When I have free time for blogging, I spent most of the time drafting posts for the upcoming publications. It has never been a smooth process considering that I have general ideas but when it comes to the details, I would just stare at the screen contemplating the words to use – to start the post off and then go clueless on what comes next. Cartoon source: Danziger / New York Times
The next thing I do when I have free time to revisit my old blog posts, visit other blogs that I follow and if need to, comment on their blog posts, update my Facebook page and Twitter with the latest updates & news, upload my photos into Instagram and do research or watch the net for new general knowledge.
Talking about revisiting my old posts, it is really a mundane boring work which I predict will take me at least a few months to clean up.
Here are the 6 things that I need to be doing in the coming months to clean up, to revamp up my old posts.
1. Add Missing SEO Keywords
Like many who started with a self-hosting WordPress site, I too started with Yoast SEO plugin for the website optimization. But soon I found it to be not so user friendly, lacking good features (unless you go for the Premium version) and complicated. Image source: Tenthousand Foot View
Then I found Rank Math which was a newer SEO website optimization plugin for WordPress. It was user friendly and packed a good sizeable feature. Yes, it is free to use for now but I am pretty sure that it is free for now because the developers want a sizeable number of users and also to establish the plugin in many sites before switching off some of the features and offer them again under a Premium version. Please see the comparison here.
Rank Math has a built-in SEO Analyzer which is great to find what is missing in my blog posts related to SEO. I did the same and immediately have a link of posts that has missing keywords. I am pretty sure it is also missing meta descriptions as well.
Why ensuring blog posts do not have any missing keywords is important?
SEO is optimizing your web pages for better ranking in search results pages (SERPs). Part of the SEO process is using keywords: words and phrases that describe what your content is about.
Then Google uses that information to determine which content is relevant to a particular search query, and how the page should rank in searches for a particular term. That’s what gives a web page its search ranking.
As at the time of the writing of this blog post, I still had about 1,157 blogs posts that are missing keywords. It will take up to open up these posts and understand them again (some of the old posts are simply brilliant, some simply dumb) before I attach the relevant keywords.
2. Clean Up Grammar And Spelling Mistakes
I know my limitations when it comes to the mastery of the English language and the number of grammar & spelling mistakes I would be making whenever I am rushing to do a blog post. Image source: www.montevallo.edu
So to minimise mistakes and to ensure words are more structured, I would draft the post in a Ms Document first. This will help to eliminate most of the spelling mistakes and some grammatical errors from the content.
However, the problem is, once I have completed the draft and uploaded into WordPress, ready for publication, I would have some change of mind and continue to edit in WordPress. This reintroduces spelling and grammar errors in the blog posts.
So this needs to be cleaned up all over again. To do this, I use Grammarly for Chrome extension which does a pretty job of checking the content as I review it in my browser.
3. Add Missing Images And Broken Links
Broken links are bound to happen especially when one links photos or stories from other websites and they have changed or archived that link. Image source: SOS SAHEL
I am using the Broken Link Checker plugin to verify the links and alert me on those links that need to be updated or deleted. Some of the photos/images I used in the older blog posts seems so outdated and needs a refreshed update.
On the images in the blog posts, some of it has missing images or images that do not justify the story in the posts or simply has the wrong dimension.
I used to have photo accounts with Flickr or Photobucket but I have not used them for years and along the way, the links have changed, causing broken links. Another I noticed is when I migrated from the free WordPress site to a self-hosted WordPress site, the photos from the old blog site were properly migrated but some of the blog posts were still linked to the old site and not the new ones. I had to fix those broken links again.
For broken images, until I come around to editing those blog posts and replace the missing images, I presently am using a default image replacer (Replace Broken Images plugin) to keep “something” in place of the missing images.
4. Revamp Old Blog Post Titles And Blog Contents
Once upon a time, I cared less on the title of the blog posts – SEO was an alien concept and I just put on something to briefly explain the content. Sometimes it is just a quick posting before I close the door. Unfortunately, that “something” was not proper and does not really attract the attention of the readers.
And over the years, it simply got worse when I re-open the older posts and the post titles do not make any sense. To add salt on the wound, there are titles that do not make any connection with the actual content of the posts.
And with SEO plugin in place, blog titles are also ranked for positive/negative sentiments and also the use of “power words”. So this requires a serious review of the blog titles so that it conforms with SEO optimisation and also for higher SEO ranking.
Then there is the content itself that needs another round of review and updating.
I was surprised to find blog posts that seemed to been done in a rush where it is almost a one-liner than a proper post. Fast forward to the future now, I wonder why I did that.
Adding keywords and others to check the SEO rank score for the posts, it may require me to add more contents, images and even links to improve the lower SEO rank score. And this is what I have been doing in the background for the past few months especially on the weekends and when the lockdown is in-force.
5. Review Blog Categories And Tags
This is something I seriously considering to get revamped as well.
For my recent blog posts, I have added a general category as part of the title but the actual list of blog categories and tags had remained unchanged since I started blogging 15 years ago. And over the years I have wrongly been using it – at times, both category and tag have the same value.
However, I do acknowledge that there are some differences:-
Categories are meant for broad grouping of your posts. Think of these as general topics or the table of contents for your WordPress site. Categories are hierarchical which means you can create sub-categories.
Tags are meant to describe specific details of your posts. Think of these as your site’s index words. They let you micro-categorize your content. Tags are not hierarchical.
There’s no specific number of categories that you should have. In most cases, you’ll want somewhere between 5 and 10 in order to properly categorize your posts and make your site easy to browse.
Categories are meant to encompass a large group of posts. You can use sub-categories and tags to split your posts into smaller groups.
Guess how many categories that this blog has? Way too many – 112 categories!!
These categories need to be reviewed, edited and merged so to reduce the numbers to a few key ones and the specific details to be pushed to the tags. The Bulk Move plugin is a great tool to move categories to categories and tags to tags but I still need to check the contents before deciding on the category to tag to.
6. Delete Dumb, Short Blog Posts
Looking back at all the old blog posts now, I do feel embarrassed reading my own old blog posts and soon I was in a dilemma.
Do I keep these old blog posts which NOW sound dumb, wrong or angry and take time to edit them so that it becomes less dumb, wrong or angry? Or I take the easy way out and just flush them down the toilet?
In most cases, I opted for the latter as it is the easier thing to do except for those where I have a really good content where there is a serious point to be made and I have invested a lot of time to do research and thoughts into it.
Since last October 2019, I have deleted a good number of blog posts which I feel is no longer conforms to the general direction of this blog. I have also deleted a number of blog posts that were probably written with high angry emotions and may attract wrong responses from the authorities in the future.
When I started off in my own site back in 2019, I had almost 1,700 blog posts that do not score anything on the SEO but I have worked on it since and after 7 months or so, I now down to almost 1,200 blog posts that do not score anything on the SEO. I have deleted a good number of blog posts in the same time period.
Improvements will take some time to be updated and this will compete in time for my more important task for the blog – creating content. But at least, I know things to be done on the older posts.