Mobilise Your Archive! – Better Blogging Challenge

This post has been written as weekly challenge issued to the members of the Better Blogging community, a collection of people passionate about blogging and committed to becoming better at it. It’s an open and friendly group, and you’ll be made to feel welcome.

For this weeks task we’ll be putting our archives to work for us. Most bloggers have large back catalogues of content that just sits there, not pulling its weight. So we’re going to give it a kick start, and allow it to mobilise visitors to other parts of your site.

Map of Links on a blogIf you were to draw a map of the links within your blog, it is likely it would resemble a pyramid. There would be a few posts on the top, the most recent posts, with links streaming downwards into older posts. Therefore it is highly likely your older posts will have far more internal links pointing to them than your newer posts. This imbalance mostly reflects the fact that links are created when you first write a post. And obviously, you can only link to content that exists at the time. Ideally, when viewing the map of your site there would be links freely flowing in all directions, evenly sharing out traffic.

An example of a typical blog my be one which reviews gadgets. It will no doubt have covered the recently released new, improved, iPods. In that post you may very well have referenced a previous post you had written on the old iPods. This is logical and provides your readers with valuable background information. It also helps establish yourself as an authoritative writer – people like to know you’ve dealt with a subject previously and are comfortable with it. However, it is unlikely you will go back to your original iPod post and update it with links to the new review. The main reason for this is that it takes a concerted effort by the blogger to go back and find content that relates to a new post.

If however, you do go and make this concerted effort you will notice a number of benefits. Firstly, it’s a great way to see if your older content holds up today and remember, there’s nothing wrong with updating something that doesn’t sit right, blog posts are living entities. Secondly, it serves as a very usefull way to assess how easy content is to find on your site. And thirdly, should you actually go back and add the appropriate links, you will notice increased page views per visit, better search engine rankings and reduced bounce rates.

So with that in mind, this weeks task is as follows:

  1. Pick the five best performing posts in your archive. Revisit them and look for ways to link to your newer content. Don’t force it, you will likely find that there have been some common themes running through your blog that lend themselves well to cross-linking.
  2. Schedule a time, this may be weekly or monthly depending on your posting schedule, to assess your previous posts and add links to your newer content. If you can, make this part of your blogging checklist, the list of tasks you perform before sending each post live.

I’ve always found in content links far more effective than links that appear outside of the main flow of content, for example related links provided by the WordPress plugin. For further details on using in content link, see my post – Reducing Bounce Rates with the personal touch.