I have roughly thirteen years of content in the blog now, but most of the older posts get little to no traffic. This is something I have made some half-hearted attempts to fix in the past, with little success.
I figure now is as good a time as any to take another stab at it!
I’ve done a quick overview below on how I evaluate each post and then I’ve got some examples of the process.
Making Old Posts New Again
There are four basic rules that I try and measure each of the old posts against. I’m a bit of a hoarder, so I hate getting rid of anything… even if it means polishing the heck out of an old idea!
Rule #1 – Is it still relevant to the blog?
This is the most important of the rules and it’s the one I fight with the most. I have older content, like the gaming posts, that have been smothered into uselessness by the sands of time.
MMOs aren’t static things and all of my old leveling posts aren’t something anyone is going to be looking for. While they might make my post numbers look good, they don’t contribute anything to my visibility on the interwebs.
I have other posts that whose content isn’t ‘expired’, but that aren’t quite on topic for the current incarnation of the blog. Rambling about life is fine when it’s on LiveJournal, but it’s not something anyone is going to be Googling for. At least I hope not! *eyes the interwebs nervously*
So old content needs to be reworked so that it’s current… or it needs to go!
Rule #2 – Is it in the proper format?
I have gone through a lot of changes to the blog and themes over the years. Many of the older posts were formatted to fit layouts and screen sizes that aren’t mobile friendly.
If a post looks out of place or is oversize/clunky on a phone, then it needs to be torn apart and rebuilt!
Other blog posts, like the Saturday Story Prompts and the Model Horses, have a new default layout to their content. As I work my way through the older posts, I’m trying to update them to match… even if the old post itself is mobile-friendly.
Rule #3 – Is it share-worthy?
In the wilds of the internet today, link popularity is all about how much it makes folks want to share. The post has to be a) useful and b) pretty and c) useful!
I love writing How To posts, so those are an easy check in the box, but some of the other posts are a bit iffier. I have various progress reports like the Live From the Workbench and Live From the Writing Desk that could be tweaked a bit to be more appealing.
At the very least each post needs a decent Pinterest image for my boards…
Rule #4 – Does it have friends?
Blog posts are only important to Google if they are linked to by something else.
In a perfect world, that means something outside of my blog should link to every post and page (Hello Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook! ?). But in a real world, it just means all of my blog posts should link to something else inside and outside of the blog.
Some of that I can do with the various archive pages, but I also need to find a way to relate things to one another. I’ve gotten into the habit of referencing other pieces of art when describing new things… so I just need a way to do that for everything else. *ponders*
Proving a Theory
Anywho, those are my four rules for the revamp!
Now to put those rules into practice, I’ve gathered some of the posts from the past that happened on 7/27 and picked out a pair that I thought would make a good test. I’m going to walk through the changes I made to each, so you can see how each of the rules break down into specific changes.
Many of my blog posts are dedicated to a piece of art and in this case, there were two custom model horse posts in the mix.
- 2011: Gold Standard
- 2010: Jessie
They pass Rule #1 (is it still relevant to the blog?), as I am still actively posting art and writing to the blog.
Rule #2 (is it in the proper format?) is where they hit the first major snag! The posts are not using the same layout as my current art posts and they are not formatted to be mobile-friendly.
I’ve changed how I format of the titles on art posts so it’s more obvious what the post is about. Thus the very first thing is to retitle them:
- New title: Gold Standard (Custom Breyer Stablemate Paso Fino)
- New title: Jessie (Custom Breyer Stablemate Scrambling Foal)
I went ahead and changed the permalink as well, since fixing a few broken links is worth the clarification! (Plus WordPress is smart enough to fix most of the forwarding for me.)
Secondly, the post’s details and contents are both a mess. The posts are missing featured images, there are no excerpts, and the images themselves have bad file names. The posts also have the older ‘more’ tags and the old bullet point style of listing the custom’s details.
Thankfully the only thing I can’t change is that the image sizes are a little small. (I no longer have the original photos thanks to a computer crash.)
I renamed and reuploaded all of the images so that they matched the blog title. This is another way to add a little oomph for the Google algorithm, which loves it when content on a post is all in agreement.
Rule #3 (is it share-worthy?) meant it was time to come up with Pinterest images. This was a bit of a struggle since the images are so small, most of them are only 300px wide!
I whipped up a Canva layout that should work, even if it’s a little heavier on the text-to-image ration than I’d like.
I updated the excerpts and snippets to match, so the short description on Google and Pinterest will hopefully catch people’s interest long enough to click. *crosses fingers*
There were zero links in the blog posts, so to meet Rule #4 (does it have friends?) I rewrote the post.
After changing things around so it was easier to read on mobile, I scattered in some links. For internal links, I used other custom model horse posts and made sure that they were properly linked from the Model Horse Gallery page. For external links, I added the banner image and link to the Etsy store at the bottom.
So, to sum-up, I did the following:
- Changed the title of the post to be clearer on what it was about
- Changed the permalinks to match the new post title
- Renamed and reuploaded all of the image files to be clearer about what they were
- Removed the ‘more’ page break
- Created a Pinterest friendly image to use as the Featured Image (and named it clearly)
- Created an excerpt and snippet that would draw people into clicking on the post
- Rewrote the post content to be easier to read on mobile devices
- Changed the way the images are embedded in the post to display better on mobile devices
- Created links within the new text to other posts on the blog
- Created links within the next text to posts outside the blog (in this case, my Etsy store)
- Updated other posts and pages in the blog to make sure they linked correctly to the new blog post
Now it’s time to share the new posts on the various social media sites! I’ll need to give it a few weeks to see if the changes have made an impact… *crosses fingers*
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