At the time of writing this article, I have published almost five-hundred posts on this blog.
Holy mackerel. That’s a lot.
Chances are you probably haven’t read most of them or forgot they even exist. It’s common to see bloggers promoting their daily posts on social media sites, but what happens to all that other awesomeness that’s shoved inside our frenemy, The Archives? Well, unless you’re doing the things I’m sharing in today’s post, probably nothing. Today I have 13 tips (And a free, printable checklist! Yay!) to help you drive traffic to your old blog posts so all that stuff you wrote last year actually works FOR your blog instead of just weighing it done.
By the way! I’ve added a new, updated version of this post, called 9 Ways to Increase Blog Traffic by Updating Old Blog Posts. Between that post and this one, your traffic should explode once you’ve implemented all of our tips!
Pump up that SEO.
Add keywords to your old posts. Rework the titles so they’re click-worthy and keyword-friendly. Add tags (with keywords…notice a trend here?). Create a meta description if you haven’t already (or revise that old one you wrote when you had no idea what you were doing two years ago!). Having search engine optimized posts is a deal-breaker for getting traffic sent to your archives. (You can read about my favorite SEO plugin for WordPress here).
Create a roundup.
This is totally on my to-do list. Do you find yourself writing about similar topics every week? Maybe you’ve shared tips about the same genre on multiple occasions. Create a roundup! This way, you can share a bunch of your old posts in one handy spot for your readers. A Beautiful Mess does a great job of this — here’s an example of a roundup they did with 25 fresh squeezed cocktails. All of the cocktails in the roundup link back to their old recipes AND it’s convenient for their readers who might be looking for the perfect cocktail. Genius!
Make images more Pinterest-friendly.
In case you haven’t noticed, Pinterest likes things that are vertical. Go through your old posts that might be Pinterest-worthy (recipes, beauty tutorials, fashion, etc) and see if you can add some longer photos. While you’re at, check to see if your old photos match the branding of your blog. Do the fonts you used on top of photos match your blog’s current design and aesthetic? What about the colors? Replace images that look super out of place to create a more cohesive look (so that people who pop over to your old posts don’t immediately leave because it looks like a hot mess!).
Create a second post that riffs off the first and link back.
That tutorial you wrote in 2009 about how to knit a sweater for your pet frog? Well, little froggy is looking a little cold over there and needs a matching hat for the winter. (10 points to anyone who actually has a tutorial on knitting a sweater for their pet frog). But in all seriousness, think of ways you can elaborate on old posts or turn them into a series. Then link your new posts back to your old ones to keep readers engaging with all those frog sweater tutorials that are just begging for some lovin’.
Use a plugin like Linkwithin.
You know, those handy plugins you often see below posts with images of old content? Yeah, get them.
I recently discovered AddThis, and while I haven’t implemented it in my own site just yet, I’ve seen some big sites use their features. AddThis is essentially a plugin that allows you to display content from your archives in engaging and interesting ways.
Check out Tweetily.
Tweetily is another plugin I recommend. Have you seen bloggers promote their old posts on Twitter, often followed by “from the archives”? Well, they do that automatically, and often with Tweetily. Tweetily will send out tweets about your old content every few hours. It’s automatic, so you don’t even have to lift a finger! Because of Tweetily, my followers will re-tweet or respond to my old content every single day. It’s great!
Use “p.s.” at the end of posts.
This handy tip comes courtesy of my friend, Sarah, but I’ve also noticed it on rockin’ blogs like Cup of Jo. The gist is that at the end of your posts, just include a “p.s.” followed by one or two of your related articles that readers might want to check out next. This is essentially the same as using a plugin like Nrelate or Linkwithin, but the reason it’s so successful is that it feels more like a personal recommendation, which people are more apt to follow.
Deep link that shiz.
Deep linking is the practice of linking to old posts in your archives from other posts. Simple. So, if you’re writing about something and know that you have a similar article in your archives, you can link to it. You’ll notice that in this post, I’ve linked to an older post I wrote about my favorite plugins (by golly, I did it again!). That’s because I already wrote a post about plugins, which I think might be useful for people reading about plugins in this article. Get it?
Schedule social media promotions of old posts.
This idea is similar to using Tweetily, but instead of allowing the Tweetily robots to share your old stuff, try scheduling posts so you can do it yourself! That way, you can personalize your tweets (and Facebook + Pinterest shares!) so they’re more click-worthy. Don’t have time to go through 500 posts and create tweets about all of them? Consider hiring a virtual assistant or social media manager for a one-time job so that they can create, say, three months worth of tweets directing readers to your old posts. A little investment can go a loooong way!
Link to old posts in guest posts on bigger blogs in your niche.
It’s no secret that a big part of Google’s SEO algorithm is that quality content is linked to from, wait for it….quality content. What does that mean? It means that if Forbes links to one of your blog posts, it will help your search engine rankings a lot more than if your mom links to you from her smaller, personal blog. It doesn’t mean your mom’s blog doesn’t kick arse, it just means that Google puts a little more weight on the opinion of popular sites. Also, that’s not to say that links from smaller blogs are unimportant…they can absolutely bring in more traffic and new readers. But if you want to get more traffic from search engines, try pitching bigger blogs with killer guest post ideas. Then, link to one of your older posts within your guest post.
Add a popular posts section in your sidebar.
The most popular post I’ve written is about different ways to use broccoli stems. I shit you not, my friends. I peaked at broccoli stems in my third month of blogging and everything after that was chump change. Anyways, I’d probably never put that in a “popular posts” section in my sidebar since it has little to do with my current content, but that doesn’t mean you can’t round up some of your old/popular/awesome posts and slap ’em into your sidebar. Better yet? Switch up those popular posts every week or two so that your readers are constantly exposed to fresh (old) content.
Familiarize YOURSELF with your archives.
Seriously, do YOU know what you wrote two years ago? If you can’t remember all that juicy deliciousness you authored, then how are you going to link to it or promote it? Go through your archives and get up close and personal with how much you freakin’ rock (or at least, how much you freakin’ rocked back in the day). 😉
Want to download this post as a free, printable list that you can reference every week to stay on top of your blogging game? I gotchu covered. Just click here to download the PDF or click the image above!