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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

How to Spring Clean Your Blog

Blogging is never constant and to improve your blog I recommend a yearly blog update. Things change both in the real world and the blogging world constantly and consistently. Something that you published last year or even last month may now be totally out of date and irrelevant.

In order to stay relevant and to ensure the best visibility on both search engines and social media your blog should be given a spring clean each year. Staying relevant on search engines is important as the big boys such as Google are constantly moving the goal posts with each core update that they do.

Every year I set aside a month or two to give my blog a spring clean and as a result improve my blogs SEO and grow my blog.

Update Old Blog Posts

Help! I want to keep my content relevant!

Your oldest blog posts have matured, they’ve been indexed many times by search engines and they are well established.

But if they aren’t kept updated then they will begin to lose ground to newer or content that is kept more up to date and updating old blog posts is great for SEO.

One of the codes included in your sitemap is when the post was last updated, search engines want to know this.

Always start with your most popular content and look at ways you can improve the content and build on the traffic you receive.

Use Google Analytics to find your most popular content. People are already interested in your post, they are interested in the subject so there is clearly an audience.

The first place to start is to re-read your content. You may discover overlooked spelling or grammar mistakes or you may decide to rephrase what you have previously written as terminology changes over time.

Over time, people change, trends change and the keywords people seatch for change. Places are renamed, people change their names through marriage and new buzz words enter the scene so you may need to update your keywords.

Check Google Trends for the terms and subjects that people are searching for on Google. This tool is great for keeping up to date with the constant changes in the online world.

Things to consider – Have there been new developments in this subject? Have I wrote similar posts that I can create internal links to?

Take inspiration from others in the field and by this I am not encouraging you to blindly copy other peoples work. But it is vital to read what others are writing on the same subject.

Through doing this I have on many occasions had the brain wave – no one has written about it from this perspective and I will do this. Reading others content will help you to find the gap in the market.

Consider whether you want to re-purpose your poor performing content. Find your poorly performing pages via Google Analytics and make the decision, will it stay or will it go?

If the content is staying, use the same approach as to your best performing content. Research trends, check spelling and grammar and research competitors content.

Consider if you can create back links from your most popular content to your less popular and heavily promote these posts via social media.

The most important step in revitalising old content is to update your sitemap and request for the content to be re-indexed via Webmaster tools.

Delete Poor Performing Posts

Sometimes you just need to scrap poor performing posts if you don’t want to recycle the content. These poor performing posts can be found using Google Analytics.

If you feel a post needs to go then don’t be afraid to delete it but make sure you redirect back to your home page. Another option is to create a custom 404 page that helps users to find your content.

If you are like me and have millions of blog post ideas then you will have many draft posts saved! If you have lost interest in the subject and decided to no longer publish on the subject then delete your draft posts.

Work on Pinterest

For many of us Pinterest can be a great source if not the best source of traffic for blogs, especially if you are a newbie or in an supersaturated niche. Don’t be afraid to scrap your poorly performing pins on Pinterest.

I have a pin clear out every few months. Some pins I delete entirely and some I will repin and begin the cycle again. If the pin hasn’t taken off the first time it may pick up a second win and become a viral pin the second time around.

Sometimes a pin board may become a bit stale. Pinterest prefers new content and you can sort of fool it into believing your boards are new by creating a new one. I have had great success when a board has gone a little stale with creating a new board and moving the old pins across.

Create new pins for each blog post for the new Pinterest algorithm in 2020. Pinterest is now prioritising new pins so create a bunch of new designs for each blog post and post them sporadically.

Check your group boards and if you aren’t getting much engagement then leave them. With the new algorithms they recommend sharing to less than 10 boards.

Check your Comments

I spring clean the comments section on a yearly basis. Sometimes the blogs no longer exist so it is important to check for broken links.

I encourage that you don’t accept comments that link to a specific post, these are more likely to become broken links as bloggers are more likely to change a single URL rather than to change domain.

Sometimes I realise that I am too eager to gain comments on posts and realise later that the comments don’t add anything to the conversation and I delete these too.

Give your Blog a new look

Sometimes a fresh new look is what your blog needs and sometimes the layout just needs a little bit of rearranging and minor changes.

Something as simple as changing the font can make a huge difference. There are 1000s of different fonts in different shapes and sizes available – try a few and see what works best for you.

You may also consider changing your widgets. Most themes come with a number of available widgets. Consider those you are using and those that could be useful to engage readers.

Popular widgets are those for sharing social media content, email subscription and both popular and new blog posts. Add those you feel would engage readers but avoid a cluttered sidebar.

Update Your Plugins

I’m not going to name names but recently I came across a blogger who has never updated her plugins and wondered why her site had come under attack. I cannot recommend enough that you need to update your plugins on a weekly basis.

Hackers are constantly looking to insert malicious software, malware and worse into websites. A way they do this is by hijacking the code of outdated plugins and taking over websites.

It can be very costly and complicated to clean out a contaminated website of malicious code.

I would also recommend avoiding the use of plugins that have not been updated in a long time as these could be vulnerable to hacking.

Consider whether you are using all of your installed plug-ins, if they aren’t activated then delete unused plugins. You can always reinstall these at a later date if you decide to use them.

Mop Up Your Categories

If your URLs include your category, it is best not to consider this as you will pretty much break your site.

Whilst it won’t break your posts it won’t make much sense to have your URL and categories not consistent.

I have seen a number of blogs with categories that are so similar I couldn’t fathom why they had split them out. This can be very confusing to readers, it is always best to keep your categories as simple as possible.

Don’t Forget to Spring Clean Your Social Media too!

Over time people stop blogging, it is sad but it does happen. People also sell their social media accounts.

I recommend going through all of your social media accounts and if someone hasn’t posted in a number of months unfollow them. You can always follow again if they return to blogging.

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