As bloggers, most of us typically focus on creating new and interesting content that will appeal to subscribers and new visitors. While this is extremely important, we frequently overlook the value of our archives of existing posts. The archives can be an incredibly valuable source of content that can continually be used to help visitors and attract new subscribers. Especially for blogs that have been around for a while, taking a good hard look at the archives can be time well spent. Here are some tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your posts from the past.
1. Add Internal Links
Internal links on a blog are important for helping readers find relevant and related content, and they can also help for SEO purposes. As you continue to add new posts, you are most likely also creating more opportunities for internal links to other blog posts.
When you write a new post, do you look for opportunities to link to older posts from your archives? Most bloggers are pretty good at this, but what most of us overlook is the potential for adding internal links within the content of older posts to other posts that hadn’t yet been created at the time of publication. For example, if you go back to a post that was published 6 months ago, there are most likely opportunities within that post to link to other posts that have been published since that time.
While going back through the archives can be time consuming, there are a few ways to speed it up. First, as you create new posts, always take a moment to look for any opportunity to link back to your archives. If you take the time for this purpose, it won’t require so much effort down the road. Second, the search function on your blog can be a big help. For example, if I were looking for opportunities within older posts to link to this article, I could do a search for “internal links” or “blog archives” and then include a link on the posts that the search produces. Third, for WordPress users the aLinks plugin will automatically link certain words or phrases to a specific page. This is used by many bloggers for affiliate marketing, but it can also be used for internal linking purposes.
2. Include a “Popular Posts” section
Many blogs have a section in the sidebar that includes links to the most popular, successful, or useful articles from the blog’s archives. There are a number of different plugins that you can use for this purpose, or you can create the list manually, which I prefer. I like to have control over which posts are displayed and I can change them from time-to-time if I want.
However you decide to do it, featuring your best content is almost essential for bloggers. New visitors that arrive on your blog may want to know more about what type of content you provide, and if they are going to subscribe, you are going to have to earn there trust. What better way to do this than be highlighting several of your best posts.
The popular posts don’t necessarily have to be held in the sidebar. Some blogs use the header to display their best content more prominently. Whatever method you choose, be sure that it is somewhere that readers will be able to easily find.
3. Use a Related Posts Plugin
WordPress users have several different plugins to choose from that will display a brief list of related posts at the end of each post. While these links will be largely ignored by most visitors, those that really enjoy a particular article may depend on them to find other similar content.
One of the most popular plugins for this purpose is Related Entries. These lists of related posts are a great way to increase exposure for your archives, and they can also help your overall internal linking and SEO.
4. Include Links to Old Posts in Your Feed Footer
The footer of RSS feeds is an often-overlooked opportunity to promote posts from the archives. An increasing number of bloggers are using feed footers for advertising, but not that many use them for linking to older blog posts. Those subscribers who read all the way to the end of your feed may be likely to also appreciate other content from your archives.
While this may seem repetitive since your subscribers would have already received you older posts, remember that not all of your subscribers have been around for a long time. Many of them may have subscribed recently, and they may have no idea about the past content of your blog.
WordPress users again have several possible plugins to use for this purpose, but my favorite is PostPost. With PostPost you can control the content at the beginning and the end of your feed, as well as the beginning and end of your blog (which will not appear in the feed). It’s an extremely valuable plugin that I will probably use on any WordPress blog that I run.
5. Create a Series of Posts
If you take a look back through your archives you will almost certainly come across some topics that you could expand on. If this is the case, why not turn that one post from your archives into a series by creating a follow up post or to. Of course, all of the posts in the series will link to each other, which will help the older post to get some exposure.
6. Submit Them to Social Media
Most bloggers use social media to promote their content. What social media sites you use is really not important for this, but you are probably only promoting your newest content. I bet you have some older posts in your archives that could do very well with social media if they were submitted.
If you have just recently started using a new social media site, this is especially relevant. If you weren’t using this social media site in the past, why not submit some of the best posts from your archive? This can be an easy and effective way to get more attention for your older posts and to improve traffic without even creating new content.
7. Create an E-book
Do you have a number of posts in your archives that focus on the same subject or on similar topics? Most likely you do. Have you thought about compiling them together, creating a PDF e-book and giving it away for free? Creating a PDF from existing posts is not very time-consuming or difficult, and the e-book could create some attention and bring new visitors to your blog.
8. Submit to Blog Carnivals
Blog carnivals are an easy way to get some links to your posts and to increase your exposure. Have you ever submitted older posts to carnivals, or just new ones? If an older post in your archive is relevant to the blog carnival, why not submit it and see if it gets included in the carnival?
9. Submit to Article Directories
Free article directories, such as Ezine Articles and Go Articles, have been used by many website owners and bloggers to reach new audiences and build inbound links. Submitting older blog posts to these directories is another option for making the most of your archives.
With article directories you will have to deal with duplicate content issues from search engines. Personally, I wouldn’t submit any blog posts that drive any type of significant search engine traffic, as it may be in jeopardy if you do. One method that some bloggers use is to re-word articles that they submit so that they will accomplish the same purpose without creating duplicate content.
10. Add a New Comment
Does your blog offer the option to subscribe to comments? If so, anyone who has chosen to subscriber to the comments for a particular post will receive an email notification when a new comment is entered. Sometimes by going back and leaving a comment on an older post, you may be able to draw those who have subscribed to click-though and visit your blog again. Of course, you’ll want to leave a relevant comment that will somehow help people that have subscribed. For example, you could leave a comment with a link to another related post on your blog, or maybe to a new post that you have just published on the subject.
What Methods Do You Use?
Do you try to maximize the effectiveness of your existing posts? If so, what methods do you use?