Recently, on Facebook, I asked our writer group about going back and reading their old posts. It’s always a bit terrifying for me, going back to read old posts or pieces of novels, because as you write more you grow more as a writer. More times than not you go back to old posts and find ways to improve it, but should you? Re-editing your old posts is something all writers do but let’s talk specific instances where you should revisit your work and do some edits.
When a piece was written in a highly emotional time sometimes it is best to leave it alone. Sure, you could perfect sentence structure a bit, but at what cost? The emotional chaos of your writing may be more relatable than talking about loss in a perfectly structured post that seems too clean. Sometimes you can’t recapture the emotion or place you were in when you wrote the first draft and aside from spelling or grammatical errors, these pieces are usually best left alone.
When you are blogging sometimes your work hits home a while after it is posted and traffic picks up long after you’ve thought about a particular post, that’s when you should revisit it and give it some edits. If your article picks up steam months or years after publishing you should probably give it a read over and clean up wording, grammar, formatting, and structure to make sure it’s as polished as possible.
Keywords are a magical thing that bring people to your site for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the keywords or search terms that lead people to your post don’t necessarily correlate to your article but only the title. There may be some benefit in tweaking your article to fit the reason people are landing on your site. This not only provides them with the information they need but makes a great jumping off point for them to explore other articles you link to at the end once you’ve gained their trust.
Some articles that are written out of anger or hate can feel unnecessary and misguided after the fact. Yes, there are times when high emotion lends itself to great writing, but there are other times where it comes off like a temper tantrum rant and the message is lost. In those cases, it is worth editing to remove the whining and replace it with fact and support for your argument.
Maybe you wrote about the beginning of your marathon training and you never went back to look at it again as you dove into the prep for the race? Well, don’t you think that people who land on that article looking for marathon prep tips would appreciate an update after the race letting them know what worked and what didn’t? The same can be said for just about all topics including a journey, a conflict that may get resolved, or life struggle. When people come for tips and advice having a follow up on the tips’ success is valuable for your readers.
When I was starting my cruelty-free makeup journey I wrote a few articles about affordable and high-end cruelty-free makeup brands. The frustrating thing about old posts like these is that companies change their cruelty-free status the way most change their underwear (aka it changes a LOT). Updating those old posts was the responsible thing to do so that people were getting accurate information.
I know that when I started blogging I wasn’t paying much attention to linking or SEO but as I learned more about how you rank and make your posts relevant, I knew how important both were. Going back to quality posts to SEO and add keywords, or to link to other old posts on your site is well worth your time. Make sure that your content is being seen by making sure it’s optimized correctly. It is tedious, believe me, I know it is, but it’s a necessary evil.
When do you go back and look at old posts? Have you taken a look through your archives lately to update and upgrade your old posts? Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to.
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