How to Effectively Recycle Old Blog Posts

10 SHARES

If you really want to build content on your site that’s worth visiting then you need to learn the art of writing articles that are timeless in nature. In other words, it’s acceptable to write about things that are taking place this week, but visitors six months from now are going to click away immediately if they land on that article.

It’s important to be writing about subjects within your blog’s topic that can be used both today and a year from today. Once you’ve mastered the concept of writing timeless articles then you can move onto today’s lesson with ease.

Why Should You Recycle Blog Posts?

The art of recycling an old post simply means that you take an article that was previously published, let’s say five or six months ago, and add new life and excitement to it and republishing it.

It’s a great practice to get yourself into for several reasons.

  • It saves time: If you’re stuck trying to think of what to write or if you want to get a head start on your coming articles then this is the perfect way to do it.
  • It builds Page Rank: I’m very fortunate to receive back-links on the articles here at Site Sketch 101. In fact I have several articles on the site with a 2 or 3 Page Rank. Bringing a six month old PR3 page back to the front of everyone’s attention is a great way to snowball the success that article has already achieved.
    PR3 Article on Site Sketch 101: 15 Incredible WordPress Plugins You Need
  • It builds on previous successes: If you have a topic that was incredibly popular in the past then what better way to rebuild excitement and momentum on your website than to bring it back to life?

How do you maximize the quality of a recycled article?

Now if you think you can simply change the date on the article and bring it back to your front page then you’re most likely going to be met with dismal failure. Here’s some tips to keep in mind as you work to revive an old article.

  1. Leave the Permalink Alone: If you want to keep growing the page rank of your article then be sure to leave the permalink alone. This allows you to bring in a fresh wave of links to a page that already has links.
  2. Build Fresh Excitement into the Title: The first thing that people see is the title. Take everything you know about writing titles and put it into practice. Make it bold, exciting, and catchy.
  3. Revise / Rewrite the article: Now when you recycle the article don’t think that you’re going to get away with republishing the exact same thing. Use the old version as a starting point for a new more vibrant article.
  4. Add Fresh Ideas and Experiences: Infuse into your writing everything that you’ve learned or experienced since you first published the article. Don’t leave the experiences in there that you lived six months ago. Make it fresh.
  5. Remove Obsolete Concepts: If you made reference to something that’s no longer valid like something in the news or a personal opinion that is now developed in a different direction then pull it out and replace it with your new ideas.

Group Reflection:

Now it’s your turn to share your experiences. Have you ever recycled a post? How did you do it? If you haven’t done it before will you consider now that you’ve read this?

10 SHARES

About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.

71 Comments

  • Tom | Build That List says:

    So, you actually just redate articles and then change the title and stuff? Does that bring it to the front page of your blog again?
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: RSS Subscribers VS Email List | Which Is Better? =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Tom | Build That List » It does bring it to the front page again, but as you can tell from the article I do a lot more than just redate it.

  • Don Gilbert says:

    I noticed another thing you do to keep your older posts seem current – you don’t have a date on them.

    Whenever you are viewing a single post, there is no date that makes the post appear old and, well….. outdated.

    Is that a custom function you got going? Care sharing it with the WP world?
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Top 10 Tips to Dominate Your Niche for SEO =-.

    • Eric B. says:

      To remove the date from single posts, just remove the following bit of code from your theme’s single.php file.

      <?php the_time('F j, Y'); ?>
      

      The stuff in between the parentheses may be different for you, but it will still look similar.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: A Look At Internet Forum Design =-.

      • Nicholas Cardot says:

        Eric B. » That’s exactly right. Just remove that piece of code and the date goes away. But remember to only take it out of single.php.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Don Gilbert » I just stripped the date out of the template file called single.php. It really wasn’t hard to do.

  • Eric says:

    @Don,

    I noticed that too. It’d be nice to know if that’s something anyone can implement in their blog or if it’s just something you’ve design, Nick.

    Recycling your old stuff is a great idea as it allows a reader to feel as if they’re getting the information that’s useful when they need it, not information that was useful by a date back when.

    Good stuff here.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Ever Wanted To Write A Book? Think Of Your Blog As Your Novel =-.

  • Eric B. says:

    Recycling posts sounds like a good idea, but I think I would do it a bit differently.

    Something you could do is go back to your old posts, and write a new post on a related topic. You can still get some more traffic to the old post by linking to it, and expanding on those ideas with new ones.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: A Look At Internet Forum Design =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Eric B. » That’s a good idea but I find that posts that are six months old end up getting very little traffic even with just one new fresh link. I find that by reviving it to the front page you can really build new inbound links, build a new conversation, and grow pagerank instead of letting the old permalink go to waste.

      • Andrew says:

        Not only that Nick, but also once the post is the way you want it, and it’s successful, and timeless, you won’t necessarily want to change. This is where internal linking will help a lot.

        Perhaps you have a post on the basics of building a wordpress theme. A new version comes out and you want to write about some new features.

        Write your new post with a link to the original then update the original post with a link to the new one referencing the new/advanced topic.

        This will help to keep those brilliant older posts fresh yet still relevant while allowing you to repurpose some older posts as well as simply adding to an old post by bringing some attention to it with a newer post.

        Some sites that are great at doing this are, mine of course, but also Yaro Starak @ entrepreneurs-journey.com, problogger.net and copyblogger.com all use this combination of techniques – repurposing, updating with links to new posts, and keeping older content fresh and in front of the audience.
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: How To Digg Your Way to The Front Page =-.

        • Ryhen Satch says:

          Forgive me if I butt in, but I think I agree with Eric B. on this part.

          “Something you could do is go back to your old posts, and write a new post on a related topic.”

          Linking to an older post with a new one on the same subject provides benefit for both articles. The latest article links to a related page and the old article gets an inbound link. It’s a much better way of adding fresh content to your blog. Google seems to like that kind of thing. =)
          .-= My Latest Blog Post: Knock, Knock! Who’s There? Occult Symbols… =-.

          • Nicholas Cardot says:

            Ryhen Satch » Although that’s certainly true, I find that I’m able to get a lot more inbound links by bringing my articles back to the front page which is far more valuable than just one internal link to the older page. However, I do understand that your method is a good one as well. Both are valuable and I certainly do both.

      • Dave Doolin says:

        “grow pagerank instead of letting the old permalink go to waste.”

        Probably the most important single piece of advice on your site Nick.

        99% of bloggers don’t understand that the long term value they’re building is in the permalinks.
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: Saturday Morning Surfing – Oversharing is *not* intimacy =-.

        • Nicholas Cardot says:

          Dave Doolin » I completely agree. People really discount the value of Page Rank. Some people actually believe that Page Rank is now useless. I’m working hard to grow my page rank and I hope that you are also.

          • Dave Doolin | Website In A Weekend says:

            Definitely.

            I tell people I don’t sweat it, because I don’t… but that doesn’t mean I’m not keeping my finger on the pulse.

            It’s telling that people say “Matt Cutts says page rank doesn’t matter.”

            Which isn’t true. What I heard him say is that it doesn’t matter as much as people think it does, in the _way_ they think it matters.

            But Google still ranks results, and call it whatever you want, it boils down to a number that can be compared to other numbers… and displayed… top down on Google search results.
            .-= My Latest Blog Post: MasterMind Power III: The 5 Ws Of a Successful Mastermind Group =-.

            • Nicholas Cardot says:

              Dave Doolin | Website In A Weekend » It may not matter as much, you are right, however I believe that is simply because there are so many more factors involved than there used to be. Instead of forgetting about all of them, why not give 100% to every little detail and work to create the best possible chances of a strong search engine listing. Page Rank is one of many factors that we can spend our effort on.

  • Boni says:

    As usual, you give a great posting, It has been months i am not visiting your blog, because i have some exam… i really miss it… You give great knowledge for new blogger like me…

    Thanks for all your good article… =)

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Boni » You’re welcome. I’m glad that you’ve been able to come back and visit the site. I hope that you won’t get pulled away by school as much in the future. I miss having you around.

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  • Dana @ Blogging Update says:

    I think the best way to use old article is by rewrite new article base on the old article. As your example, you may re-write an article with title “15 Incredible WordPress Plugins You Need in 2010″. :D
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Email Creation by Using WebHosting Cpanel =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Dana @ Blogging Update » I think that’s a good idea but I would still use the permalink from the old article to build on the page rank otherwise you are essentially letting the PageRank from old pages just completely go to waste and we don’t want to do that.

  • Annemieke says:

    I think this is indeed the way to recycle old posts. I had been thinking about that, but it where rather cluttered thoughts.

    So I really like your clear overview of how to do that. Because I indeed think there is much more to it then just republish them.

    For me, the most important reason to recycle one, is when I found a better way to say what I mean. Maybe more detailed or using new insights. Or using words that better cover the concepts.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Three Subconscious Levels =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Annemieke » I’m glad that you like it. As you can see, I don’t think that we should simply shove them back on the homepage. I think that we should work them until they’re perfect and then republish them. And you’re right, you should rework them if you have a better way to relate the concept to your audience.

  • Keith says:

    Nick, I have heard of people doing this, some calling it re-purposing the article. My latest 2 sites don’t have enough articles yet to warrant that, but I will keep it in mind for down the road…
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Make It Easy To Promote YOU: =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Keith » You certainly don’t want to do it with recent articles. Use the old timeless ones that nobody remembers.

  • Andrew says:

    A very timely post Nicholas. You seem to be inside my head again and posting exactly what I need and when I need it.

    I was thinking about reworking some inner pages that have good rank just a few hours ago – in fact I wrote it on a to do list.

    This should help me along really well.

    Thanks.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: How To Digg Your Way to The Front Page =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Andrew » You may not know this but I actually AM inside your head. In fact, it was me that made you think about it earlier just so you would be interested when I posted this article.

  • Extreme John says:

    I have been telling myself for months now that I need to go back through my 800+ posts and dig up some of the classics and re-publish them.

    Finding the time is another story, I will say that I bet a post re-written from old will be much better in quality and information than the old blog post.

    Great tips Nick, thank you.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Links for 2010-01-12 [del.icio.us] =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Extreme John » 800? Wow. Great work on that amazing accomplishment. It does take time so you just have to weigh the benefits with the amount of time necessary to accomplish it. It is much better because now it’s had twice as much work on it as any other post on the site. You can just keep on improving it.

  • marshall | genverters.com says:

    Great Idea! I think I’ll start looking at my old posts when the get to be 5 or 6 months old to see if they are candidates for this. Right now, however, I’ll keep on creating new content frequently as possible!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Managed Expectations for Satellite Internet =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      marshall | genverters.com » I hope that you do. It’s great. I probably recycle between 1 and 3 articles per month but I only use ones that are about 5 or 6 months old. I actually just started doing this and I’ve found great success with it so I wanted to share it with the community.

  • sernan says:

    you just gave me an idea, i have an article whose page hits and google search are reaching in numbers, another learning bits from you.. thanks!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Are you now Happy? =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      sernan » You’re welcome. I hope that this helps you really get the most out of that article that you’re referring to.

      • sernan says:

        Hi nick, when it comes to the title of the recycled article, what would be your suggestion? Should we just rephrase the title or maybe just add a part I, II for the articles. on my understanding, the same keywords would be placed on the meta fields.. is this correct?
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Heartbreak Kid – Review =-.

        • Nicholas Cardot says:

          sernan » I almost never use Part 1 or Part 2. I try to come up with two completely different but similar topics. Unless you change the keywords, they will remain the same.

  • Thomas Levin says:

    HI Nick,

    I think writing timeless content is pretty hard and I don’t fully agree that you should need to do this.

    Content needs to be helpful and informative, but I also think that are are all constantly improving, things are changing and a fantastic rate, so what we write today could be out of date next week and not having a date on your articles isn’t authentic and can be unhelpful aswell. As your catalog grows you will have more to maintain, instead you could update posts and have a date of when they were updated but I also think that this is a lot of unnecessary work.

    But as Dana says, writing articles based on previous articles is a fantastic way to inspire new content and as you become a better blogger and the tools and resources we use get better and you learn more your articles will become even better then they already are. I think giving the best information you can at this moment in time is more important.

    In my niche which is video game Football Manager, I can do an article about a particular way of playing, how the game reacts to particular commands etc… But in the next edition of the game I write about, that article could be completely void and be no good to those playing the latest game, but having a date on it and tagging it correctly, I can still ensure those playing previous edition can still get value from my site.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Thomas Levin » In that situation you are entirely correct. I have no argument with it at all. But people who are writing blogs similar to this one like best CSS practices, or how to connect with people, etc. would be very well suited to use this type of content delivery.

  • Lee Ka Hoong says:

    I did actually recycle some of my posts in the past but I’ve been stopped doing this for quite some times.

    You know we human always improve ourselves from time to time, it goes the same to writing style or skill, maybe the writing is suck in the past and now we’ve improved, so it’s one of the reasons of recycling old blog post.

    I’ve found a few of my previous articles didn’t look good, I’m going to recycle them and make them live!

    Thanks for reminding me about this Nicholas!

    Cheers,
    Lee

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Lee Ka Hoong » You’re welcome. That’s really what it’s all about. Trying to find something that had a great idea and really bringing it to life and giving it a second chance. Best of luck with it.

      • Lee Ka Hoong says:

        Yea, I’m heading over to the old blog post and going to polish them with better writing style. Thanks a lot Nicholas, you reminded me about this that I’ve forgotten for quite some times.

        Between, I think you don’t have to recycle your old blog post since all your posts were really great!

        Best Regards,
        Lee

        • Nicholas Cardot says:

          Lee Ka Hoong » Thanks. I don’t recycle posts very often but I still like to do it just to help me revisit my articles periodically and see where I’ve come from and where I’m going.

  • Joe Hage says:

    I’m intrigued by the “just remove the date so your posts don’t seem old.”

    Anyone on this board doing it? I haven’t noticed many doing this.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Simpsons turn 20 =-.

  • Shane says:

    Very cool idea. I haven’t ever revived a post yet, but it’s something I’ll start doing. Great idea for “oldie-but-goldie” posts.

    Cheers,
    Shane
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Interview With Google Sniping Expert Gary Gregory =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Shane » That’s exactly what it’s a good idea for. Especially if you think that you can really give that post a second chance at life.

  • Fábio Maia says:

    Just like music. You first listen to a song and love it, then you hear it a few more times and thousands more on your MP3 or computer. And you get sick of it.

    Then after a long time you listen to it again on the radio, and you love it again.

    (did that make sense to you?)

    Anyway nice article, thanks for sharing. Never thought of this, it is a great idea indeed. Although I will still have to wait some months before applying this technique, as I haven’t even opened my new blog yet.

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  • Kok Siong Chen says:

    Thanks for sharing Nicholas! You have given me a great idea on dealing with my old blog post. I will try to rewrite my old post and make it better especially on my English.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Angelman Syndrome – Angel-like Genetic Disorder =-.

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  • Self Improvement says:

    Nicholas,

    Really good article. I wanted to ask also…does adding links to older articles help too?
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: How To Get More From Life This Instant =-.

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  • Dave Doolin | Website In A Weekend says:

    Working on updating some pillar content right now.

    Here’s a conundrum: I’d like to schedule a few articles out in advance… but I haven’t figured out how to do that while keeping the article published on it’s original date. Either I’m missing something, or this is a fully manual process. (Which would be annoying)
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Saturday Morning Surfing: Passion is NOT Enough – Your Landlord Doesn’t Give a Rat’s Patootie =-.

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  • Jen says:

    Great post Nicholas. I haven’t done this yet … I kinda wondered how I would go about it so great to read these tips .. I will use them.

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  • alpcorecycling says:

    Great to read these tips .. I will use them.Thanx for sharing.
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  • Andrew Utter says:

    I have been blogging a long time, but am new to WordPress. How do you bring an old post to the front page but “leave the permalink alone.”

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  • Estee says:

    Great article! I appreciate the idea of renewing the articles that drew the biggest crowd and using that as a part of my campaign to keep my website at the top of the G-list.

    Already applying your idea by reposting: http://intuitivemeaning.com/2012/01/follow-the-leader-getting-our-own-act-together/

    Thanks for the great ideas!

  • Shannon says:

    I just love the taking the date out on single.php idea! I have a few sites where this would so benefit in making old content seem new again.

    With the opportunity in starting out 2 new projects “the right way” I’ve got so many great ideas.

    If I could only remember them all! Will have to start a “must do” list on a new blog. Unless you’ve already got one? lol

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