You’ve been writing content on your site for awhile now. Great work! (Oh wait, you haven’t? Check out how your small business can start blogging today.)
Chances are you have the most recent posts listed on your home page and your blog is most likely date-based, too. Those old posts are still valid though!
Let’s talk about how to put that older content to work and get visibility to those old posts.
Related posts are posts that are related to the current post based on categories or tags. Showing related posts above, below or within the current post will increase the chances of your visitor navigating to a different post once they’re done reading the current one.
There are tons of plugins on the repository to show related posts. (As always, look for plugins that have been updated recently, have good reviews and a fair amount of installs.)
If you’re using Elementor, you can use their advanced query control to show related posts by category, tag or other taxonomy. And if you don’t want to use a plugin, you can add code to your site to show related posts.
Along the same lines, adding a list of popular posts to your home page, sidebar or footer is another great way to increase engagement. There are several great plugins for this. You can also add them manually.
How do you find out which posts are the most popular? I’m glad you asked. Head over to Google Analytics. Go to Behavior, Overview. The default date range is the past 7 days, but you can change it on the top right. (Try the past 30 days or even a year.)
The most popular pages for your date range will be listed at the bottom and in the bottom right corner, click view full report.
You’ll see that my most popular post is Using the WordPress REST API to get blog posts from another site followed by Taking Your Own WordPress Backups with UpdraftPlus.
Update Old Posts
Instead of writing a new post, think about going through and updating old posts regularly. Making sure the content on your site is both valid and current is helpful to your visitors.
You can show the last modified date (in addition to the original published date) on your post. Lockedown SEO does a great job with this. Check out his post on how quality content affects SEO. Notice that the date at the top shows when the post was last updated and the date at the bottom shows when the post was originally published. What’s great about this is that John has been generating good content for awhile and he’s committed to keeping his content up to date.
You may find that when you go to update an old post, it’s no longer valid or doesn’t make sense for your audience. In that case, remove the post and create a redirect so that any old links to the post won’t go to a 404 page.
Link to Other Pages and Posts (Internal Linking)
Another way to increase engagement is by adding internal links. Internal links are links that you add within an existing post to previously published posts (or pages) that make sense in context. (I just did this in the paragraph above when I mentioned creating a redirect. See how easy it is?)
When you’re updating old posts, consider adding links to any posts you’ve written since the post was originally published, too.
Add a Search Feature
Adding a search box to your website is a great way to allow visitors to find your previously published content quickly and easily. Add the search widget to your footer or sidebar or if you’d like to add search functionality elsewhere (like in the header or menu), check your theme options.
Create an Archive Index Page
An archive index page is a page on your site that lists all of your posts. You can categorize the posts by year/month, author, alphabetically — the options are endless.
WordPress.org has a great tutorial on how to add an archive page to your site. There are also plugins you can use to create a list including List Category Posts, Display Posts and List all Posts by Author, Nested Categories and Titles.
Use Social Media
Everything I’ve mentioned so far involves changes to your website, but don’t forget about social media! I mentioned Revive Old Post in the past (Helpful Tips for Social Media Management) where you can share past posts on a schedule.
You can also share past posts manually, especially seasonal ones.
Taking the time to make your older content more visible will be helpful to your visitors and in turn will be helpful to you. As always, if you need help or have questions, feel free to reach out.