A Simple Checklist for Editing and Optimizing Old Blog Posts - ManageWP

A Simple Checklist for Editing and Optimizing Old Blog Posts


If you browsed through our last links mashup edition you may well have come across Lorelle’s Random Editing Day post. To put it in her words:

The purpose of Random Editing Day is to help you edit and upkeep your site, but also to revisit and revise posts of the past.

I loved the concept. My aim for my own blog is to make old content as accessible as possible so that its impact can be measured over weeks and months, rather than just the few days after it is published. With that in mind, Lorelle’s post was a great reminder of how old posts do need to be revisited from time to time to make sure that they are still well optimized and relevant.

In this post I want to take Lorelle’s concept and adapt it to fit my own recommendations when it comes to creating and maintaining “evergreen” content. The aim in doing so is to increase both visits to those posts and the level of engagement from visitors — something that all bloggers aspire to.

Picking Your First Post to Edit

In her post Lorelle recommends that you simply pick a post at random to edit and that is definitely a quick and easy way to start (there’s nothing like breaking down the barriers of complication to get you moving). However, I want to take a slightly more scientific approach to ensure that our time investment is worthwhile. To start with we’re going to target the “low hanging fruit” — posts that already get a lot of visits (and by logical extension, could probably benefit the most from being optimized).

I want you to access Google Analytics and find an archive post (say one that is more than three months old) that still gets plenty of visits. The easiest way to do this is to select Content > Site Content > All Pages. The report will look something like this:

Google Analytics

If you know your content well (and I’m sure you do) you’ll easily be able to pick out the top-performing archive posts from your list. I’ll tell you what runs through my head from glancing at the above list:

  1. Home page
  2. Information product sales page
  3. Popular recent post
  4. Start Here” page
  5. Popular recent post
  6. About Me” page
  7. Popular old post
  8. Popular recent post
  9. “Resources” page
  10. Popular recent post

As you can see there is an odd one out amongst the list — an old post that is still generating plenty of pageviews. This is the page you want to target first of all, as it offers the most potential for seeing a beneficial result. Once you finish optimizing this post you would move onto the next most popular archive post.

Before we begin, make a note of the metrics for that page: average time on page, entrances, bounce rate, % exit, and page value (if appropriate). You’ll want to come back to these figures in a few weeks time so you can observe the impact of your work.

Optimizing Your Post

Lorelle’s post offered up excellent tips for editing your post. Below I have created a list of recommendations that borrows from and builds upon Lorelle’s original list. Remember — we’re not just editing for the sake of editing here — we’re doing it because we believe it will drive more visits to our blogs and increase engagement. Always keep that in mind.

  1. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes: we all make mistakes and sometimes proof-reading is difficult to do when you’re still in “writing mode.” Take this opportunity to re-check the post for any mistakes that you may have made.
  2. Clean up the content: as a regular blogger your writing ability will improve over time so you may find that older posts are not as well-written as you would like. Now is the opportunity to remedy that.
  3. Check relevancy: the post is popular, but is it still relevant? If not, you may want to consider altering the content accordingly or even providing a message at the top of the post that points people in the right direction.
  4. Check the links: I recommend that you install Broken Link Checker to ensure that your links are valid throughout your blog. When it comes to editing individual posts, check that the existing links are still relevant and read through the post in search of opportunities to link to newer posts on your blog.
  5. Add or change images: sometimes we can neglect the visual side of things when first publishing posts so now is a good time to revisit the images on your post and consider adding to or changing what is already there.
  6. SEO: this is where you can have a big impact. Long tail keywords are pretty easy to rank for so you may want to see how many visits the post is currently receiving from search engines and how an alternative optimization strategy might benefit.

Case Study

Now let’s see how I put my own above advice into practice with the post that I highlighted from my blog: The 100 Blogs You Need In Your Life.

I published this post back in February 2012 and it has been by a huge margin the most popular post on my blog. It actually spawned a second edition and a third edition will be following shortly. So what did I do to edit and optimize it?

Let’s run through the list:

LWB 100

Now It’s Your Turn!

There you have it folks — my recommendations for editing and optimizing old posts, followed by an example of how I did it. Spending just 20-30 minutes a week on posts like this could make a huge difference to your site in time. I would advise that you try it out on 2-3 posts and gauge the results you get. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Do you have any alternative suggestions for editing your posts or do you disagree with anything I have recommended? Let us know in the comments section!

Photo Credit: Daniel*1977

Tom Ewer

Tom Ewer is the founder of WordCandy.co. He has been a huge fan of WordPress since he first laid eyes on it, and has been writing educational and informative content for WordPress users since 2011. When he's not working, you're likely to find him outdoors somewhere – as far away from a screen as possible!


  1. Mohit Chauhan

    Can I change the URL of my Old Blog post to a new one and use redirect tool for old URL?

  2. Majida

    Thank you for the inspiration and reminder! My blog is just 52 posts old and already I cringe at my first posts!!

  3. Majida

    Thank you for your inspiration! My blog is just 52 posts old and already I cringe at the look of my previous posts!

  4. Hassaan Khan

    Hi Tom,

    Good to see you here! I did not go to your blog in last few days, its been two weeks, good to see you here. WPmanage looks awesome!

  5. Kelvin Wealth

    Thanks Tom… This is truly a great piece. I just remember i have this old post on my blog that is about 12 months old now and it’s still getting quality views everyday. I never thought of optimizing it until now that I have read your post. I will go ahead and optimize it and expect some changes…


  6. Guy

    Nice tip on how to sort Google Analytics for page views.

    I always thought it would be good to have a plugin/function that does this:
    – check if post is older than x days
    – if so, hide/delete the date on the post

    I think that would help click throughs from the SERPs on older posts. What do you think?

    1. Tom Ewer

      Hi Guy,

      I think you should either decide that all your posts are dated or all are not. One or the other, not a mixture!



  7. Glen

    Hi Tom

    I always enjoy reading your posts and this one is a real eye opener.

    Having recently gone through some of my older posts on my blogs I have found plenty of things that needed optimising especially as my writing style has changed a lot!

    It’s good to be reminded of these things :-)

    1. Tom Ewer

      Glad to help Glen!

  8. Lorelle

    Thanks, Tom, for the excellent example of processing an old post to update it and revitalize it. Well done!

    Isn’t it amazing how in just a year our blogging style can change and improve so much. I bet that realization felt good.

    Thanks for pointing out how quickly this process takes. So many complain that it is too time consuming, but you’ve proven my point. The ROI is worth it, and it only takes just a few minutes.


    1. Tom Ewer

      Hey Lorelle,

      It was my pleasure — thank you for providing the inspiration! I definitely agree that the ROI is worth it, especially if you focus in on those most visited pages.



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