Effective Blog Post Spring Cleaning

This article was inspired by: SPI 200: How Deleting a Third of Your Content Can Triple Your Traffic—How to Do a Content Audit with Todd Tresidder from smartpassiveincome.com

Spring cleaning for a blog is essential because you’ll find, over time as you create more content, the old content you have is more of a hindrance than a help.

Why is That and How Will Effective Blog Post Spring Cleaning Help Me?

If you started out as a pretty green blogger you won’t have understood the best ways to present your work, or the best ways to keep a person on the page. Worse still, you might have drifted off topic or committed the sin of producing unhelpful work along the way.

Even if you didn’t start as a green recruit to the world of blogging, styles of presentation still change over time as a viewer’s tastes do.

Blogging is a journey. You flex your muscles as a blogger the more you write. The more you write, the better you get at presenting your information in the best way possible. The more you practice, the more you understand about how to push someone’s buttons.

But What Happens to All That Stuff You Wrote Years Ago?

Effective Blog Post Spring Cleaning

  • 80% Waste

Most of your time spent writing ends up as waste. That’s not to say that it didn’t do something for a period but ultimately this cat lost its claws. Some topics become more redundant than others over that time.

  • 15% Drives some form of weak traffic

Some of your writing is still generating traffic because it is still relevant and provides the audience with what they want. It’s days will eventually be numbered but for now it is still basking in reading glory doing what it needs to for you.

  • 5% Could be damaging your rank

A small percentage but a damaging one for your blog. Some of what you may have written actually may damage your ranking because it is not on topic, has dodgy comments or triggers some alarms to your audience.

Observing The 33% Reduction Rule to Triple Your Traffic!

It sounds crazy. How does deleting posts help? Surely by keeping posts I stand more chance of raking in more traffic?

Actually no.

If you inhabit the dream world that everything you make is epic then you will miss the important lesson that the audience decides what is epic. Google and the other search engines gave the audience the tool to decide what provides them the best solution. You’ve been given the tools to tell you what has done best over time.

Where to Start The Cull?

Let’s face it, killing your darlings (as a number of notary authors put it) is going to be hard. But if you think about it as pruning a bush of all of the dead leaves, in order to save the bush from death, this will stand you in a better stead.

Easy Wins

The posts you know you got wrong. Every blogger has written something dire at some point. This is your opportunity to axe those bad ideas.

My first chop with the axe was entitled “Blogging and Changing Species”. It was a facepalm of a post but for some reason I left it up far longer than I should have. It served no useful traffic purpose, it just became clutter.

Time Sensitive Posts. If the time has passed on issues that have long been resolved, eradicated or forgotten and the post generates no beneficial entry, it is time to go.

Mishap experiments. Occasionally as a blogger you have to think outside of the box but you will find that some experiments tank. It’s okay to realise this because the more mistakes you make the more likely you are to latch on to winning ideas and stay away from bad ones.

Ultra short posts.  Tiny posts are easy to cull. You didn’t spend long on them so you didn’t sweat over them.

Hard Choices

You might have some posts with comments. The post no longer performs but it might be difficult to part with those hard-earned comments. Be brutal.

You can become sentimental with the following:-

  • Good bursts of traffic. Those articles that once had high levels of viewing, dwarfing all your other content. In the last couple of months, maybe six, nothing is happening. An easy choice. Just remember and record how you got those numbers so you can replicate this for the future.
  • Large comment numbers. Ranking algorithms in the past ranked posts higher when they had a big engagement rate of comments but this is no longer the prime rule. If all of the comments are old, what use is it to new visitors?
  • Big Shares. For the same reason as above, it could have been greatly useful in the past but over time, the effectiveness of that interlinking diminishes. One big hit is only as good as the next.

Long Posts are hard to part with. I can vouch for that. You may have spent 4-5 times the amount of time researching, collating and presenting the big posts. You will have found that they have performed much better long-term than your other articles. They are more likely to have comments and more likely to perform better in the search engine results even if you didn’t optimise them well. With such candidates you can perform a three-point check.

  1. Does it serve its original purpose?
  2. Does it serve my niche?
  3. Are people still sharing and commenting?

Ultra Long Posts are even harder to part with. You may have spent even longer than a long post on these. They may be a long read for any visitor. For reasons above the have seen good time. You should once again apply the three-point check.

  1. Does it serve its original purpose?
  2. Does it serve my niche?
  3. Are people still sharing and commenting?

Rather than straight deleting this piece, consider re-posting it with updated information. If it doesn’t stand for your niche however, archive this work and consider whether you can pimp this out to another blog who would appreciate this kind of content.

Thinking About the Base Level

The Base Line

An important concept to consider is that as you practice more of your skill, become better at it, your base level rises.

What is more important to note is that, despite your heroic and exceptional pieces of work, most of the time you’ll be operating to a base level.

That base level becomes better over time. As an example, this site started out with less than 1 view per day and at time of writing Alexa displays it with a more respectable 3 views per day.

In order to achieve improved figures you need to work on the every day rather than the exceptional.

If you focus on the brilliant basics, the exception becomes the norm.

Practical Example of the Spring Clean

It’s not enough just to profess how these improvements can help unless BlogPrefect.com actually commits to the process. So, with my tumbling views, a depressed traffic point on Alexa.com and a generally saggy bottom line, I decided that I was going to try out a holistic cleanse. My Site has amassed 186 posts over nearly 3 years of operation starting in mid June 2013. In order to improve matters I have decided to embrace the change.

Of the 186 posts, posted between 14th July 2013 and 1st March 2016 I aim to do the following:

  • Delete 62 of the worst and least effective
  • Improve 62 of the average stock
  • Laser focus and re-market 62 of the best performing

Of all remaining posts:

  • Improve the SEO
  • Improve the layout and interlinking
  • Improve the Calls to Action
  • Ensure there is a common theme
  • Ensure that all of the links used to external sites are still valid and provide value to the audience

For Images Within Remaining Posts:

  • Decide on a common, consistent watermark
  • Ensure the image is optimised for SEO
  • Ensure the image is referenced properly to source and that it can be used without issue

For Categories

  • Reduce the overall number to blogging related rather than the lesson based categories I have been using
  • Reduce the number to 3 categories

For Tags

  • Reduce the number to a manageable number from the current 52

For Pages

  • Eliminate or redesign poor performing pages
  • Add/Remove links
  • Ensure data is up to date

How Can I Determine What to Change?

Some changes can be easily flagged by your gut feel. You will know that there are some posts you wrote that just didn’t do what they needed or didn’t reach the right people. You will know that there are some posts that have had their time in the sun and need to move over.

If you feel strongly that what you wrote could breathe again now that you have more visitors, why not re-write it, delete the old version and replace it with the new?

For everything else you can rely on Analytical information. You should be able to spot winners, those items that crop up time and time again. You should also be able to spot what isn’t performing. You should already have a good idea of what you don’t return to update.

Your Checklist

I have developed a .pdf checklist for you to undertake your spring clean. If you can think of a better method then by all means develop your own checklist. I have provided one here for you to be able to use that covers most of the areas you can take a look at. There is scope for more.

Download Here Blog Post Spring Clean Checklist

If you found this resource useful please share this. I’d like to hear what success you’ve had from your spring clean!