How to Bring New Eyes On Old Blog Posts

By Alexis Rodrigo | Blogging

Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye GET THE BOOK

Aug 17

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The problem with blogs is old posts get buried, forgotten and never read again.

If you've been blogging regularly for a year or longer, you'll be looking wistfully at your old posts. The ones you crafted with so much care, prepared for with hours of research, and edited to near-perfection.

New visitors to your blog may never discover them, no matter how great they are. I mean, how many people really look through blog archives? Do you?

But don't worry, because all is not lost. There's life in your old blog posts yet.

Don Crowther, a social media marketing expert, has an excellent blog post with wonderful tips to get old blog posts read again.

Give Old Blog Posts Some Love

Don provides 7 tips to bring new traffic to old blog posts. Some are new ideas (new to me at least), such as creating a “best of” post and adding a video to blog posts that are oldies but goodies. A “best of” post is also a life saver when you've run out of ideas for post topics (you didn't make a blog editorial calendar again? tsk, tsk).

Another tip from Don is something you ought to be doing routinely anyways. That is to link to old posts from inside new posts.

I do this two ways. First, I link to old posts through text links throughout the new post. Second, I use a plugin like LinkWithin to automagically display related posts at the bottom of each post. Another plugin that does this is the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin, but LinkWithin is prettier because it displays thumbnails from the related posts.

More Ideas

Don's article also helped me think of other ways to bring fresh eyes on older posts, such as:

  • Create different landing pages for different types of readers. For example, for my freelancing blog, I could make a landing page for beginner freelancers and another for veteran freelancers. On my parenting blog, I could have separate landing pages for readers, depending on their children's ages. One of my clients made a “Start Here” page with links to the must-read posts on her blog, and that page became one of the most-visited pages on her site.
  • Link to old but highly relevant posts when posting in social media. This is related to, but different from, one of Don's tips. Here, you link to your old posts when commenting on other people's blogs, answering questions in forums, responding to Facebook updates or page posts, etc. The key thing is to make sure the post you're linking to is relevant to the topic, or else you'll be seen as a spammer.

Important: Don't Date Your Posts!

Of course, these tips will work best only if you don't display the publication date on your blog posts, which is the default in WordPress. Doing so will make your posts look stale, even if they're really “evergreen.” If you've been writing pillar posts, most likely they'll provide useful, relevant information for years to come.

Therefore: turn off the date on your posts. If you use themes like Thesis and Headway, you can do this through the theme settings. If your theme doesn't let you do this, try Don's ultra-simple workaround, which he demonstrates in this video. (Note: I tried this on one of my older blogs and it didn't work. Even editing the php file did not work. I gave up trying before I blew something up – again.)

Over To You

What did this post inspire you to do? How are you going to bring readers to your old blog posts?

And do you have other ideas for doing this?

I'd love to hear your action steps and suggestions below.

Lexi Rodrigo

Creative Commons License photo credit: olga.palma

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About the Author

Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

  • Love that photo!! I’m transferring my blog to WordPress, so as I set it up, I’ll remember not to date the posts. I use LinkWithin as well and I’ve sold reprints of a few popular posts to get even more mileage out of those posts.

    • Alexis says:

      @Susan Johnston – Do tell: How do you sell reprints of your popular posts?

      • Most websites want original content, so it’s hard, but I will tell you that BlogHer.com pays to syndicate some of its members posts (are you a member? It’s free to join and it’s a nice community). FundsforWriters.com also buys reprints: http://www.fundsforwriters.com/submissions.htm In both cases, I email the contact, highlight one or two posts that I’m especially proud of, and ask if they’d be interested in reprinting it.

  • Chuck says:

    Some good ideas here: I particularly like the Best Of Posts idea and the linkwithin plugin. Thanks…

  • One tip I would add is before linking to old posts, make sure they are in tip top condition to be visited again 😉 I was just going through my older posts to add a new relevant label to some and discovered images no longer on view because I had adjusted their viewing permissions on their host site (Flickr). Easy to rectify, just a little labourious to go through and check all. But a necessary evil 🙂

    Thanks for the new ideas – have duly noted and added to my upcoming schedule/calendar 🙂

    • Alexis says:

      @beka {ginger*urchin} – I have those disappearing photos as well, ugh. Thanks for the excellent reminder!

  • I keep a tab in HootSuite that tracks recipe requests on Twitter. I reply to those requests that I can answer with links back to one of our blog’s recipes.

    I’m sure you can tune this strategy to fit any blog’s niche.

  • Mike says:

    Great tips as always, Lexi. The LinkWithin is useful because I have been looking for just that tool. I also try to include some links between my sites. I have one site for the day job, http://www.writecompany.co.uk, and link to it from my fiction/ranting site and from posts there. Amazingly, I have had a couple of enquiries, one leading to work, and only a few weeks in!

    I am also putting together a giveaway ebook of my business tips posts. Unless I can figure out how Sue Johnston sells hers!

    • Alexis says:

      @Mike – Wow, talk about fast results! See Susan’s response below. She very kindly shared various opportunities with us 🙂

  • Great post and tips as usual Lexi!

    I’ve always heard that removing dates from posts helps keep people from automatically discounting content as stale/no longer relevant because of dates. I guess the one drawback that immediately comes to mind is that visitors can’t get an idea of how well maintained your site is if there are no dates (or the topic is obviously something current). I’ve abandoned an old blog (that’s still up). The last post was from 2009 but without that date, nobody would know. I guess it’s good if they still get some useful from it but could be frustrating for somebody to subscribe to RSS for blog that hasn’t been updated in years. Thoughts?

    I do think beka {ginger*urchin} has an awesome suggestion. Updating some popular old posts to make them more current is a great way to keep older content interesting and relevant.

    • Alexis says:

      @Michael R. Murphy – I’d still go for removing the dates. I think the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. The other question is, should we turn off the dates from comments as well?

  • Rachel says:

    I reorganized my site with a nav menu so people could access my old posts. Do you think this will help? I’ll have to try removing dates on my posts. The only thing I don’t like about that is when I visit other people’s pages without dates I get frustrated b/c I can’t find if the content is relevant.

    • Alexis says:

      @Rachel – Depending on how you organize it, a navigation bar on your page can help readers find their way around your blog, including to your old blog posts. It’s often not enough, though.

  • serin paul says:

    It was really helpful and increased the time people spend on my blog especially with linkwithin plugin thank you so much

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