If you’ve been blogging for a while, you might look at your old content and wonder when, if ever, you should archive blog posts. When deciding whether or not to do so, you should keep in mind the importance of continuing to get value from your old posts and making it easy for your current readers to discover them.
First, let’s define “archiving.” You’re probably familiar with the term from your email, where you likely delete emails, star them as important, or archive them to save them without clogging up your inbox.
However, your blog doesn’t work like your email account. By default, every post you’ve ever publicly published is archived. Readers might just have to click back a few pages or do a search to find them. However, just because a blog post is archived doesn’t mean it’s easy to find or that it’s organized as well as it should be.
If you look back at some of your old blog posts and realize they’re no longer relevant, on-topic with your current focus, or up to your current quality standards, you have a few options to consider:
- Delete: You can permanently delete them from your blog
- Unpublish: You can remove them from public view and keep them saved as a draft
- Make private: If you have a WordPress.com blog, you can make your blog posts only viewable to site admins or make them password-protected (only people with a password can see them)
So what to do with those old, hard-to-find blog posts that are just as good and relevant as when you published them? You have two options.
1. Republish old blog posts
You can republish an old blog post so it shows up as new on your main blog feed and/or category pages. Before republishing old posts, you should spruce up the content by adding new information or photos. For example, you could update and republish a holiday gift guide post each year.
In WordPress.com, you can easily change the publish date on an old blog post in the post’s editor screen (under Publish Date in Post Settings).
2. Custom-archive old blog posts
You can make it easier for current readers to find your old blog posts by customizing your blog’s archive. For instance, you could create one of these:
1. Year/month archive: You can add a sidebar display that shows the number of blog posts you published in a particular year or month. A reader then clicks to see the blog posts you wrote in that month.
You can easily do this with the Archives Widget on a WordPress.com blog. You can also use archive shortcode to create customized archives inside designated pages and posts on WordPress.com sites or blogs.
2. Greatest hits: Want to showcase your top five or top 10 articles of all time? Create a new “Greatest hits” page, add it to your top navigation menu, then manually insert a title, promotional blurb, image, and link to each of your top articles of all time.
It’s convenient that a blog archives all your posts automatically, but that doesn’t mean they’re organized in the best possible way. If you use one of these strategies to archive blog posts in the most helpful way possible, you’ll ensure that readers will be able to find your top content.