UPDATE: Giveaway closed. And the winner is . . . Ash of Smash Attack! Congratulations to her and to everyone for participating in Bloggiesta and making your awesome blogs even better.
As you post more and more on your blog, you have more and more old content that rarely sees the light of day. Blogs are designed to feature the most current content by showing everything in reverse chronological order. So, yes, you may have a few posts that get decent search engine traffic, but most of your old content languishes without being seen. And, let’s face it, there is some genius stuff in there!
Don’t let your hard work go to waste! Highlighting old content will likely increase your traffic and will most certainly bring to light some excellent stuff. I encourage you to review this list and carefully consider implementing a few of them. Even if your blog is shiny new, these techniques are good habits for you to acquire as you amass your content.
This is a simple way to make sure readers are seeing older but related content. Have you reviewed several books in a series? Make sure links to the other reviews are included on each review. Do you have a feature unique to your blog? Make it easy to access older posts in the feature. Do you have several discussion or other posts that relate to or build on each other? Inter-link them!
Here’s an example of cross-linking on my blog from a Steve Kluger week I put together back in early 2010.
Like cross-linking, promoting popular posts is a simple way to highlight older content. There are any number of ways to go about selecting the posts to be featured. There are plenty of plugins and widgets that will automatically select posts for you based on certain criteria. Or, you can handpick the posts based on trends in your traffic and your favorite work. This is probably the best way to ensure that the selected posts are the ones you want to feature.
I recently started experimenting with this concept here at The Bluestocking Society. You’ll see my “popular reading” section of handpicked posts at the top of my sidebar.
Including links to related content will help readers find the additional content that will most likely appeal to them. Again, there are plenty of plugins and widgets and theme features that will do this for you. But it can be particularly effective if you hand-pick the related posts. You’ll likely know your audience better than a computer algorithm, and hand-selecting content for key posts will better ensure that the reader finds her way to your best applicable content.
I use both methods. I use a WordPress plugin called YARPP (Yet Another Related Posts Plugin) to automatically generate related content for every post I publish. And then for certain posts, I’ll do a personalized “further reading” section. Here is an example of a further reading section I put together on my site’s most popular post, my review of Midnight Sun.
These types of posts are fun to do and fun to read and can be done in a variety of ways. Here are some ideas:
The possibilities on this are endless. And these posts could very well be the best way to showcase the best of your oldest content.
I am putting together a “best of book club” post with my favorite book club reads to bring together old content in a new way. I also do the traditional “best of the year” posts each December. Here is my 2010 Top 10 List.
Take an older post and update it in some way. Once you update a post, make sure to publicize the update or repost it. (And then make sure that you note in some way that the post is updated and cross-link to the older post!) Here are some ideas to get you brainstorming:
Again, the possibilities are endless.
This technique is easy and fast to implement. And it can be particularly effective if you have an older post that relates to a current topic of interest.
Though you can easily perform this task by hand, there is a cool plugin for WordPress called, aptly enough, Tweet Old Posts. This plugin will mine your older content (based on criteria you select) and post links to your Twitter account automatically.
I recently promoted an old 2010 post from a feature of mine called Readers Uncovered on Twitter:
— Jessica (@thebluestocking) September 19, 2012
As you go about promoting your older content, make sure you give those posts a once-over and a face lift, if necessary. Correct any errors. Make sure links and graphics are working. If you’re taking the trouble to highlight it, make sure it’s worth highlighting. Now, go forth and revitalize!
I’m giving away an ebook of 31 Days To Finding Your Blogging Mojo, by Brian Allain to one lucky Bloggiesta participant. To enter, simply apply one of the above techniques on your blog. Then come back here and post a link to the technique (or, in the case of future posts, describe your application of the technique) in the comments. I’ll announce a winner on Sunday evening.
Oh, and feel free to contact me or comment here with any questions you may have. I’ll do my best to help!