We all get writer's block sometimes. Or creator's block. Or whatever you want to call that evil gremlin stopping your flow of inspiration. Or if you're a solopreneur, writing a brand new blog post might be the last thing you want to do after another 60 hour week of client work.
So what can you do to boost your blog’s reach when you don’t have the time, energy or inspiration to create new content from scratch?
If you’ve had a blog for more than a few months, chances are you already have a ton of content. Instead of letting your blog go silent, it's time to make it work for you.
A fast and easy way to deliver great content to your readers is to update an old blog post. It’s a great opportunity to improve your SEO and increase traffic to your website.
You've heard "quality over quantity," right?
Why Consider Updating an Old Post?
Google bots and other search engines crawl the internet every day ranking content and measuring its value to their users. Value is measured in a variety of ways, but “relevant content” is a prime asset. So updating old posts to keep them fresh, accurate and with maximized SEO will help more of the right people find you online.
Trust me – at some point, it will be. So treat it that way!
11 Examples of When & How to Update Old Blog Posts:
You’d like to quote another blogger or industry leader on the topic.
The post is no longer consistent with your visual branding. Would updated images improve it or bring it back in-line with your brand?
You want to include CTAs (Calls To Action) to share the post online, such as a “tweetable” sentence or an invite to “Pin” images on Pinterest.
A reader's comment made you realize additional information you could add to the post.
You didn’t include any internal and/or external links to related content.
You forgot a CTA at the end of the post to encourage conversation in the comments.
The post could be an evergreen topic that’s still relevant, but needs time-sensitive content removed.
Updating or adding recent industry news, trends or research findings would add value and authority to your claims.
The post has gone viral on Pinterest. Add an opt-in to take advantage of this traffic (like I did for this post about growing blog traffic and doubled my mailing list!).
Or the opposite... the post has very little traffic and engagement. If the topic is on-brand and still important to you, how can you make it more appealing to readers?
The main goal: How can you add more value to the post compared with when it was first written?
Updating an old blog post can take a little time but, as you can see, is well worth doing.
But not all posts are worth updating.
Types of Blog Posts You Can Avoid Updating:
Those which are not evergreen, i.e. it was time sensitive / related to a specific date, launch or offer.
Posts which still fit well with your current branding and messaging.
If your blog is brand new with limited content. You're better off building your library of content first.
You’re taking a whole new direction with your blog, and your old blog posts are no longer appropriate.
The post has very low traffic and little or no engagement AND the topic no longer lights you up. If you find yourself staring at the screen thinking of how to improve it, that's not helping your case of writer's block.
Protect your SEO before you update an old post!
If you replace an old image, be sure to keep that old image in your file library.
Don’t change the URL... unless there's a big advantage to doing so. If it's dated, super long, or won't be on-topic anymore, you can consider updating the URL for SEO. If you do, you’ll want to set up a 301 redirect so that you don’t lose the old traffic. In most cases it’s easier to keep the original URL.
How to Update Old Blog Posts:
I’ve created a short, easy-to-follow FREE guide to help you work out how to update your posts and make the best use of them – download it now:
This FREE 8-page PDF guide includes:
10 ways to update and improve the copy in your blog post
9 ways to improve the SEO in your blog post
11 ideas to update and re-promote content with imagery, video, and add-ons (like opt-ins)
15 ideas for promotions on social media, email, and more
5 new platforms to test sharing and posting your updated content
Tools to make the process faster and easier
P.S. Did you notice this was an old post I updated?
I'm curious... if you've been following my blog for awhile, did you notice this was a post from 2015?
A few weeks ago I was inspired to write a blog post with 50 ways to update your old content, so I started a brand new post. When I did my yearly content audit, I realized I already had a blog post on the topic.
Instead of recreating the wheel, so to speak, it makes much more sense to update the old version. The post had a few hundred shares and okay traffic the first time around, but I saw many ways I could add more value for readers.
12 ways I improved this old blog post:
Tested and updated the post title
Updated the feature blog image
Added more detail to make the post long-form (from around 350 words to 1200 words)
Added an opt-in with even more free content
Added two tweetable links
Updated the call to action (below)
Created a new image for Pinterest and scheduled on several boards
Updated the publish date so it moved to the top of my feed
Added a few internal links to relevant content
Emailed the new post to my list
Re-promoted the post on social media
Improved the SEO
If you want to update old blog posts, by no means does it have to be this in-depth. Usually just a few small tweaks can make a huge difference.