A Guide on Keeping Your Blog Content Fresh
Your blog is getting stale. Just like much of the Internet. You can win more readers and influence by keeping it fresh. I explain in this article.
The internet is getting messy. No, I'm not referring to the dark corners of the internet where only the foolish dare to go. I'm talking about busy businesses, high-ranking websites, popular blogs, and maybe even your blog.
This will offend some of you. How exactly is my blog messy, you may ask.
Let's start with an analogy. Think of the websites you frequent on the internet as your neighbourhood. The businesses are, well, businesses, and your favourite blog is your next door neighbour's home. On the outside, the windows sparkle, the sidewalks are clean, and there is a pretty "Welcome" sign on the front door.
But have you ever walked inside of someone's home that was nice on the outside, and an absolute mess inside? Or, for a more extreme example, have you ever seen the show Hoarders? Yikes! In short, what we see on the outside doesn't always reflect what is on the inside.
On the internet our "houses" are the everyday websites running blogs, businesses, and brainy inspirations on social media. More devastating than a roving band of marauders, many website owners are creating piles of content just for SEO purposes—spending time and money—only to release their content into the universe never to look upon it again.
This is not only bad for your business, it’s bad for the environment. No, not the literal environment, however it is bad for our online community. Your old information is floating around on the interwebby, confusing people—or at the very least, making it difficult for search engines to weed out your old junk.
For example, if you are writing about visitor management systems, then you need to keep updating these articles as new software comes out. If you are writing about the history of England in the 1200’s, it is less likely to need an update.
The most important issue a new website faces in building traffic is building up a good reference of high quality content. That means old information isn't going to get you anywhere.
Coming from a background in document control, the poor management of information sometimes gets under my skin! So with that, I'm putting on my "document control hat," and hope that you will too—it's time to clean house!
When Older Content Can Be Helpful
Have you ever attempted to search for information only to find your top search results include outdated information that is 3 years old, or more? Not every topic is a current trend, obviously, however there are some topics where you are aware you should have received more recent—and relevant—search results.
Of course, not all old content is bad content. Sometimes information is static and doesn't require change. Sometimes older information can even be useful. For example, someone may be doing historical research on any given topic, and vintage information—frozen in internet-time, if you will—might be ideal.
However, acting as a dedicated resource for historical web culture addicts is probably not what’s motivating most content writers today. Plus it also means that if you didn’t intend for information to expire, however it’s sitting out there dead in the water anyway.
When someone does come across it, you look less than on top of your game.
Keeping information current can be extra difficult to accomplish in certain industry fields. For example, social media gurus have to update their material regularly because their "Top 5" lists will not stay current for long.
There will always be new players in the field that grab the market’s attention, so the information becomes dated quickly.
As a marketer it is good to know the right content marketing strategy.
Expired Content - Deal with It!
If your website is affected, address it immediately! Don't ignore it; it's not going to fix itself. In the end, the longer that information sits out there, cluttering up the blogosphere and other celestial internet realms, the worse YOU look as a business!
Here are a few options for quickly earmarking expired content for readers:
- Add an "Archived" tab or designated menu link to your website where all documents with older content can be stored
- Rename each individual article (or blog post, etc.) to plainly state "Archived" at the end of the name or headline
- Place a "Retired" watermark on embedded or downloaded document files
- Pull the content offline; i.e., remove it from public view entirely
Choose the option that is easiest or most appropriate for your business, and take responsibility for the content you "release to the world." It reflects on you!
Comment for Startups
New businesses should develop a document control methodology from the moment you begin building (i.e., framing) your fantastic website design and writing blogs/articles.
Have a well developed site structure and make sure your content organisation is clear to you and everyone who handles documentation. If the structure is vague or confusing to you, your team probably doesn't understand it either!
Keep on Top of It
This should go without saying, however you should proactively and regularly review your website and identify or flag anything that is no longer current. A good minimum for review is once every 6 months, however obviously, the more current you keep your information, the better your business looks.
Don't leave this as a vague "team responsibility." Instead, appoint specific team members with the task to review pages and post accuracy on a predetermined, scheduled basis.
These are quick fixes! Simple Band Aid solutions—but there are better document management options out there! Soon I will share tips for going the extra mile and keeping your content fresh and up-to-date.
Have you ran into old content on the web that confused you? Maybe you thought it was current, but later found out it was old information? Or perhaps you are trying to clean up your website now? Please stick with it!