Updating older blog posts: when, why, and how?

updating older blog posts,blogging,business,writing,how to update posts,promotion

Do you update your older blog posts?

Should you update older posts on your blog, and if so how should you do it? Most bloggers feel it’s right to do this. The whys and wherefores of how to do it are a little less clear. But it’s not usually enough to expect readers to check a blog post’s publication date so they realize it was accurate only when it was published.

(For a list of the top 10 most helpful articles on blogging for business as chosen by our readers, click here)

Regular updating has a number of advantages, so read on…

Here are my recommendations on how to do it, but I’d be really grateful to know what your recommendations are, too … as blog posts in varying industrial topics will have equally varying sell-by dates and hence, requirements for updating in a particular way.

Recent ideas on updating blog posts

I was talking about this very subject with a couple of close friends of mine who are very active figures in blogging and social media: Angela Sherman, a former copywriter who now runs the major UK healthcare site for seniors Care To Be Different, and Jon Baker of the leading UK site for professionals to win with social media, Excedia.

They both feel that it’s essential to update older blog posts and especially in their respective professions, this is not just a “nice to have:” it’s an essential.

Of course in the areas in which both Angela and Jon work they’re dealing with officialdom and professional protocols which simply cannot be ignored. However, we can learn a lot from what they have been saying

Does your blog need to be updated according to laws or other legislation?

If the answer is yes, it’s a no brainer. You must keep it up to date or not only will your readers find it odd that you should be lagging behind the times, but also you might even get a rap on the knuckles from officialdom for putting forward outdated information.

Watch your information very carefully.

What about technological updating?

This is not something you necessarily need to watch out for due to legal reasons, but it’s certainly something you need to consider for professional reasons if your blog is to remain at the forefront of your technological audience.

No matter how busy you might get with your techie stuff, never forget that your blog is probably your key marketing tool.

So update the techie stuff as often as you can.

And at the same time, update the human interpretations of your techie stuff on an equally frequent basis (assuming your decision-making paying customers are not techies) so everyone knows just how good and up-to-date you are.

How to go about updating your older posts

The most obvious way is to go into the older post and make the necessary changes, hit “update,” and you’re done. But is this the best and most honest way to do it? Or should you make it obvious that you have revisted and updated the post, so making your readers realize that you have made the update after the original post was published?

Personally, I prefer to do one of the following things:

Insert a “stop press.” Insert a new paragraph about the item concerned and either indent it, or highlight it as a pull quote, and head it something like “Stop Press: new rules as at (date here)” … or perhaps just “Update on technical spec as at (date here).”

Include your updates as comments on your original post. This has the added advantage of inviting readers to engage in a new discussion about your original post.

Write a new post altogether. This is probably the best option for SEO purposes, as long as the majority of the text is new and fresh. However you can use substantial quotes from the original post, interspersing those with the new information.

Promote your updating of older posts

Once you have updated an older post, you can promote the fact that there is new information to be found there – especially if you have created a new post based on the old one. For some ideas on how to go about promoting it, check out this article here.

So as I suggested above, what advice do you have about updating older blog posts in your business, profession or industry? Please share your tips!

photo credit: Spencer E Holtaway via photopin cc

Comments

comments

Thoughts

  1. I’ve always simply updated them. Having read this I love the idea of a stop press, although have recently been using 301 redirects more.

    SO in future I’ll do a new post and tell the old post to redirect everything (including search) to the new post. What do you think?

  2. That’s seems like a good idea, Jon, although if you do a redirect you want to be sure you bring forward all information that’s still relevant from the old post, into the new post.

    Whether to use a redirect or a “stop press” approach depends quite a lot, I would say, on how much of the original post is out of date.

    If it’s just one issue, it’s probably worth using a “stop press” update and then re-promoting the original post.

    However if there are two or more points that need updating, you’d be better off using a redirect to an entirely new post.

  3. Hi Suzan,

    We were discussing this very topic in brainstorming hour with Lynn Terry.

    Personally, I prefer to just do a new blog post and link to it from the older (and maybe outdated) one.

    I find that if I do revisit an old post and try editing it, it ends up being 90% new content by the time I’ve finished anyway (LOL). So, I figured, why not just do a new one, keep the old one and have more awesome content on my site for Google to index.

    Turn out most of the other brainstorming members thought the same thing.

    Cheers
    Kerry

  4. That’s a really useful article, Suze. I like the Stop Press idea – and I’ll certainly be using that. Adding a comment to my own posts (with updated information) will, I think, be good where changes in regulation/legislation is controversial in some way. That should get a good conversation going. I have previously simply ‘updated’ some old blog posts but, as you say, that doesn’t really highlight the new information. Thanks for your insights!

    • You’re very welcome, Angela! This article does seem to have gotten some people thinking about updates whereas they hadn’t before. Which method you use, I suspect, depends largely on your industry and your readership combined with how much updating is needed. At least we have a range of choices now!

  5. I love this blog post and really like the idea of a stop press. Makes a lot of sense especially as technology and engagement change with blogging and social media.
    Following from Google+ Blogging for Business community. 🙂

  6. Hi Katrina, great to see you here! Glad you found this article useful.

Thoughts

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