing it have increased, it helps to have some income to pay for hosting and other blog-related fees.)
Now, I monetize via an ad network, affiliate links, and sponsored posts. Going back through my archives has been a good way to see old posts that could be monetized. For example, I’ve been adding Amazon affiliate links to all my book reviews, to make it easier for you to grab the book if you liked my review. 🙂
5. Add pin-worthy images.
If you started blogging since the advent of Pinterest in 2010, this step probably won’t be necessary. However, half of my blogging experience happened before then. When I first started blogging, I didn’t add pictures to my posts at all. So now I’m going back to old posts and creating new images to pin those posts (especially since a lot of my traffic comes from Pinterest).
Do you need a blogging break? Do you have an old post that didn’t get the traffic you thought it would?
Consider updating old posts and reposting them again. I found some old posts that had great, evergreen content and were written when I had very little traffic, and decided it was worth reposting those again.
7. Delete non-relevant posts.
I deleted about fifty old posts that were no longer relevant to my blog or what I wanted my brand to be about. I also deleted any old giveaway posts (if they were purely giveaway and didn’t include a review). There’s some debate in my blog groups about best practices for deleting old posts, and whether this affects your SEO and causes broken links or not. I’m a neat-and-tidy person who likes keeping things simple, so I decided just to delete these posts.
(If you’re worried about broken links, the premium version of Yoast can help you redirect old, deleted URLs to newer, more relevant content so your readers don’t end at a 404.)
8. Check categories/tags.
Blogger and WordPress have different ways of using categories and tags, so switching platforms affects how your blog is organized. However, organization was also a big reason I made the switch. Since then, I’ve been trying to pare down my categories to focus on what I really want to write about, trying to organize my posts to fit within those categories, and adding tags for further organization and SEO.
9. Follow-up with interviews or brands.
I found an interview I’d done with Janet Sketchley years ago, while she was still working on her novel, and quickly sent her an email for a follow-up interview now that her novel is published. Again, this allows you to link back to old content again. This is also a good time to look at past sponsored posts and product reviews and consider re-pitching a brand you’ve worked with before (update the post and give the brand a shout-out on social media before emailing them).
10. Share on social media.
I was a latecomer to most social media channels (I only joined Twitter in 2012), so many of my older posts were never shared on social media. Or if they were, they were shared when I had a very small following. So as I update old posts, I’ve been sharing them out on social media; e.g., pinning book covers, tweeting authors about the review, etc. Darren Rowse of ProBlogger regularly shares contents from his archives on his Facebook page to keep driving traffic back to his blog.
Have you done any of these steps to maximize your blog archives? What do you recommend for keeping your old posts relevant?