Try this 5-Step Plan to Spring Clean Your Old Blog Posts to Renewed Success

— April 29, 2019

Spring is that time of year when everything is fresh and new and clean. Except your blog. It hasn’t changed. Or has it?

This is the perfect time to do a spring cleaning, to spruce it up and give it a boost in search visibility, traffic, engagement and conversions.

After years of posting, you probably have hundreds of blog posts. Over time, you have changed your approach.

Over time, search engines have changed how they approach your content.

Over time, Internet users have changed how they read and scan and navigate content on the Internet.

You probably can’t update all your blog posts. But there are likely some that are still getting you traffic. So pick the top 10 most useful “pillar” posts, or the top 25 or the top 100 if you are painfully ambitious, and let’s go.

Try this 5-Step Plan to Spring Clean Your Old Blog Posts to Renewed Success

Update the blog post title

Chances are, you have a short, to-the-point title. But that doesn’t say as much as it could. A good title these days summarizes the story. That requires at least a few more words.

Look at how CNN or CBC or just go to Google News and see how long are the headlines of the top stories over the course of a few days.

The good news is that longer titles also get shared more. Backlinko and BuzzSumo recently looked at 912 million blog posts, and found that long headlines out-shared short headlines on social media by 76.7%.

That’s a big Wow! In fact, I’ve being doing this bit of spring cleaning on my blog this past month after reading the study results.

When reviewing your titles, as yourself these two questions:

  1. What else could I add to the title to make clear what is in this post?
  2. What additional words would make this title perform better in search engine results?

Before you go rushing out, allow me one word of warning. Folks on the Internet fall in love with the “ideal number of words” or the “ideal number of characters” for almost everything. That doesn’t mean that the “ideal” number is ideal for every blog post.

For instance, when I tell you that the study found the ideal length for a blog post title to be 14-17 words, that doesn’t mean all your titles should be that long.

One of my most popular posts is titled ” Writers, authors, bloggers – beware these health risks”. I tried tweaking it to include the words “problem”, “effect”, “prevention”…and others. In the end, I realized that, even with just seven words, this is the perfect title. We can’t be slaves to stats.

Add Twitter Cards

With Twitter Cards, your blog post appears more professional in people’s tweetstream. The image, title and summary are all organized to look just like from major media outlets. For example:

Try this 5-Step Plan to Spring Clean Your Old Blog Posts to Renewed Success

In WordPress, I use JM Twitter Cards. It makes life easier. Best of all, it sets the Twitter cards up site-wide. I might want to tweak the content on each page, but the plugin will update even your most unpopular blog post that you will never get around to spring-cleaning.

Upgrade your images

Once upon a time, images would make a page look less cluttered by breaking up the text. How quaint.

These days, images are a vital part of the communications process. Your images should convey information.

They should stop people who are scanning down past your content, draw them back in and re-engage them.

The images should leave a message for the people who scan past the text, but take a moment to view the images.

They should stand alone, so that when they appear on social media, people will share them and/or click through to the article.

It’s not that hard to add text to interesting stock photography. That text could do one of three things:

  • summarize the post (that 14-17-word title)
  • summarize the key points in the post, like a list
  • offer a meaningful quote from the post that draws people in

Here are examples of each from previous posts here on Busines2Community:

Try this 5-Step Plan to Spring Clean Your Old Blog Posts to Renewed Success

Try this 5-Step Plan to Spring Clean Your Old Blog Posts to Renewed Success

Try this 5-Step Plan to Spring Clean Your Old Blog Posts to Renewed Success

Lengthen your posts

According to the Backlinko/BuzzSujmo study, long-form content attracts 77.2% more links than short content. And long-form content gets more social shares, although over 2,000 words, it starts to plateau. This is consistent with a similar 2015 study that showed the optimal length is about 1,600 words.

Do you have some really good blog posts that are under 1,000 words? Maybe it’s time to revisit them and see if there is a whole lot of additional detail you could add.

Same warning with the text as with the title. Sometimes, 500 words is the right amount to cover a topic. Never, ever add a whole bunch of words just to make the content longer.

The reason long-form content outperforms shorter posts is because it is usually more complete, and therefore more useful. Make it longer only by making it more useful.

Edit your posts for clarity

You might write in plain, simple English that’s easy to understand. Or you might write like so many people do: “business writing”.

To find out, how easy your text is to understand, measure it for readability with this tool.

Try this 5-Step Plan to Spring Clean Your Old Blog Posts to Renewed Success

If your readability score is over grade eight, you should simplify it.

  • Use shorter words where you can.
  • Break up long sentences (one idea per sentence).
  • Divide long paragraphs.
  • Use verbs for actions (measure, don’t “take a measurement”, for instance)
  • Be concise, and get to the point.

Spring cleaning has its rewards

If your top ten blog posts from the past all get spruced up, you will find over time that the search engines notice.

You will find over time that traffic grows.

You will find over time that social engagement grows.

And you will find over time that more people fill in your form or pick up the phone or do whatever your call to action is.

Spring is in the air. Don’t waste this opportunity to give your pillar blog posts a fresh makeover.

Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community

Author: David Leonhardt

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