How To Update Posts In Your Archives [Day 27 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog from Problogger] 

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Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.

Here’s my notes and some further thoughts on Darren Rowse’s Problogger Free Podcast on 31 Days to Building a Better Blog. You can listen to Darren Rowse’s free podcast here Day 27 How to Update Posts in Your Archives. The complete list of challenges can be read here on Day 0 – Welcome and Introduction

Become A Problogger with Darren Rowse

As I’ve mentioned before, to get the full benefit of this series I’m going to go at a slower pace by posting this series typically on Tuesdays each week. I hope with this challenge we are all able to improve our blogs and websites.

So lets do this together! Day 27 here we go! Subscribe and check back often! #31DBBB

Day 27: Today the challenge is to update posts in your archives.

Today will be a broken link hunt. Yet there are some other things you can do to improve your older content as well. So keep on reading!

When you create a link in your blog post to another website initially that link will work. That said, over time you are bound to get broken links on your site. That is because people change their sites, don’t renew their hosting, or delete their sites.

Why Broken Links Are Bad for Your Blog

Broken links can cost you in two ways. This can have an impact on you SEO. Google recommends you regularly check for broken links. More importantly, broken links mean frustrated readers. This can result in people un-subscribing, un-following you on social media, or simply deciding not to return to your blog. So it’s good to regularly be checking for broken links.

How Finding Broken Links On Your Blog Can Create Opportunities

Here are four opportunities that you may encounter by finding broken links on your blog.

New Website Links. Broken links create opportunities for you to find new sites to link to. This could allow you to read further on a topic.

Furthering Community. Broken links can result in building community with new bloggers or website owners. By finding new links you could reach out to other bloggers or website owners in your niche. This could lead to some great, mutually beneficial partnerships.

New Content. Broken links can lead to you to developing your content further. If a link is broken perhaps this is a good opportunity to write a new blog post?

Up to Date. When you fix broken links your site will seem to be up to date to your readers. This will reduce your reader’s frustration and give the impression that your site is useful.

How to Check For Broken Links on Your Blog

Manually checking each link might be practical  if you only have ten or so posts on your blog.

Others who have been blogging for some time will need to use some tools to identify broken links on their blogs. Here are a few suggestions.

Google Webmaster Tools. This may be a good starting point.  This will give you a whole bunch of great information. This service is free and a great way to dig into your Google analytics.

WordPress also has great tools such as Broken Link Checker. A bit of a caution thought on this kind of plugin. Link checkers can really slow down your site. The reason is when you have a live sight these checkers are crawling your site in the back end and will identify broken links given time.

Xenu’s Link Sleuth is one that is a windows only app that is quite technical.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider. There’s no screaming but this is a similar app that you can download which you can run on your desktop or laptop. There’s a free version that allows you to scan for a limited number of links. To use the full features including finding broken links, word count, errors, redirects, blocked URLs, etc. of this tool you would need to pay for it. Currently, it costs 99 British Pounds a year which would be roughly $140 US Dollars.

W3C Link Checker is another great option Darren recommends. This one goes very deep and takes some time to process.

Whatever tool you use it’s worth checking your website for broken links on a regular basis.

What to do When You Find Broken Links

broken links

First, you might want to change the link and fix it.

Second, you might want to delete the link if it no longer exists. An alternative link might work as well.

Third, if the post doesn’t make sense anymore then perhaps make a note in your blog post that you deleted a link as it no longer exists.

Fourth, in some cases you may want to delete the post all together. Particularly if the tool or product has been discontinued.

Of note there can be extreme cases where links can actually harm your readers. If someone discontinues a domain and another person with malicious intent buys the domain it could result in malicious content to your readers. This could be linking readers to a link that could include a virus or malware. Or even potentially pornographic websites. So checking your website for broken links is essentially looking out for the best interest of your readers as well.

Review and Update Your Archived Content 

If you don’t have a big site or don’t find links that could be fixed consider going to an older post to review. Find an archived post that is six months old or older. Check it for spelling and grammar. Perhaps add a nice image to it. Perhaps you could re-format the post. Particularly if you re-designed the blog.

Then ask the following 7 questions when reviewing and updating your archived content:

  1. Is the post still relevant for my readers today?
  2. Can you update the post with newer information?
  3. Do you need to delete it as it’s no longer relevant?
  4. Could you write a new post that gives an update on the archived post?
  5. Could you re-share the post on social media?
  6. Is this a post you could re-purpose?
  7. Could you turn the post into something else like a slide-share show, an infographic, podcast, YouTube Video, Facebook Video, etc.?
Further Reading:
Previous Challenges in this Series:

Do you check regularly for broken links on your blog or website? What ideas did this give you to improve your blog?

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{Click to go back to day 26 here} {Click to go forward to day 28 here} *Coming Soon*

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About Jonathan Key 110 Articles
Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.

77 Comments on How To Update Posts In Your Archives [Day 27 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog from Problogger] 

  1. You’ve raised some great points. I had a webmaster screw up my transition to wordpresss a few years ago and have tons of bad posts, partial posts, etc. It’s just that there are so many! It’s a chore to fix, since my website is not meant to produce revenue. But I definitely want to start working to fix it over time.
    Carol Cassara recently posted…Don’t be a plantar fasciitis wimp!My Profile

    • Carol, I’m so sorry a webmaster messed up your content! Maybe try to tackle one or two a day for say 10-15 minutes at a time? That way the task won’t seem so daunting. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Carmen maybe take a few minutes each day to check on one or two posts. Let’s say if you check on 1 post a day 5 days a week in a year (say 50 weeks) you’d have checked on 250 posts. Did you see the tools and links listed to help you identify posts that have broken links? Let me know if so can help! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Hey Jonathan this is my kind of post! 🙂 Full body, with a hint of work to do and apply myself.

    I will share my tip. I used the screaming frog FREE version and enjoyed it. But I have a tool that allows me to also ensure my posts are broken link free…Its called refreshing posts and adding them to a newer post. It forces me to check that the links in the backlink are up to date…of course backlink checker helps. What I do is I deactivate it once I have run a check once a month and that helps with the speed issues. 🙂
    Loved it!

    • Julie thanks for the well thought out comment! I’m glad you were challenged by this blog post. That is an interesting concept of refreshing posts. I like that idea! Thanks for stopping by the blog and adding to the conversation!

  3. Thank you! I’ve been blogging for 7 months and I still have a lot of learning to do. As I grow my content, archiving is very important avoiding clutter and for a user-friendly experience.

    • Ron, I agree that as we grow our content want to make sure that it is clutter free and our readers have a good experience. I try to learn something new every day! So we’re learning together. Thank you for stopping by!

  4. I tried using the broken link checker on WordPress that you mentioned and one was not compatible with my version at the time and the other was taking forever and in the end I honestly did not understand the report. Guess I will have to go back and try again. Thanks for this.

    • Claudette, I’m sorry it was frustrating. Have you thought about upgrading your site or theme? It may take a couple tries to really get the hang of it. Also, to understand what the report says. Let me know if I can help! Thank you for reading.

  5. Wow this is definitely helpful. I’ve forgotten about all my old posts and it would be nice to check if all of them are still working! Who knows, I might even be able to re-publish some of them. Thanks for the tips, once again, Jonathan!

  6. Such a great resource which could be so useful for many new bloggers around. The Broken Link Checker from WordPress sounds like a great plugin to use, but I agree such plugins can slow down the site as well. I love the guidance of how posts can be updated to fix those broken links easily.

  7. Oh I so need to do this. I keep planning on doing a few posts each month, and then time gets away from me and I have not even tried to do one! For all those who believe blogging is a small little hobby… 😉

    • Marissa, blogging is very involved and can be tough. I agree it can be hard to set aside time to review our archives. Maybe set aside say 10-15 minutes a day to review your archived content? That way it won’t seem like such a daunting task. You can do it! Thanks for reading!

    • K Lee, it can be really useful to take this challenge. I know I’ve learned a ton! Yes tracking down broken links can be very useful for your readers. Nothing like the frustration of coming across a broken link. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  8. This article is perfect timing for me. I have recently started doing a “content audit” of my top 30 posts. I am going through and weeding out dead links, updating images and SEO (man I have learned a lot in my 5 years blogging…and I still have so much to learn), adding affiliate links, etc. This is a great article and I can see I have a lot more updating to do! Thanks for reaffirming that I’m making the right move in taking on this task!

    • Rose, it can be a lot of work but so worth it. Periodically auditing your content is really a great idea. Particularly to improve SEO, update images, and weeding out dead links. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

  9. As always, a wealth of information. I love the 7 questions to ask about archived posts. I’ve been blogging since 2010 and am eager to get busy analyzing mine.

    • Pamela, those questions can really be useful in updating your archives. So glad you stopped by and checked out this post. Sounds like you have some work to do! Just take say 10-15 minutes a day to review one blog post. Might even be a good idea to repost some revised archived content! Thanks for reading!

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