Are You Updating Your Old Blog Posts?

This past week, I spent a ridiculous amount of time updating old posts on my blog.

And let me tell you, it made me want to cry.

I’ve become a way better writer since I began working on this site, and my writing style has changed dramatically. Some of my old blog posts were absolutely horrific, and downright embarrassing.

Yet, the majority of my traffic arrives to these old, embarrassing articles. So I had to ask myself… is this really the impression I want to leave on my new visitors? My potential subscribers and potential buyers? Is this what I want them to think of my site?

Absolutely not.

It’s time for you to ask yourself the same thing. Let’s talk about updating your old blog posts.

Why Update Old Posts On Your Blog?

We already know a bit about why we should update our old blog posts, but let’s look into this a bit futher.

Other than fixing your spelling and gramatical mistakes, there are plenty of other reasons updating old blog posts is well worth your time.

A Better Experience For Your Readers

To start off, you’re more knowledgable now then you were in the past. You have more information than you did previously – information that may just fit into your article. As a blogger, I’m going to hope you want to make the best articles you possibly can, so this is a perfect time to add that new information to your article. Your visitors will love you for it.

Additionally, things change all the time and information that was relevant in the past may no longer be relevant today. Therefore, this outdated information is going to do nothing but waste your visitor’s time. I can not tell you how many times I’ve gone through an article only to find out the information is no longer true.

Heck, just the other day I followed a tech guide for two hours just to find out I couldn’t finish it all the way through because it was written in 2008, and hasn’t been updated since. You could imagine how upset I was at the end. 🙂

Google And Fresh Content

As I’m sure you already know, Google loves websites with lots of fresh content.

It makes sense after all – Google wants to give the best experience to its users and fresh content is a good indicator of up-to-date info. Updating your old blog posts almost guarantees you a SEO boost to some degree.

Retain More Visitors With Links To New Posts

This is a huge one.

In my case, most of the visitors that arrive to my old posts come from search engines. A type of traffic that almost never sticks around. 

If you’re updating your blog regularly, chances are you’ve written a ton of awesome new content that wasn’t there when you wrote your older blog posts. This means you have a ton of awesome new articles to link to.

This accomplishes two things – first of all, it passes pagerank from your older posts to your newer relevant ones, and interlinking your blog posts gives your readers somewhere else to go, keeping them on your site longer.

With search engine traffic, you want to do whatever you can to keep visitors on your site. You want them to get to know you, so hopefully they’ll connect with you or hop onto your email list.

How To Update Old Blog Content

So now we know why we should update the old articles on our blogs, but how do we actually go about it? There’s a good process I’ve found that is both productive and saves a ton of time while having the maximum impact, so I’d love to share it with you.

Identify Your Most Popular Posts

First and foremost, you’ll want to identify the old articles on your site which are getting the most amount of traffic. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to take the time to edit my old content, I’d rather improve the content that’s seen by a ton of people rather than the content that’s rarely viewed at all.

If you have Google Analytics installed, it’s pretty easy to see which pages on your site are receiving the most visits. Make sure to select a timespan of a month or two to get a better idea of which posts are getting the most long-term traffic!

Read Over Each Post For Spelling And Grammar Mistakes

I used to be lazy when editing. Really lazy.

The truth is, I never read over each post more than once before hitting the publish button, which was a big mistake. So many spelling and grammar mistakes flew over my head, and I was embarrassed to discover how many mistakes went unnoticed while I was updating my old articles.

Additionally, I recommed reading each post aloud to help you identify phrases that don’t make much sense and can use improvement. You’d be surprised at how much you missed!

Update Information, Interlink Articles

We talked about updating information and interlinking articles earlier, now’s the time to do it. Any information within each article should still be relevant today, and hopefully remain relevant in the future as well.

Call-To-Actionasdf

If you haven’t already been encouraging your visitors to complete some action after finishing your article, now’s the time to ensure this is happening.

For most people, this would be encouraging the visitor to subscribe to your email newsletter. If you aren’t already, I highly recommend using a service like GetResponse to build and manage an email list. After all, this is where most of your money will be made.

Avoid Changing Top Performing Keywords and Page URL

If you’re already ranking well for certain keywords, try to avoid removing those from your article while updating it if possible. The goal is to get more out of your old articles, and removing good keywords is going to have the opposite effect.

Additionally, avoid changing the URL. Old articles likely already have backlinks and social shares, and you don’t want those to be taken away by changing the page’s URL. While WordPress will automatically redirect the old link to the new one, changing the URL will hurt you more than it helps you.

Reshare and Remarket

After you’ve finished updating your old content, it’d be a good idea to market this old content again. Chances are, if people liked it before, they’ll like it even more now. Plugins like Revive Old Post can automatically share older posts on your blog at set intervals, bringing fresh traffic from Twitter to your old articles on a regular basis.

Plus, Google loves new links to old articles. This shows the articles remain relevant over time, which ensures the articles will maintain their high ranking for years to come.

When An Old Topic Merits A New Article

Sometimes, it’s a better idea to post an entirely new article rather than try and edit an old one.

Usually this is the case when an article requires such heavy editing, that updating it would not only ruin the search engine rankings of the article, but take more time than writing a new article itself.

If you feel it would be a better use of your time to simply write a new article than update the old one, than do so. Just be sure to make it clear to visitors who arrive on the old article that a newer version is available.

How Often Should You Update Old Blog Content?

As you can tell, this isn’t exactly a quick process, especially if you have a lot of content on your blog that needs updating. You may find yourself asking, “how often should I be doing this?” The answer is, it depends.

If you know something on your blog has become outdated, it’s a good idea to update it as soon as possible. Of course, it’s not exactly easy to keep track of every single article you’ve posted on your blog. While editing all of my old blog content, I actually discovered a lot of articles I completely forgot I’ve written!

I try to aim to update my old content at least twice a year. If the information is still relevant, updating each post doesn’t take very long at all.

Regardless of how often you update your blog content, it will almost always prove to be more rewarding than writing an extra blog post!

Conclusion

There you have it. You no longer have any excuses – if you haven’t already repurposed some of your old blog content, now’s the time to do it. Plan out some time as soon as possible to update as many of your old posts as possible. You won’t regret it.

Additionally, if you have any comments or questions, or you’d like to share some additional tips with us all, feel free to post a comment below or shoot me an email. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

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About James McAllister

James is the owner of Help Start My Site. He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. Here on HelpStartMySite.com, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, like him on Facebook .

Comments

  1. Hi James !
    The problem of many bloggers is where and how to to get new post ideas to develop as post for publication. . I wish more light could be thrown on how to get and develop new ideas into post.. Nice post James, liked it.. I think it is a great resource !

      (Quote)
    DOK Simon recently posted…How to uninstall apps on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 PlusMy Profile

    • Hey DOK, thanks for stopping by.

      I’ve wrote a bit on the creation of new content in the past which may prove to be valuable to you. I highly recommend checking out the “creating content” category hear on the site – there’s a lot of good info on developing new ideas into great articles.

      Of course, I’m always looking for new things to write about so if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear those as well.

      Thanks for commenting DOK!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…How To Build A Successful Amazon Affiliate Site – The Ultimate GuideMy Profile

  2. Hi James

    Thanks for those pointers. Updating is something I do every so often rather than systematically. You’ve given me a lot more reasons than I’d thought of!

    Just recently I decided to look back on my very first post on my present blog (some were so bad they got trashed!) and it was horrendous. About 300 words saying nothing at all except “here I am” OUCH.

    I added a chunk to it, turned it into a bit of a joke and featured it as a lesson to others in a newer post. But at one level it was pleasing to see how far I have come.

    You also answered some questions I’d wondered about, so thanks for that.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family, Joy

      (Quote)
    Joy Healey recently posted…Why Blog For BusinessMy Profile

    • Hi Joy!

      Good to hear that you’ve been updating. I really don’t understand all of the people that let their old content gather dust – your old content can be a great way to bring fresh eyes to your newer stuff as well. I actually got this idea from my work on YouTube, as I’ve been utilizing my popular videos to bring views and likes to the newer ones until they rank wel and start to take off. After that, I switch them up to another video and repeat the process.

      It’s funny that you mentioned your first post because I have a strange habit of going to blogs I like and digging down through the archives to see how they introduce themselves. I’ve seen all sorts of introductions over the years – they’re often very fun to read.

      Joy Healey:
      But at one level it was pleasing to see how far I have come.

      Absolutely! Although I was so embarrassed to read over some of my older stuff, it just shows how far we’ve come in such a short time. It’s really encouraging!

      Thanks for commenting Joy, happy holidays to you as well!

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      James McAllister recently posted…Do You ACTUALLY Need Passion To Make Money Online? NO!My Profile

  3. Blogging is not one night business. We have to put enough efforts while running a blog. Even Google keeps upgrading itself and brings new updates every six months, we all have to upgrade our own old blog posts as well. Nicely described everything in your given blog post! Thanks!

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    Jayden James recently posted…Indian Rummy for PC Free Download (Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1 / Mac)My Profile

  4. This is my first visit to your blog and I am glad that I am here. I agree that updating old blog posts can be a great thing and result oriented. Finding new ideas every day can be great problem thus meanwhile we can update our older posts to make them fresh.

    Thanks for the post James.

      (Quote)
    Atish Ranjan recently posted…5 SEO Myths you should avoid in 2015My Profile

    • Hi Atish, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. It’s great to meet you and I really appreciate it.

      Like you said, one of the best things you can do when you don’t have an idea for a new article in mind is to go back and spend some time updating your old stuff. I’ve found that doing so actually sparks a ton of new ideas as well, so be sure to take some time to write them down as you think of them!

      Thanks again Atish, and hope to talk to you more in the future!

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      James McAllister recently posted…Problem Solving vs Hobby Niches – Which Are More Profitable? My Profile

  5. Hi James,

    Gosh you have taken on a huge task! I’ve never updated any of my posts..I think it’s been four years since I started blogging. Some of them are so terrible, especially when I started years ago….

    It makes me laugh! But as I teach blogging to others, I tell them to go to my first post. See how terrible it was. Just making the point that “just do it” is the way to go.

    Maybe I should re-think this one, but I have about 300 blog posts he he he. I blog each week, so my content is fresh and new. Undertaking this task would take tons of time. But..I will keep it in mind.

    The main thing I’m doing these days is marketing. So my blogging comes second on my list. I’ll heed your advice!

    -Donna

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    donna merrill recently posted…The 10 Best Ways To Blog in 2015My Profile

    • Hi Donna!

      I’ll be honest – I’m not completely done yet, looking to finish it out this weekend. I could imagine that updating 300 blog posts would be quite the task! Although I’d imagine even updating your top 50 older posts would be well worth the time spent, especially if you take the time to interlink with other articles.

      donna merrill:
      It makes me laugh!But as I teach blogging to others, I tell them to go to my first post. See how terrible it was.Just making the point that “just do it” is the way to go.

      After reading that, I went and took a look at my first blog post on my first blog that I took seriously – wow! Can’t even believe I wrote it. About 200 words of… junk. But I totally agree with the “just do it” attitude – if I had waited to become perfect before I began blogging I’d still be sitting there waiting. We’re improving every day, and that’s all that matters!

      Thanks so much for commenting Donna, always nice to talk to you.

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…Blogging from Paradise: How to Build an Online Empire through Blog Commenting Book ReviewMy Profile

  6. Hi James

    First time I visited your blog though I see you around at other blogs commenting sections and at social media also. It is good to see your blog especially its contents quality is awesome.

    The biggest hurdle in successful blogging is consistency. I personally observed those who create quality usually don’t have much time to update their blogs. They are usually busy professionals engaged in various field.

    The tips you mentioned in this post will help busy people a lot to keep updating their blog by sparing a little time.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this very useful post.

      (Quote)
    Mi Muba recently posted…7 lustful needs of your blog visitors and how to serve themMy Profile

    • Hi Mi, it’s great to meet you.

      I agree that consistency is vital with successful bloggers. If bloggers are struggling to make time to maintain their posting schedule, I think it’s a good idea to write blog posts in advance if it allows them to take a week to update their old stuff.

      I personally have a reserve of timeless posts that are there ready to be published in the event that I become sick or are otherwise unable to write a new article – I think this reserve is something every blogger should have in case of an emergency.

      But even if you just update your most popular posts, that’ll still have a huge positive effect. It doesn’t have to take long, but you certainly get out of it what you put into it 🙂

      Thanks for commenting Mi, hope to talk to you again soon!

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      James McAllister recently posted…From Social Media Beginner To Expert In 33 Days Book ReviewMy Profile

  7. I started this process last year while I was fixing up dead links but after 10 years of blogging I still have a way to go. I’ll mainly concentrate on the posts that are still getting the traffic but some can be refreshed with new content or links to newer material.

    I didn’t think of adding calls to action on the old posts so thank you for that idea.

    When I update a post I add it to a text widget in a footer widget area to draw attention to it.

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  8. Hey James,

    I’ve only updated a few posts and those were the ones that people still visited a lot. Mainly because I still recommended them because I found them very relevant and helpful. I did have someone just a few weeks ago ask me why I didn’t update some of my older posts.

    In my opinion they aren’t evergreen which is another reason I have them dated. Because they aren’t evergreen it should be obvious to people that they are older posts which means no longer relevant for the most part.

    I don’t want to spend my time updating older posts because if I did I would never have time to do anything else. In all honesty though, I prefer to leave them like they are so that people can see how far I’ve come. I don’t care about Google indexing them or people finding them through the search engines. I know you probably think I’m crazy saying that but with the way Google changes things so often I don’t write to be found that way. I only write to help my readers so I don’t really want to take the time to go back and bring my older posts back to life.

    I’m probably one of the few but that’s okay. I like being different but good points I’ll give you that.

    Thanks for the share James and enjoy your weekend.

    ~Adrienne

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    Adrienne recently posted…Saying Goodbye to 2014 EarlyMy Profile

    • Hi Adrienne!

      I know you have a massive site and even thinking about updating a fraction of your content is enough to make anybody shudder.

      Like you I put my readers far ahead of search engines but there’s no ignoring that a large percentage of my traffic comes from them. Each one of those visitors has the potential to become a long term reader or customer. In my case search engine traffic rarely sticks around or converts so its actually one of my least favorite forms of traffic.

      In order to keep a search engine visitor, I’ve really got to wow them and then give them an immediate call to action. When I updated my older posts, this was often encouraging them to sign up for my traffic course, which didn’t exist when I originally wrote the article. Since then I’ve seen a huge increase in opt-ins so I feel the time spent was well worth it.

      Like I said if an article is too outdated I’d just write a new article on the topic, so updating the others really doesn’t take so long. I tend to stick to my blogging schedule, but when I can update 5 posts that are already receiving traffic, I find it more beneficial to do that than to write an extra one. Of course like most people I don’t have the recurring visitors that you have so who’s to say my opinion won’t change in the future? Time will tell.

      I really appreciate your comment Adrienne, always nice to hear other viewpoints.

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…How To Build A Successful Amazon Affiliate Site – The Ultimate GuideMy Profile

  9. Hi James. I found this link on Donna Merrill’s blog and thought I’d visit you. I recently moved my blog to my website, and I’ve been going through my old posts. Wow – broken links, YouTube videos that weren’t sharing, stuff I’ve long abandoned. I finally just put all the old posts in Trash and am going over them for updates. Love this post. I need to remember those posts are still in the Trash waiting to be resurrected. Thanks for your post.

    All the best,
    Leslie Denning, The Home Biz CEO

      (Quote)
    Leslie Denning recently posted…5 Reasons Why Blogging is a Great Internet Marketing ToolMy Profile

    • Hi Leslie! It’s great to meet you.

      Hearing your comments reminds me of all the stress I went through doing the exact same thing a few years ago. At least once it’s done, it’s done, right?

      Definitely remember to republish those posts. Even if you don’t take the time to update the content, you can still use them to both measure your progress or link to newer articles.

      Hope to see you again soon Leslie!

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      James McAllister recently posted…Your Blog Is NOT A BusinessMy Profile

  10. Hey James, I find this very interesting particularly because I literally just started updating my marketing blog like three days ago.

    I’ve been making changes left and right and have been noticing a decrease in rankings (I don’t care too much about Alexa ranks though) but I know by the end I will have a blog that is way better than it is right now.

    Anyway, good to know I’m not the only one doing this, I’m wondering if you changed images as well?

    I’m going to change a few, I know I shouldn’t touch those but some images from the beginning are just too embarrassing for them to be there.

    Cheers and cool theme man, I used this one for a while too, brought good memories. 😉

    Sergio Felix

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    Sergio Felix recently posted…Breaking Up The SilenceMy Profile

    • Hey Sergio! Good to meet you.

      Sounds like you’re on the right track then huh? I do think it’s important to update periodically to provide the best value for our visitors. When you take the time to keep your content up to date, you instantly have a huge advantage over your competitors when their visitors are landing on their outdated pages.

      I haven’t changed many images around myself but I know I would have if any of them had become outdated.

      Looking forward to checking out your blog soon. I appreciate your comment, share, and follow and I hope to see you again soon! Thanks Sergio!

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      James McAllister recently posted…How To Write Blog Posts Quickly And ProductivelyMy Profile

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