On Editing Old Blog Posts
Girl on the Net recently asked a fascinating question — should you edit old blog posts to “fix” or (more nefariously) “hide” opinions you no longer hold? She makes a good case for why you shouldn’t and also why you might be tempted. Anxiety is a bitch, y’all.
But her post (and the Twitter convo we had about it later) brought to mind the idea that there is a case to be made for editing old blog posts, in general. Not to make your opinions more palatable to future readers, but as a way to get more use from your archive.
First, the reasons why you might not want to edit your archive:
- It’s time-consuming.
- You just don’t want to.
- The idea of it overwhelms you.
These are all legitimate reasons to leave your archive as it is and deal with problems (like your old, uninformed opinions) as they see the light of day.
But here are a few reasons why you may want to edit at least some of your old blog posts.
Fix Your Format
If, like me, all you cared about in the early days of your sex blog was getting words on the screen, you may have paid very little attention to the format of your posts. Maybe you’ve got walls of text. You may have ignored or not cared about adding images or subheadings. Going back to format your blog posts, now that you know more, makes your archive easier to read for newcomers who find an old post through a Google search.
You get just a few seconds with a random reader who clicked on your link in Google. If they can’t easily read your post, they have no incentive to stick around and decipher it. This can fix that.
Add New Links
When you first begin your blog, internal linking (adding links from other blog posts to encourage people to click through) is impossible. As you write and post more, your ability to do this goes up. You may be doing it on posts you write today because you’ve got an archive to work with. What about those early blog posts?
Not every blog reader clicks on links in a post, but no one will if they don’t have the chance. Plus, search engines seem to like internal links. Although, for the record, algorithms are notoriously complicated and there’s no way of knowing how much or little weight those internal links actually get.
Correct Proofing Mistakes
Are you someone who’s notoriously bad at spelling and can’t figure out where to put a comma to save your soul? Or were you like that a few years ago and now you know better? Poor spelling and truly egregious grammar (not the random misplaced comma) can make it difficult to read your content. Going back to correct these errors makes new readers want to stick around.
Most readers forgive minor mistakes and spelling errors. Try not to let the chance of a single grammar slip spike your anxiety. But if you know you were really bad at it in the early days, it might be worth going back and fixing it.
Fixing Euphemisms and Word Choice
Maybe spelling and grammar wasn’t a problem, but you were guilty of using bad euphemisms for sex acts or not having a wide vocabulary to use. I used to be guilty of using the same word (i.e. “cock” or “pussy”) over and over again in a few hundred words. I didn’t have the skill or experience to know how to use different (and better) descriptions. When I look back at my archive, I cringe.
Making these changes aren’t the same as changing opinions. Think of it like editing the first draft of a book. As you learn more, you can vary your language and word choice to paint a more vivid and interesting story.
Adding a Call to Action
A CTA or call-to-action is, simply put, a thing you ask your readers to do on your blog. Many are found at the end of a blog post, but not necessarily. They invite readers to subscribe, visit another part of your website, buy you a coffee, become a patron on Patreon, and any number of things. Many CTAs can be added to your entire site without the need to edit individual posts. But some CTAs may be specific to certain topics you’ve covered. You might want to direct people to a book you’ve written or a section of your website that directly relates to that specific blog post.
On KaylaLords.com, I have several top blog posts in my archive that get hundreds of views a week. They’re all BDSM and D/s related. I went back and manually added a CTA to the bottom of all those posts, inviting readers to check out my other website (Loving BDSM) where I focus on these topics. Within a few days, I saw more traffic coming from one blog to the other.
Deal With Timing
Some edits can be done to make your content more evergreen (meaning it’s not tied to a specific moment in time) or because something timely is now over. You might even want to do it because you referenced something that happened “a few months ago” or “the other day” when clearly it’s been a year or longer.
Coupon codes, giveaways, and other time-restricted content may need these edits more than other posts. I tend to add the end date of an offer or giveaway so I don’t have to go back and edit. Other bloggers will go back and add a line that says “This giveaway is now closed” or “This offer is no longer available.”
Thanks to the solid advice of Michael Knight (aka DomSigns) and Molly Moore, I use Yoast SEO on all of my websites. It’s a WordPress plugin that helps you configure your blog posts to have a better chance of ranking in Google search. Instead of having to learn SEO rules, use this tool which tells you what to do. It uses a color system (green, yellow, and red) to let you know if your content follows the “rules.”
Green might be good, but never sacrifice your content so that a post might show up a little easier in a search result. Content is always more important.
Start Where You Are
Whether you go back in your archive to edit or not is a personal decision. On KaylaLords.com, I have 1800 pieces of content (and counting). The idea of touching each and every one of those posts is daunting. If you know more about formatting, CTAs, grammar, adding images, interlinking, and all the rest, start with your next blog post. Use the tricks you’ve learned to make your future blog posts better.
And if you want to edit your old posts, but don’t think you’ll have the time, start with the content that gets the most views. For most readers, this is their first introduction to you. Make it a good one, and get as much use out of that content as you can.