I started blogging in 2007. That’s a long time to be coming up with clever content, and there are only so many things a girl can write about, you know? And one of the most common things I hear from fellow bloggers and my clients at Make Media Over is that they wish some of their existing posts got more traffic.
Too often, we forget that our library of posts is as good today as it ever was — maybe even better than when it was first published — and it’s a heck of a lot easier AND more effective to put a few minutes into polishing it and putting back in front of our audiences than to keep creating new content week after week.
And I promise, it is effective. I first tried this technique on my own website and have since used it on behalf of dozens of clients and created an ebook to share exactly what I’ve found works. I’m thrilled to share that I will also be talking about this in depth at the 2017 IDEA World BlogFest (one of my very favorite events of the year!)
So, what are some of the basics?
Find Your Evergreen Posts
Evergreen is just a fancy way of saying “hey, the info in this post didn’t expire or get outdated!” More and more, bloggers are embracing the value of creating posts and tutorials that can stand the test of time. Things like:
- Product reviews
- Fitness/Wellness tips
Are generally as helpful and informative to a reader today as they were 6 months or even 6 years ago.
So, start by going through your existing posts and identifying some — start with 10 — that can easily be re-shared with your audience with only a little extra effort.
Update, Edit and Optimize
I’m a grammar slammer and still, I find typos, broken links, poorly phrased sentences and more in posts when I return to them after a few months or years. When I optimize posts for clients, I often find broken links, poorly-lit photographs, bad formatting, etc. and those are all easy fixes.
So, give your posts a fresh read. Is there more you could add, now that you’ve had some good feedback from your audience? What have you learned since first publishing?
Most important: have you done a good job optimizing this post for search engines AND linking to other related content on your site? Google is very forgiving and will reward you if you add SEO titles, meta descriptions, alt tags and more, even long after the post was originally posted. So don’t be afraid to go in and tweak.
This is perhaps the scariest and most hotly debated suggestion on my list, and it’s also the least important. So don’t feel like this is the make-or-break moment. ALSO — big hairy scary warning! — if you have dates in your permalink structure, as many bloggers do by default, you should not change your publish dates unless and until you decide how you’re going to redirect the old structure to the new. I have a full tutorial on all of this on my blog if you want to read through more details before deciding whether or not this is appropriate for you.
But republishing sends your updated post back to your RSS feed, back on your home page (if your theme automatically posts your latest content there) and gives Google a little nudge to index it as new content.
This one? It’s the key, guys. Don’t go through of the work in editing and optimizing your post only to let it sit there on your site with no love. Sure, adding some good SEO or fixing broken formatting will help Google, but the real sweet spot here is putting the link back in front of your audience (and more than once).
I use scheduling tools to put my best and freshest content on my social platforms often: a couple of times a month on Twitter, once a month on Facebook, as often as I can on Pinterest and once a month on Instagram. And while you might think my audience would get tired of seeing it, the following is actually true:
- Every time I share, I get a lot of unique impressions, even from followers who have been with me for a long time
- Every time I share, someone says “thank you! I was just looking for help with this”
- Every time I share, it then gets shared by my followers to their audience
Do keep in mind that the same message over and over will feel spammy. So take the time to create new messages for each share (bonus points for different featured images!) and I think you’ll have a lot of success.
Measure (and Repeat!)
My poor clients are probably sick of this phrase, because I’m constantly asking them:
If it’s fun, forget the analytics. That’s a pretty awesome metric. If it’s working — it’s bringing you new page views, more money, more followers or whatever your goal is — keep it up.
Because you’re making these changes while creating new content, you’ll need to keep looking at your analytics reports to see how successfully your strategy has been. After you do your first few posts, look to see which ones had the biggest growth in traffic, and then use that information wisely. If your tutorial posts start getting a lot of traffic but your product reviews don’t, try to figure out why…or let go of the reviews and start creating more tutorials. (Give the people what they want!)
I hope that if you’re at BlogFest in person, you’ll come see my session and let me know if you’ve tried this on your own blog. And if you aren’t able to attend, you can get a FREE optimization checklist on my website at makemediaover.com/newsletter.