I’ve always believed that sometimes we need to look back in order to move forward.
This is true both in life and in blogging.
If you want to revive an old blog and build it from a place of purpose, you have to look back, assess your current blog situation, and make the necessary adjustments.
First order of business, you want to review your old blog and see what has been working for you and what hasn’t. If you’re totally new to blogging (like, zero experience), you can skip this step and move on to the next lesson.
But if you have been blogging for a while, you might have started blogging without any specific purpose. If you’re like me who’s been around since the time blogs were mere “online diaries” (ah, the good ol’ days!), I have a feeling your idea of blogging is still about documenting your life, sharing random things, and talking about anything that strikes your fancy.
But when we talk about blogging with purpose, it takes a lot more than just blogging about random things. You have to be more intentional. And it all begins with assessing what’s been working for you and what hasn’t. A blog content audit is just what you need.
You can use my Blog Review Workbook for this if you like, but any piece of paper or digital notepad you have on hand will do, too.
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1. Review your current blogging process
Think about what already works for you and what doesn’t.
- Does publishing content daily or thrice a week work for you or a bit too much? How about once a week or once a month?
- What specific blog series or blog categories help your bottom line and what doesn’t?
- Does finishing blog posts in one sitting work well for you, or do you write better in small chunks over a period of a few days?
- What are the parts of the process that you’re not particularly keen on doing? (Hint: Consider outsourcing technical stuff like WordPress design, optimization, Pinterest promotion, or editing, so you can focus on content planning and creation.)
The rationale is simple. You want to do more of the things that work for you, and less of the things that didn’t. More importantly, you want to improve what can be improved, or totally let go of the stuff that prevents you from blogging purposefully and passionately.
2. Review your past blog content
Start a blog content audit with a quick trip down memory lane and dig into those old (embarrassing) posts.
Are there specific topics you really enjoy writing or topics you think are important but not as fun to write?
Dig into your Google Analytics (or Jetpack, if that’s what you have on) and see which ones are your most popular posts, which ones are getting the highest traffic, etc.
If your most popular posts have nothing to do with the direction you want to take your blog, you need some quick introspection. Consequently, if the blog topics you’re passionate about do not get as much traction, you should rethink the way you present your content.
Here’s a personal example. For years my most popular blog post was the one where I talked about Bella’s Room in the first Twilight movie. (Ring a bell? Bella? Edward? Vampires? Hello?)
I’m not very proud of this post but for the sake of education (you’re welcome!), allow me to link it up. Here, if you like to see.
It was 2009 when I published that post and obviously I was smitten by the details in Bella’s room—the color of the walls, the twinkle lights on her bed frame, her bedsheets. By the way, I got a lot of inquiries about those bedsheets! (Unfortunately, I wasn’t into affiliate marketing yet and I wasn’t able to cash in on that traffic!)
Years after I wrote the post, it was still getting a lot of traffic from Google from Twilight-related keywords. It was all good. After all, blogging about trending topics is a good strategy to attract new readers. Then again, it would have been so great if that particular post had anything to do with my career, business, or goals in life, am I right?
Say, if I was an interior designer, I could have easily cashed in on that post by asking viewers to sign up for more interior design tips or maybe offering my services.
The thing is, people who are Googling details about Bella’s room in Twilight are most likely uninterested about the topics that truly matter to me. Which means,
All of that search traffic did not add any value to my bottomline.
In fact, it even strayed away from my desire of using my platform to share my faith, because I mean, vampires and God is just a really weird combination. >.<
Understandably, I didn’t have any business goals for that post specifically. In fact, I didn’t have any goals at all other than talk about my fleeting juvenile obsession about the world’s most favorite vampire couple.
I was merely blogging about whatever I liked at the moment, and while it served my purpose in the moment, those types of posts didn’t really add any value to my career growth, my business, or my calling.
If you have Google Analytics or whatever web analytics installed in your blog, dig in. WordPress has a built-in stat counter through the Jetpack plugin too, so if you activated that, you can use that as well. Dive in the stats and see your most popular posts.
A couple of questions to ponder upon as you go about this exercise:
- Is your current content relevant to your target readers?
- Are the topics you’re passionate about getting significant traction?
- Are your blog posts in line with your blog goals?
By the way, if you currently have about 30 blog categories and you create content for every single one of them, my friend, you’re doing it wrong. Unless you’re Buzzfeed or Huffington Post, you don’t need all of those categories. It’s time to purge your blog categories too.
Extra Challenge: Consider applying the life-changing magic of blog decluttering ala Marie Kondo
Here are more in-depth guides if you want to dive deep into the nitty-gritty of a blog makeover:
And now that you’re done looking back, the next step is to move forward.