As you build your blog’s readership and you have some success with social media, you may find that some of your most popular posts are continuing to draw visitors long after they have been published. A few months down the road they are unlikely to still be seeing considerable traffic from social media (although StumbleUpon will sometimes continue to send traffic), but these posts tend to draw a stream of visitors from:
- Inbound links from other websites and blogs
- Search engines
- Internal links (popular posts lists for example)
While the number of daily pageviews may be overshadowed by your most recent posts, if you look at your stats over a longer period of time you may be surprised to see how many visitors are coming to your old posts that were big hits with social media. This presents a great opportunity that most of us don’t maximize.
The natural reaction is to look at the stats and appreciate the fact that social media and link building have worked well to produce ongoing traffic to these posts, but that’s usually where it ends. We don’t consider how we can improve these high-traffic posts to capitalize on the exposure that they are giving us.
Ways to Improve Popular, Older Posts:
1. Link to Related Posts
The posts on your blog that are drawing considerable ongoing traffic are a great starting point to attempt to funnel those visitors to other posts on the blog. Chances are you have a few other posts that are related to the same topic that many visitors would also be interested in. If you use a related posts plugin this should already be in place, however, you can still improve upon it. With related post plugins you’ll have no control of what posts are linked to, and those links are generally ignored anyway.
Try adding a brief parargraph at the end of the post that will mention the other related posts, and give readers a reason to stay on the site. Also, you may benefit by going back through the post and looking for places where you can add a link within the post to other posts/pages on your site. These contextual links will often have more of an impact than a list of related posts generated by a plugin.
2. Add a Comment and Link to Newer Posts
Some of your commenters may be subscribed to the comments (if you offer it). If you have a newer post on a related topic, consider adding a comment with a link to the new post. Anyone who is subscribed to the comments will then get your link in their email. Additionally, the link will be there in the comments for new readers that decide to also check out the comments.
3. Submit it to Other Social Media Sites
Form time-to-time you may come across new social media sites that you start using. When this happens, take a look at your most popular posts and see what might be a good fit for that audience. I’ve used this approach for my primary blog when I started using Design Float and Design Bump. With social media you’re not just limited to your new posts, although that’s often all that we consider. If an older post was successful with one social media site, maybe it will be successful with others.
4. Add a Call for Subscriptions
Your old posts that draw consistent search engine traffic may be an excellent source of new subscribers. To encourage more visitors to subscribe, you could add a message or link to specific posts. Maybe you have a post that’s a year old that draws good search engine traffic, but it’s a bit outdated. You may want to put a paragraph at the beginning or the end of the post stating that the post is older, but to stay up-to-date on the subject they can subscribe to your blog.
5. Add Affiliate Links
If you have old posts that are getting decent amounts of traffic, you may be able to monetize those pages be adding some relevant affiliate links. Take a look at the subject of the post and see if you can find any affiliate products that are related or that you could market to the same target audience. However, be careful with affiliate links, some visitors/readers will not appreciate if you do it too much.
6. Promote Your Own Product or Service
If you are a service provider, older posts can be an excellent form of marketing. Consider adding some info at the end of the post about the services that you offer and how you can help readers. This is something that I need to do more of at my primary blog.
7. Update the Post from Time-to-Time
Some blog posts are highly time sensitive and others can stand the test of time and continue to draw traffic and interest from readers. For those that are time-sensitive, consider updating them every now and then. Keeping them somewhat fresh will improve their usefulness for future visitors and will help them to continue to be productive posts for you.
What’s Your Experience?
What do you do with your older popular posts? Do you make an effort to improve them or to get more out of them?