10 March 2012

Why you should tweak your old blog posts

For the past week, I've been playing around with Google Analytics and Blogger's stats feature, and I noticed that over 25% of all traffic to Mithril Wisdom has come from a single image. Unsurprisingly, that image led to my most popular post. Do you want to see that image? Here you go:

Natalie Portman headshot

This single image has given me a quarter of all my hits. Oh Natalie, you've done wonders for this blog.
Update (26/02/13) - This isn't the actual image; but I decided to get rid of all my non Creative Commons images. She's still gorgeous, though.

I went back to the post and realised that I had hotlinked all of the images from other sites, and that I'd not put any tags or labels on the post to categorize it. The images were all over the place and the whole post looked sloppy. So I tweaked it and made it a little better. Now if anyone gets to the post through this image, they'll at least have something interesting and coherent to read.

Once I'd done this, I put up the Popular Posts side bar gadget to find out what else I'd missed. Every one of my all time top five were in the same sorry state. My post about fantasy artist Jason Engle had broken links, broken images from hotlinking and half-assed bits of Amazon advertising embedded in the post. I quickly fixed these, and now you can see a much nicer looking post with clearer images and no adverts shoehorned in.

If that was the state on my most popular posts, how bad are my unpopular ones? Is that the reason that they're unpopular?

It definitely pays off to revisit your old posts and do some housekeeping. It'll make your blog look and work a lot better, and you may get some more hits and followers in the process. Also, a clean and organised blog looks good when search engine spiders crawl your site, so you'll be easier to find on Google and other search engines. There'll be a part 2 to this soon where I'll go through the best things to tweak in your old blog posts.

Read part 2 - Three tweaks to get your old blog posts noticed

[Headshot image source]
What's your most popular post? Please pop a link in the comments; I'd love to see (and I'm sure the other readers would like to have a peek at your blog's past too!)

38 comments:

  1. Oooh, I've loved Natalie Portman from the first time I saw her in The Professional and then in Beautiful Girls. Just lovely!

    People rarely seem to look at my older posts, even though I think I have a lot of great ones. The posts that have drawn the most traffic are one where I 'interviewed' the main character Lord Midas of my fantasy novel, and then a series of posts on top 20 songs by groups like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and U2.

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    1. She's a sweetheart. I've a Bloggy crush on her.

      Very true, older posts don't tend to get looked at, which is a shame as there's some great content that never saw the light of day because our platform wasn't big enough. There should be a retro blogpost love fest or something :)

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  2. This is an interesting thought. I have no idea what my most popular post is - does that gadget tell you, or do you have to work it out?

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    1. Yup, if you go on your "Layout" tab in Blogger, add gadget and there's one (I think towards the bottom of the 'featured' list) called "Popular posts". Add that and you can set it to the past week, month or all time. It's interesting to see what people like. Let me know what your popular posts are :)

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    2. Ooh, I'll check that out. Thanks Jamie.

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  3. It seems like my most popular post was when I did a giveaway (http://charlesthereader.blogspot.com/2011/10/something-special.html) with my most recent post 1 view behind.

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    1. I rarely get much action from my giveaway posts - you're lucky :) Your most recent most was quite thought provoking too, so I can see why that one was popular :)

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    2. The sad thing about my giveaway post was only two people actually entered before the deadline. I would say that about 75% of the people that viewed it did so after the giveaway ended. I even had the author share the news about the giveaway, so it is somewhat sad how few people did anything with it.

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  4. as you know I have the list of my most popular posts at HOLLYWOOD SPY in the sidebar :) and for a very long time now, the post with nude Olga Kyrylenko has been the most popular one bringing me tens of thousands of visits :) Naked pics do that :)
    A lot of my posts on films gain popularity when the film gets released, since you know that I write about them months or even years before the release.
    SPARTACUS posts are also always very popular since I've kinda become a central for that show :)

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    1. I was tempted to post a sexy pic of Natalie to boost the hits but I decided against it. Don't want the wrong sort of readers, hehe.

      I can imagine that as you're at the front of all the tinsel-town news, you're able to link back to your older posts about movies when they're released and get people looking back that way.

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  5. I have several with thousands of views and believe it or not, the first Insecure Writer's Support Group post is the most popular. People looking to join the IWSG trace back to that post. And in Linky Tools, that list has received almost 70,000 views.
    Interesting also to see what sites send the most traffic. Outside of Google, Blogs of Note and Lee's Tossing it Out are by far my greatest sources of visitors.

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    1. IWSG has become so big, I can see why it's the most popular :)

      Aside from the Natalie picture, your blog has been responsible for getting most people to here, so thank you Alex :)

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  6. Hi Jamie
    Good point and as I scroll down I see I missed another Insecure Writers Post. I have several already written, but they are on another computer and I have trouble getting them from there to here. I know how to do it, it is just when you are sick, some things seem too hard. I will get it done. That's my new mantra.
    Nancy

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    1. I'll look forward to seeing them when they go live, Nancy :) The things that seem hard are usually the things that are worth doing :)

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  7. Hey, Jaims.

    I've actually given a fair amount of thought to back posts and do try to keep the blog tidy. It's nice to know other bloggers place some amount of care and attention to their own blogs, as well.

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    1. I'm glad I'm not alone, but I'm a bit sad that it's taken me this long to realise! There are about 300 posts to look back on, so I won't be tinkering with them all, hehe.

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  8. This is a good point. I will have to try to look at older posts more often.

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    1. It's worth it - since a lot of older posts predate our built up community of readers, they are often forgotten.

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  9. I know a bunch of my older posts are a mess. I really should go back through them and eliminate all the messy formatting and hotlinks . . . but it would take a lot of time and I barely keep up with blogging as it is. :P

    My most popular post:

    http://thegoldeneaglesblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/z-blogging-challenge-w-stands-for-water.html

    . . . with some 800 views; it's been there since about a month after I posted it. I could never figure out why.

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    1. Wow, nice! That's a really good post - it's informative, it's broken up with images and it springboards discussion. I can see why it's so popular :D

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  10. This is great advice. I'm going to try and work on it between now and A to z.

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    1. Give it a shot, and you might be able to link back to some older posts when you do A to Z, so people will be able to look at your 'back catalogue'

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  11. My most popular one is a video of a commercial. It only had a few lines written and it sucks lol. Think peeps are finding it from Google, which is really cool. My demon baby nightmare one is popular too, the things people look for on the net! :)

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    1. I know what you mean - people have typed in some weird stuff to get to my blog posts! The demon baby post sounds a bit nuts, I'll have to in search of that one :)

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    2. Haha thanks for checking it out, it's messed up huh? How did you manage to read so fast? Practice or superhuman powers? :)

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    3. It's a gift :) Plus lots of practice. I'm using an app to improve my reading speed too.

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  12. I have that popular posts gadget on my blog. It says this one:

    http://mainewords.blogspot.com/2012/01/pow-wow-trading-post.html

    is my most popular post of all time. I have no idea why.

    thanks for bringing this up. interesting!

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    1. You might have had an influx of fans of Pow Wow! The post was a good springboard for discussion for readers, so I think that's the main part of its success.

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  13. I can see why that post might be popular!
    I wish I had the time and patience to revisit old posts and update them. One of my most popular posts is about fat vampires - apparently people want to see a fat version of Twilight's Edward!!

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    1. I remember the fat vampires post - it was a unique and informative one and I've not seen a similar topic since. that'd be one worth looking back at every now and again to see if you get get more people reading it :)

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  14. I always find awful typos and grammatical errors when I look back at older posts. Now that my html is stronger, I can go back and fix images that in odd places and such.

    For the longest time my most popular post was a 2-parter on Wise Man's Fear, but that record was broken by my fangirl crazed omg I met Scott Lynch post back in January. That's gonna be a tough record to break.

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    1. Fan-girl fuelled posts are a surefire hit :)

      I always kick myself if I see an older post with a typo. I think "Gah! how long has that been left like that for all the world to see?!"

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  15. Great advice. I did this when I moved to wordpress. I found out that my old posts has weird code added by Blogger. I went through each post to correct and update all links too. A lot of work but tiring.

    I added a popular post thing and I was surprised at my most popular post.
    "It’s All About Me Blogest" http://iamhrsinclair.com/blog/2011/02/16/its-all-about-me-blogest/

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    1. How does Wordpress compare to Blogger?

      Just goes to show that people want to hear about you :)

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    2. I started on Blogger about 4 years ago, switched to Wordpress about 2 years ago, and like Wordpress better. more open ended options, easier drag and drop, but much steeper learning curve.

      Southpaw, what's your experience been, wordpress vs blogger?

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  16. My most popular one is still "A for Alliteration" because of an image from V for Vendetta and V's alliterative speech.
    http://www.callieleuck.com/2011/03/for-alliteration-guest-starring-v-for.html


    Another high-traffic post is "T for the Tudors" http://www.callieleuck.com/2011/05/t-for-tudors.html and if you look at the pictures I think you can guess why.


    "V for Vetinari" is my favorite high-traffic post, and people searching for "Vetinari" or "Lord Vetinari" are some of the highest key words. http://www.callieleuck.com/2011/04/v-for-vetinari.html

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  17. Nice! I google that speech a lot. I can see how the Tudors pic would get you so many hits too :)

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Thanks for commenting! Feel free to ask any questions you like here; I'll do my best to respond to every comment here.

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