Bloggers, when was the last time you gave your blog an audit? If you’ve been following my monthly goals, you’ll be aware that I’ve been “updating” my older blog posts.
This has been a mammoth of a task as I had around 400 posts I wanted to go back through and check. While this seems like the behaviour of a crazy person, I assure you it was important.
Way back when
When I started this blog I had no clue what I was doing. None! I had received positive feedback on my writing tutorials and thought it would be good to have them in a central “hub” so I created a blog and began transferring them across.
Everything I learnt about blogging, at the start, I learnt on the job. This was fine, it’s actually good to just jump in sometimes and learn by doing.
Otherwise, you end up delaying it forever, waiting for the stars to align and everything to suddenly be perfect.
But this gung-ho style of charging ahead, while great at getting me to actually START a blog, meant when I began taking my time to learn about blogging – what works, what doesn’t and what can make or break your blog… I already had a lot of blog posts behind me.
This meant my blog wasn’t exactly working as efficiently as it could be. Now you might be asking, why the heck does that matter? It’s just a blog, right?
My blog’s purpose is to educate, it is full of writing tutorials, blogging advice and books/product reviews to help other people.
So that purpose needs to be the focus. To do what I want it to (help people) it has to get in front of people. That means it needs to be set up to do just that.
Doing a blog audit
The first thing I did was do a blog audit. This is where you go back through a load of your older posts and just scout through. You take all the things you now know about blogging, SEO and the likes and you see how your older posts compare.
That was painful!
One of the reasons I did this was because I wanted to start sharing my older blog posts, that have some great content, to reach a bigger audience. But I wanted to make sure my posts were giving the right message and would actually drive traffic.
Considering SEO & search ranking
I’ve talked about Google Spiders before. Google’s crawler bots prioritise new websites, fresh content and dead links.
This is why you need to make consistent content in order to be crawled more frequently by Google. Websites that lay dormant for months or ones that are all static are not visited by Google as often and lose their ranking.
Well, content is no problem, I still blog every week which is totally enough to get crawled (eww that sounds gross :p).
Now, dead links are a big no-no and after scouting through older posts, I found a LOT of dead links.
Dead links are a big turn off to readers, if they are rooting through your website and find the odd dead link, most people can live with that. But if link after link is a dead end, they will be leaving your website for a better one.
I originally started off trying to clear my dead links, but after a while, I realised there were other issues.
So I made a list of things I wanted to fix. This included:
- featured images
- link issues
- colour scheme
- H1 tags
Fixing the issues
It’s important to implement what we learn. As I said, when I started blogging I didn’t know the importance of certain things.
For example, if you include a link on your blog post, the link text should not be anything like “click here” and it should definitely not be the whole URL string (eg: http:// www… etc)
But past me didn’t know that and many of my guest posts had the long URL link titles.
Now, my obsessive nature made me try and tidy up old blog posts so they looked more consistent with newer posts.
I eased up a bit eventually as old posts can look a little different because they are, after all, old posts! But where I could, I tried to create a nice brand… so that means colour scheme and basic layout.
I didn’t appreciate the importance of H1 tags so that had to be changed. For those unaware, the H1 tag is a defined HTML element. It is used for the headers in your post, there are H2, H3, etc and these decrease in size.
These HTML elements are used by Google spiders when crawling your page. They consider the H1 tag to hold the most weight in SEO so they are important.
Then there were the actual tags. My earlier blog posts had up to 19 tags each. Eesh! That is seriously not good. Even WordPress recommends no more than 15 and between 5 and 10 seems a sweet spot.
So these were on my list and needed a good clear out. I also found that if I reblogged someone’s post, the category defaulted to “Tutorials” and no tags came through. So I had loads of awesome reblogged posts that were not driving traffic.
Do what you can
This is why I’ve been updating my old blog posts. Since this is my official author website, I have been treating it more seriously and making sure it is working better for me.
I’m not saying everyone should do what I did, to the level I did it at. And if you want to do what I did, be aware that it can be quite time-consuming. This is why I have been doing them in small chunks every month.
But it has paid off, I’ve had some massive spikes in my stats and my “top posts” have started to include older posts that no one was viewing.
Even if you just want to do a smaller blog audit, check some of your posts for things like H1 tags or dead links, this can make a big difference.