February 9, 2019

Revising Old Blog Posts Results in New Traffic

Writer

Maybe this will be somewhat inspiring for the few atheist bloggers among you. I've written about how I have been enjoying improving old posts, so I figured I'd share a recent example of why I think this can be helpful and is something you might want to consider. I found a post I had written back in 2006 that had received an unimpressive total of 46 views during its long life. That is to say, according to the built in stats provided by Blogger (which I realize are not nearly as accurate as those available through Google Analytics), this particular post had been viewed only 46 times since 2006. I re-wrote and re-posted it. In roughly 4 hours time, it received another 87 views. I realize that is hardly impressive, but the point is that revising this old post led to it receiving more views in 4 hours than it had in the last 13 years.

When I looked at the original post, it was clear why had not generated more views in its day. It was poorly written. It contained typos and broken links, and it had no picture or description meta tag. Worse still, there was a portion that didn't make sense. It wasn't clear what I was trying to say. Despite all that, I thought there was something worth salvaging. I fixed all the errors, added a couple new paragraphs, made some minor updates to increase the contemporary relevance, and re-wrote the portion that didn't make any sense.

By re-posting it, I am able to get the content in front of people who weren't around in 2006. By adding a picture and an appropriate description meta tag, I am able to make it more appealing to search engines. And by re-writing the worst parts, I am able to improve the experience of anyone who might have had the misfortune to find it. Even though I won't pretend it is a great post now, I know it is better than it was.

I have been reviving many old posts lately just like I said I wanted to do in my New Year's resolution. What I have described here about the new versions receiving more traffic in just a few hours than they have in years has been typical. This should not be a surprise. I didn't know what I was doing in the early days, and I made all sorts of mistakes that made it less likely that anybody would see what I was writing. But even if I had been doing everything well, I suspect I'd be in a similar situation just because of the way search engines work and the simple fact that no new blog is going to have more than a handful of readers.

If you are a blogger, it might be worth going back to take a look at the posts you wrote during the first few months (or years) of your blog. If you had a very small audience then, your posts probably didn't receive very many views. This would have been true even if they had been fantastic posts. And if you were as clueless as I was about search engines and blogging in general, chances are good that many your early posts haven't fared well over the years in terms of continuing to generate traffic. You might be surprised by how well some of them would do today after some revision.