Struggling to come up with new ideas for your blog?
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. I’ve been blogging for years and years now, covering a wide range of subjects, and I run out of inspiration all the time. It comes back eventually, but the lack of mojo can mean that days, weeks, and sometimes even months can go by without me publishing a single post.
That’s not great if you’re trying to grow a blog. In fact, irregular and sparse post publishing has a really detrimental effect. It makes search engines think that it’s not worth showing your blog higher up in search results, and it stops potential long-term followers from hitting the follow or subscribe button because they won’t miss something that never actually arrives.
Just because you have no inspiration for new content doesn’t mean that you can’t work on your blog, though. You can update and make old blog posts almost as good as new instead!
You may find affiliate links in this blog post, which means I will earn commission if you click & buy — at no cost to you. Thank you so much for your support. Find more information in my disclaimer.
WHY SHOULD YOU UPDATE OLD BLOG POSTS?
Gosh, where do you want me to start?
If you’ve blogged at least once a week for two or three years, you’re going to have somewhere in the region of 100 to 150 posts. How many of those do you still actively promote on social media or to new followers and readers? Probably the last 50 or so? If that?
Let me use my vaping blog as an example. There are 400 published posts — device and eliquid reviews, troubleshooting guides, news and information, etc. At least HALF of those haven’t seen a social media promotional post in a year or more. I made a note of some of the reasons why:
- The prices are wrong in the review.
- I didn’t like the images. Too dark.
- I noticed at least 4 typos. What was wrong with me that day??
- I’ve got affiliate links available for that store now. I should change the links from non-affiliate to affiliate before I share it.
- My opinion of the product has changed since the review was published. It doesn’t feel right to share something as “good” when it’s now broken.
- Serious formatting issues. The post looks awful.
And that’s just the first few reasons in a list that is probably 70 or more points long. I’ve changed a lot since I first started vape blogging. So has my style of writing, reviewing, product photography, and more. It’s safe to say I HATED pretty much every single one of my early reviews and posts.
An experiment …
I decided to pick four blog posts that were at least two years old and hadn’t gotten good traffic since they were published. I then went through and implemented every single step on this list, waited three or four weeks, and then checked my stats to see if my changes had made any difference.
Here’s what I noticed —
- One of the blog posts shot up from the fifth or sixth page of Google results for the targeted keyword to the second page.
- That same blog post received no more than 10 views in the last SIX months before my changes but has received 75 views in the four weeks since it was updated … without any social media promotion at all. I simply made it one of the posts on my home page slider and linked to it from other, popular posts.
- I also bagged myself two affiliate sales from the links in that post, worth £20 in total.
And that’s just from ONE of the four blog posts I updated > a couple of hours updating it to earn a bunch of extra views in a month and make £20.
HOW TO MAKE OLD BLOG POSTS ALMOST AS GOOD AS NEW
Updating older blog posts gives you a way to throw some attention their way. It also helps to increase overall reader numbers, lower bounce rate, make you an authority in your niche, and perhaps even earn you some money. I can’t think of any disadvantages to all of that … can you?
1 – Update the images.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, there’s a pretty good chance that your skills will have improved — photography, writing style, knowledge of web design or coding, etc. Make use of your better photography skills and update the images in old posts, swapping “ugly” old ones for nice, new, fresh ones.
There are many benefits to doing this —
- You can SEO your new blog images to boost your ranking in search engine results.
- Your newer images/image styles are probably loads better than your original offerings, particularly with really old blog posts.
- You can make sure that everything matches if you’ve changed theme or colour scheme since those older blogs were first published.
You don’t need to take your own images. There are plenty of free sources of stock imagery, but there are also some pretty decent paid-for stock photo sites, Ivory Mix being just one of them. Using free stock sites might mean that someone else is using exactly the same image on another blog or site.
If you are happy with the images you used, take a second to make sure they’re all SEO’d up. You can find more information about that here > SEO Your Blog Images With This One Simple Step.
Image source: StockSnap | Pixabay
2 – Check the formatting.
And I’m not just talking about on your laptop. You should always check to see how your posts look on a mobile device because that’s how most people use the internet these days. If your blog isn’t mobile optimised, you’re going to lose readers.
I like my posts to be justified, but that’s just a personal thing. If I didn’t justify them, I’d probably centralise them. How do you format your text? And are all of your posts the same?
I like to make sure that I’ve included headings and subheadings, not just to be able to add SEO keywords in there, but also to make the Yoast plugin happy. I want all green boxes on my readability evaluation, and you don’t get those by having super-long paragraphs.
Yoast recommends adding a heading or subheading every 300 words or so. I personally think blog posts are easier to read when they’re broken down in that way. A lot of people “skim-read”, scanning their eyes over the screen and looking for the important bits. Those headings and subheadings help to break things down and enable the skim-reader to find whatever it is they’re looking for.
3 – Search engine optimise.
I’ve mentioned SEO a few times already, but boosting search engine optimisation in your older posts is absolutely a great idea.
Updating older posts gives you the perfect excuse and opportunity to ensure your blog ranks higher in search engine results, and you’ll notice the difference in traffic pretty quickly. I’ve created a complete guide to blog SEO, with easy-to-follow instructions that take you step by step.
Find all of my guides right here.
I personally recommend you start here > How to Use Keywords in a Blog Post for SEO – 9 Steps.
If you do just ONE thing to boost SEO on your blog after reading this, make it downloading the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. It’s amazing, gives you a green-orange-red checklist at the end of each post so you know exactly what needs to be worked on and is probably the most useful FREE plugin I’ve ever used.
It also checks readability for you! The easier your content is to read (in terms of style and formatting), the more people are going to want to read it!
✅ ✅ ✅
4 – Update the information.
Spend just a few moments doing some research to update your blog post and you may just find yourself with a super-awesome compounding blog post. This is one that increases with popularity as it ages, rather than decreases. Unfortunately, the latter is the norm for most bloggers and blog posts.
💄 If you’re reviewing a beauty product, do some research into the background of that product or the brand that creates it. Offer your reader more information than the average review, making it the only place a consumer will go in order to work out if they should buy it for themselves. Chuck a link at the end and you’ve got a recipe for success. The reader feels as though they’ve got all the information they need, are in no doubt whether or not it will work for them, and will either click on the link and make a sale … or they won’t.
👗 Are you a fashion blogger? Why not grab an older blog post, remove all the broken links to items that are no longer being stocked by the shop you talk about, and add new ones that link to similar items? This keeps your post relevant, takes away bad broken links, and might even make you a few extra affiliate sales, especially if you promote the crap out of it once you’ve updated it.
Adding more content to an old post adds more information that’ll be useful to a reader. It also adds length. Posts with at least 1,000 words tend to be the most popular. They’re also more likely to become compounding posts.
Helpful blog post: How to Make a Blog Post Longer
5 – Add a call-to-action.
A call-to-action is what you want the reader to do at the end of the blog post. If they’ve made their way to the end of the post, it’s safe to say that they’re interested in what you’ve got to offer. Why not offer them a bit more?
If your blog posts don’t have a call-to-action already, add one.
If your blog posts DO have a call-to-action and they’re not working, change them for different ones. There’s very little point in keeping something there that doesn’t work.
Your call-to-action could be anything you want it to be — whatever you want the reader to do once they’re done reading your super-awesome post. Maybe sign up to your email newsletter? How about following you on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook? Perhaps they might be interested in what’s going on, on your Youtube channel?
If none of those are relevant or to your taste, you could always direct readers to another post on your blog. This will keep your bounce rate down and view counts up.
Just make sure you ask them to do SOMETHING.
They’ll only go and find someone else’s blog to read otherwise.
6 – Make sure you’ve added internal links.
Not just at the end of your posts; throughout the blog post too.
I like to add “Helpful blog posts” here and there, and I occasionally add a “Further resources + reading” section at the bottom of them too. Link from older blog posts to your newer ones, and from your newer ones back to your older ones. Everything should interlink together, making it easier for search engines to crawl your blog. It also makes it easier for readers to find more content that they’re interested in.
In short, get them on your blog and then stop them from leaving by putting more amazing stuff right in their path.
It actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it, right?
Helpful blog post: The Easy-Peasy Guide to Using Internal Links in a Blog Post For SEO
7 – Throw in an external link or two.
I know what you’re thinking: why would you want to direct someone AWAY from your blog using an external link?
The answer is simple.
Linking to other websites and blogs that have a higher DA [domain authority] than you could benefit your blog’s DA and SEO. It also makes you look helpful to a reader. You’re pointing them in the direction of all the information they need to know even when you don’t have it.
“I don’t actually know the answer to that question, but let me just find out for you so that I don’t give you the wrong information.”
It’s a bit like that.
Just make sure all of your external links open up in a new tab so a reader doesn’t lose their place on your page.
8 – Add an email newsletter signup.
Regardless of which call-to-action you’ve added at the end of your post, make sure there’s a link to subscribe to your email newsletter somewhere on your post. There’s a reason that everyone rants and raves about them. They’re great for increasing traffic, affiliate sales, followers, and more.
9 – Add affiliate links or advertisements.
Most bloggers aren’t all that focused on making money when they first start out with their blog, although that’s usually the aim of the game at the end. It’s hard to get readers when you have a brand new blog, especially in this current, saturated industry. There’s plenty of room for all of us, though. It’s great to have so many diverse, wonderful, and witty blogs to read.
If you want to pay a little more attention to making money from your posts, it might be worth adding affiliate links or advertisements to them. There are countless ad and affiliate websites and companies to work with and choose from. Not all ads need to look … well, like an ad.
An affiliate link 👇🏻
10 — Add the appropriate disclosures and honesty statements.
If you’re including affiliate links, ensure you’re adding the appropriate disclosures and statements. You MUST tell your audience that you’re earning commission as a result of them buying something through that link.
You must also tell your readers when you have been gifted an item or service in exchange for coverage on your blog or social media pages. Or if you have been paid to write the post — a “sponsored post”.
It’s not worth getting yourself in trouble for not disclosing any relationships you have with the company that paid you or gifted you something. Readers will trust you more for being honest. They know that you’ve gotta pay for your blog somehow, and more people than you think are happy to support their favourite bloggers and use their aff links or codes.
Honesty IS the best policy.
Helpful blog post: New guidance launched for social influencers | ASA
11 – Read it out loud …
… and time how long it takes. This is something I actually mentioned in How to Get People to Stay on Your Blog For Longer, but telling your readers how long a post is before they start reading is actually a great idea. They can save or share it to read later on if don’t have time to read the entire thing.
Reading the post out loud will also make it easier for you to spot typos and errors, and enables you to get a feel for how it will come across to a reader.
While you’re doing this, I recommend checking links within the post to ensure that none of them are broken.
12 – Create new Pinterest pins.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Pinterest is AMAZING for blog traffic, but you need to capture a potential new reader’s attention by creating pins that are eye-catching, bright, and tell the reader what they need to know. (A really good description with hashtags and keywords help too!)
Create a few new pins for your updated blog post, and share those pins out to all of the boards they are relevant to across the coming weeks and months. Use Tailwind Tribes to give them an extra boost, and don’t forget about any group boards you’re a member of.
You might also want to consider creating infographics for your post, but that’s something I’ll be talking about soon. You should totally keep your eyes peeled for that!
13 – Should you rework the title?
Should you? It’s totally down to you, but Yoast will soon tell you that SEO’ing your blog post is easier when you use your keywords or phrases in the title.
And if you’re changing the title, you may need to look at changing the link itself too. Bear in mind that all places that have the old link (including Pinterest pins and other linked blog posts) will no longer work.
ONCE YOU’RE DONE UPDATING OLDER BLOG POSTS …
I know this sounds like a lot of work, but once you’ve gone through this process a couple of times, it’ll all become like second nature to you. In turn, that’ll make the process quicker. When I first started updating older blog posts on best-ecig.co.uk, each post was taking me virtually the entire day to update. Now, I’ve got a little system going. I can completely refresh a post in just a couple of hours now. This includes taking and editing new photos, creating Pinterest pins, and scheduling social media posts.
Updating your blog posts in this way means that you have what is virtually a brand new piece of content to share with your readers. You can promote it in the same way that you would promote a brand new blog post — on Instagram, with new Pinterest pins, Tweets, Facebook posts, etc. You’ll be directing traffic to a blog post that might not have seen a lot of readers in a while, and all of your extra SEO efforts might even benefit your blog stats overall, boosting you higher up in search engine results.
The update process is the best thing you can do for your blog when you’re not actually working on your blog … And the content is already there, like a basic framework to build on, so it’s not like you need to do all of the work often involved with brand new posts.
TIME-SAVING TIPS N’ TRICKS
If you want to make your life even further still, here are a few more tricks that I use to save time when promoting my newly-updated posts —
1 – Copy five or ten (depending on post length) little quotes/snippets from the post and paste into a word document.
Use those as your basis for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram promotional posts and captions. Add the link, relevant hashtags, and then schedule them using your tool of preference.
🌳 HERE is an example of how I used a snippet from my blog as an Instagram caption.
🌳 I used the same process for the “sneak peek” in the caption of THIS post too.
Social media promotion for that updated post … done ✅
2 – Create different combinations of your post’s title to use as Pinterest captions, enabling you to hit different keywords in each one.
Examples: How to Update Old Blog Posts • Refresh Old Blog Content • 13 Ways to Recycle Your Old Blog Posts • 13 Ways to Boost Traffic to Your Blog With Old Posts
You can also use those same title combos as short n’ sweet Twitter captions.
3 – Add the newly-updated post link to your most popular, relevant posts — new and old.
It saves you having to do it later. It might also be worth saving that newly-updated link in a spreadsheet somewhere, making it easier for you to remember to link to it in newer, relevant content you create.
4 – Can you create a roundup piece of content with your newly-updated post?
Roundup pieces are GREAT for generating traffic to old and unloved posts, and you can read all about them right HERE.
And there you have them — all the simple hacks that you can use to make older blog posts almost as good as new. Have you learned anything new? I’d love for you to come back and let me know if you used this guide. Did you notice any extra traffic? Has it compelled you to update a few more posts?
Thanks so much for reading, I hope you enjoy the rest of your day!