Issue #225

I’ve deleted 35% of my blog posts

Have you ever done a content audit on your blog?

If you’ve written a lot of blog posts and the answer is “no”, then listen up. Because, this is something that will be worth your time.

It is something that has been on my list of projects here at the Blog Marketing Academy for a little while. I hadn’t done it yet. But, then I got a question on our Lab Workshop from a member who asked me how many blog posts has been published at the BMA.

At the time, the answer was 1,448 blog posts. And it went all the way back to 2006.

Thing is, most of them were total crap. Back in 2006, I was blogging VERY differently than I do now. Back then, it was more quantity than quality. I posted a lot of crap that, frankly, would be a little embarrassing to me now because it just wasn’t useful nor very good. 🙂 We all evolve.

So, I decided to go ahead and begin this content audit project. What is a content audit?

A content audit is when you revisit your entire blog archives and bring the entire thing up to your present standards. You’re deleting the crap, doing a bunch of updates, and optimizing for conversions. The effect is usually better site performance, better quality, better SEO and rankings, and more traffic.

The basic actions you will be doing during a content audit are:

  1. Deleting outdated blog content that gets little to no traffic.
  2. Updating content that is still relevant.
  3. Centralizing content so that you avoid too much overlap. Could mean combining posts or simply cross-linking them.
  4. Optimizing past content for effective conversion (i.e. content upgrades, lead magnets, etc.)

You’re also going to learn some very useful data about your site and your audience in the process. For instance…

  • Which pages are responsible for most of your traffic?
  • What are the “hot topics” for your market and which topics do they most connect with?
  • Which posts are just sitting there taking up space?

Depending on the size of your archives, this can be a big project. It won’t be something you just sit down and do in a day or two.

Ideally, you’d probably do this annually. This way it doesn’t get too out of hand. Plus, if you operate your blog by The Redwood Strategy rather than the usual blogging hamster wheel, then the job is easier because you concentrate more on high-quality stuff anyway.

But, my archives were huge. 1,448 posts.

I can tell you that, as of this very writing, I have it down to 951 posts. That number will most definitely shrink further as I clean out the garbage, but I’ve already deleted about 35% of the blog posts that were published at the Blog Marketing Academy.

The initial part, least for me, has been easy. Most of those posts were pretty darn old and outdated, so it didn’t require much judgement to hose them. I simply went to my blog post list in Wordpress, went all the way back to page one in the listing in order to get to my earliest post, then started working forward from there.

For each post, I did the following:

  1. I visited the post to see if it was anything worth keeping.
  2. I checked Analytics to see if the post was getting any traffic.

If the post was getting zero traffic (and I was looking at the last 90 days of traffic in Analytics), then I simply deleted the post. Since I use Yoast SEO as my search plug-in, it allowed me to easily set up a “410 Content Deleted” header for each post I deleted, thereby telling Google that the content was gone in case it ever came up.

In a few cases, I would find that these old posts got a smidgen of traffic. They might have gotten 3 or 4 visits in the last 90 days. In some cases, I deleted the post anyway because it was so irrelevant. In other cases, I would set up a redirect to send that traffic to another better developed blog post in my archives. Again, I used Yoast SEO to manage those redirects.

Some of those older posts were getting real traffic. I found a few that were actually getting 100+ visits in the last 90 days. In those cases, I would update the post to bring it up to speed, but then leave it there. After all, if it is performing, there’s no reason to delete it.

So, those initial 35% of old blog posts have been relatively easy to process since MOST of it was garbage.

We’ll leave off here for today, but I will leave you with this for today as a little exercise…

Go to your own blog post list in the Wordpress admin panel. And go all the way back to your earliest blog post. And, start taking a little inventory of what’s going on back there. 🙂

As we continue in this series here on The Daily, I’ll talk more about how to actually take that inventory, look at your metrics on these posts, and go from there.

I’ll tell ya one thing, though…

It feels good to delete the riff-raff. 🙂

Not only that, but my Wordpress admin panel has sped up. Nice little fringe benefit there. 😉

– David

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