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Breathe New Life Into Old Blog Content

Day 21 of the A-Z challenge.

U is for Update & Refresh

If you’ve been blogging for a few years you probably have a substantial library of posts. How many have you ever revisited? A handful? None? 

We focus on writing new content so much that we forget the posts we wrote years ago. Yet there’s gold in those older pieces. 

Think of it like this. 

Most of the readers who follow your blog now, were not your followers when you started the blog. So they’ve never seen many of the older articles that you worked so hard to create. Those earlier posts have disappeared into a blog cemetery.

Why not dig them up and give them a second life? 

Photo: Unsplash.com.

Why It’s Good To Update Posts 

If you give these older pieces of content a refresh and then re-publish them, you’ll be bringing them to the attention of your current readers and helping to boost your presence with search engines. 

Here are some valid reasons for updating content:

Ways To Update Older Content 

How To Republish: Step By Step 

1. Select the posts to update

You’re not going to update every post you’ve ever written. Some of them are not worth the effort. Think about what would interest your readers most? Probably not your “new book purchases” or month in review posts or your predictions for which titles will win the xxx literary prize three years ago. The posts you’ll want to focus on are those that have a longer life span, like your book reviews.

If you were a professional blogger you’d narrow down the list further by using various analytical tools to decide which are getting some, but not a lot of views. 

We non professionals can use a simpler approach and review a year at a time. Use the statistics available via your blog programme to find posts that had modest traffic and a few comments. 

Set aside some time, maybe just once a month, to go through that list and update one at a time.

2. Decide How Much To Change

You have two options for updating. 

The simplest method is just to republish each of the older posts. All you need to do in WordPress is to change the “publish” date. It will then appear in your followers’ blog feed as a new post. 

It will only take you a few minutes for each post. 

But I’d advise against doing it with posts that have a good number of comments. The reason is that readers will see from the date it’s a new post. Yet the comments are dated from years ago. So they’ll end up confused.

The better solution is to update the post. Some posts may need only a light touch update, others may warrant a substantial rewrite.

3. Make Your Changes

Before you make any changes, make sure to keep the original post live. In WordPress “edit” mode do not select the option to “switch to draft.”

  1. If you plan on making just a few tweaks to the text, do this within the blog editing mode. If you intend to do a complete re-write or want to add a lot of new material, copy and paste the content into a new document, make the changes, and then copy back.
  2. Add your links. Check existing links are still valid.
  3. Change other elements like the graphics and formatting

4. Be Transparent

Add a note at the end of your post to indicate this is an update. This transparency will maintain trust with your readers and is especially particularly important if your older version had a good number of comments.Your transparency note could simply say:

This note was published originally in [date] but has been completely revised and updated for accuracy.

Or

This note was published originally in [date] but has been partially revised with new information 

5. Publish

You are now ready to republish.

Change the publish date and time to the current date and time, and click “update”. Do not try to schedule the changes for a future date or time otherwise it will result in a “404 page not found” error message for your readers.

Ready To Give It A go?

It’s a whole lot easier to revise existing material than it is to create new content.  So if you struggle to think of new content, take the pressure off yourself by revisiting older material. Is this something you have tried yourself or maybe will consider doing in the future?

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