What’s the date of the last post on your company blog?
Perhaps you’ve got a regular rhythm, and your last post is in line with that. It doesn’t matter what that rhythm is, daily, weekly, monthly. It’s just whether you’re able to keep it up or not.
You’re not alone if it’s been quite some time
When you run a business then you don’t need telling there’s a lot going on, a lot of demands on your time. Sometimes you start with a burst of enthusiasm for blogging, but then you run out of steam or other things are more pressing. Before you know it, the blog is more out of date than you’d like it to be.
And once it’s out of date, and it’s been months since your last post, then you wonder if it’s even worth bothering.
Do people even read blogs any more?
I got this as a question a couple of weeks ago. I’m still writing a blog, and people still talk about the posts, so some people are. But outside of this blog, what’s the story?
There’s another key reason though.
Google reads your blog
Or at least crawls it. And Google loves fresh content.
Fresh content means the site is likely to offer a good experience to anyone landing there from a Google search. It’s probably going to contain relevant, up to date, interesting information.
Content that is out of date, whether that’s factually or even culturally (it’s still talking about fidget spinners being the hot new thing for example), is unlikely to have people sticking around. So if you’re not showing Google anything new then it’s going to crawl your site less and less. That affects your position in search engine results, and so less people find you.
So Google doesn’t love out of date content. But what about your customers?
Do you care?
When the last post is dated 2018, then it’s not just about the impact of 2020 (when I think we all got a bit of leeway on schedules going a bit awry). I spoke to Sally Fielding of Sally’s Cottages about this back in early March 2020, before all of us headed indoors.
Her view was that having a blog is a good way of showing people that you care about what you do and that only showing out of date posts is worse than no blog at all for that reason.
Looking at the Sally’s Cottages blog today, I can see that there are still posts going up regularly. April last year only had one, but it was a poignant piece about how to be happy even with what was going on. Given that as a self-catering business, there would have been a lot going on from cancellations to securing properties, I think letting it drop back to one post then is understandable.
Are you out of date?
Imagine if you’re still raving about those fidget spinners, or dinner at a restaurant that closed even before all of this. Doesn’t set you up as a font of trustworthy, on the ball content does it?
This isn’t about being cool or a trend setter, it’s about being current, on the same wavelength as your customer.
Remembering why we started
Do you remember the first post you put out there? That moment you pushed the “publish” button for the first time? The first comment you got?
We all had a reason for starting a blog in the first place. For me, I wanted to show that I understand why a business wants to create content, as well as the challenges smaller business owners face. Hopefully share somethings that make it easier or quicker to create content that’s going to connect with your target customers.
And then there’s Google. Blog posts help with visibility not only because Google likes new content, but because of the words in your content that help to answer more questions, more effectively, for more people. That’s Google’s business, and it helps each of our businesses too.
So how do you get your blogging groove back?
Sometimes you just have to dive back in. You could choose to explain your absence, or just carry on as though you’ve always been there.
I’ve got a whole post of ideas on how to jump back in. The first post back is always the hardest. After that, it’s about commitment.
But if that worries you, there’s another good thing that’ll keep Google and your customers happy, and help you with time.
Rewrite, republish, reward
It doesn’t have to be new content. For example, I’d seen a spike in traffic to an old post about content ideas for Easter, but the post was from 2018. It made no reference to Easter in lockdown.
Instead of sitting and writing something completely new, I used Yoast’s Duplicate Post plugin (Yoast would be my recommendation for SEO if you’re running a WordPress site). It makes really simple to update the content in the older post, and you can choose to publish it straightaway or schedule it for later.
I scheduled it for later, as that brought it to the top of the blog. A lot of people who subscribe now will never have read the original, and it might be useful content for them that they might not have searched out. Traffic from Google to that post is even better than the original spike.
And it took me about ten minutes.
There’s a great guide to this feature and why rewriting and republishing is a good idea from Yoast, click here to read more from them.
Should I just delete my blog?
An option, but possibly a drastic one. Only you can decide that one.
I would suggest looking at your analytics before you make any final decision and just seeing what traffic it drives to your site first. Perhaps try rewriting a few posts and see its effect (although don’t forget republishing on its own won’t be enough).
Out of date is not out of sight
There are some terrible photos of me from the 70s and 80s. They’ll probably not see the light of day as they’re proper photos, stuck in a box in the cupboard.
Bad blog posts are forever though. You never know what obscure search term (or phrase) someone is going to bang into Google that may just end up on your equivalent of my terrible choice of bright yellow flares in about 1979. They are going to judge your business on that post.
So doing nothing is possibly not your best option. Don’t try and do them all at once, but just give yourself a goal of reviewing one or two posts a week perhaps.
Show people you care
I would say you’re showing care in two ways:
- You care about what you do
- You care about what your reader needs
Businesses that do that are the kind of businesses I want to give my attention to, and possibly my money at some point in the future. Will you show your customers that you care? Time to ditch being out of date.