Blog Maintenance On Old Blog Posts, Part 2

One of the blessings of writing a blog for a lot of years is that you prove your dedication to your craft. It also gives you a lot of content that you can share or rewrite or use to boost your newer posts via internal linking; not enough people remember that.

This piece of cake needed maintenance,
but it was tasty!

One of the two curses of having a blog for so long is that sometimes you have no clue what time has done to an article. I’m not talking about articles written on topics or items that no longer exist; I’m talking about things you might have put into an article that you’re not a part of any longer. This is another part of blog maintenance you need to consider.

The other curse; finding out you wrote a different blog post a year earlier with almost the exact same title! That’s what I discovered after the face, as I wrote this post a year earlier; ugh! Same title and topic, but different perspectives; I dare you to top that! 🙂

Anyway, early on when I created this blog, I signed up for a bunch of different affiliate programs, only one of which I’m still a member of. What I used to do was write an article about a topic, then either link to a product or add a product at the bottom of the article. The hope was if someone liked what I’d written about they might click on the link or the “buy” button and I might make a small chunk of change.

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen all that often, but I kept trying; I’m not a quitter until I’ve exhausted all avenues. However, once I quit and moved on, I’d forgotten that I had a lot of products set up on articles that have residual garbage. In essence, what’s left are either words, words with a buy button or just a buy button.

The articles with buttons are actual dead links, and dead links will bring your blog or website down if you have too many of them; no one wants that. But when you have nearly 1,450 articles, and the majority of them are older… that’s a lot of time putting into maintenance.

The lucky thing is that the links throughout the article itself were all removed by a plugin called Broken Link Checker. The unlucky thing is that if a link was embedded in an image or within a HTML table the plugin wasn’t 100%. As you can see in the examples I’ve shown, I have lots of things like this I still have to address.

Of course if it was only affiliate links, I’d know I only have to visit older blog posts. Life doesn’t work like that, however; I have a secondary issue that I’m sharing pictures of.

I used to use a plugin called Compfight to bring images over from Flickr to this blog and all my other blogs. It made sure it only brought over articles that were allowed by the creator via Creative Commons, which means it saved a lot of time because I didn’t have to go to the website and search for images.

At some point the Compfight people decided (or were forced) to discontinue the plugin… without notice. I figured it out on my own and that’s when I started using more of my own pictures. These days it’s a mix between mine and some from Pixabay. Pixabay allows you to download the image and upload it to your blog or website; all they ask for is attribution (and an occasional donation) to the photographer if you’re up to it. I’ve done that here and there.

The download part is important because that’s not how it worked with Compfight. When they shut it down, some of the images that were on my articles totally disappeared. I only found out about that part last year at some point, and I’ve been trying to put something new in.

That’s not the only issue with Compfight though. If you see the image that’s long, you’ll notice it added the words “Creative Commons License”, thus distorting part of the article. For whatever reason, the dissolution of the plugin caused a change in the original code for some of the images; this is a more voluminous issue than the first one. It’s a quicker fix though; all I have to do is go into the post and remove a little bit of added code.

In a way I’m lucky in that I’m always going back to look at older articles for some goofy reason. Without doing that, I’d have had no idea how bad some of this detritus makes my articles look; ugh!

If you’ve been writing your blog for at least 3 years and have ever added affiliate links, images that weren’t yours, or links to outside sources, you need to check on those articles from time to time to see if those things are still active and legitimate. I’ve spent a lot of time correcting links and fixing images and I still have a long way to go. It’s something to consider doing to protect your investment, be it your blog or website.

10 thoughts on “Blog Maintenance On Old Blog Posts, Part 2”

  1. Hi Mitch, oh yes, it’s a lot of work! I’ve been doing mine for some time but need a few more hours a week to work on them. I had orphaned content which is not good for SEO so I’ve been working on those and with each going through the links and such and making updates.
    It can take a lot of time but will surely help with the SEO as well.
    I do check plugins daily and update as often if required.
    That’s a bummer about your plugin for images and what happened. Plugins can be nasty when they don’t work!

    1. I don’t check anything daily except comments, and these days it might take me a few days to get to those. The clean up does take a toll on time, but what’s great is that All In One SEO, the plugin I use whereas lots of others use Yoast SEO, now allows you to update titles instead of them forcing it in. That’s helping me with search engines because finally they can find a lot of my titles. Good things come from looking back to checking things out; thank goodness! 🙂

  2. We frequently check our old blogs and try to make them better with the latest trend. It’s the best way to get traffic on our posts. But we must have some useful and engaging content for it.

    1. If you’ve put up non-useful content in today’s world it’s going to take time to rewrite those articles if it’s what you want to do. I go back and forth between making some private and rewriting those that are still evergreen.

  3. Hi Mitch, I am quite new to blogging (just about a year) but I had no idea the necessity of checking up on broken links regularly. Even though my site is still quite young, after reading this I checked and realised I has a source in one of my earliest posts, that lead to an error, presumably a dead link.

    Is there no such plugin that can notify you when these links are broken or more relevant or updated source material becomes available? Maybe I should look further into that.

    Thanks for your post anyway, definitely made me consider being more vigilant with my content. Suppose its just like pruning a hedge, got to keep everything in order and looking pretty.

    1. I mentioned in the article that there’s a plugin called Broken Link Checker. It does a great job, but it also uses up a lot of resources. The way I use it is to activate it, let it run for a day or so, go in and either accept all its changes or fix the ones I know need a small change and then deactivate it again.

      Maintenance can take a while sometimes but it’s worth the effort in the long run. Thanks for reading.

  4. Hi Mitch

    Yes, keeping things up to date and “clean” is quite an undertaking.

    When I’m good, I try a schedule like going over 10 old posts a week.

    That gets you to review the oldest 500 or so each year.

    But I’m not always good about it, and too much time goes by that I let things sit unattended.

    Then I struggle with whether or not to “republish” and old article after updating it, or simply write a new one.

    The good thing is, as you mentioned, when you’ve built up a nice collection of articles, it gives you continual internal resources to link to.


    1. I don’t have a schedule for updating things like images. What happens is when I’m marketing one of my articles I’m adding an image to Twitter so it’ll show up better. If the text of the message is messing up image placement I go into edit and fix it. I also run Broken Link Checker every 4 months or so; I have it running now, and in a little while I’ll go see what “new” sites might no longer be around. I like your schedule, but with all my blogs and writing for others it’s hard to set up a real schedule.

  5. Yeah, I also agree, being timely is something you need to consider when writing a blog because it will help you drive traffic. I’m actually doing an update for my older blogs but I guess I need a little more time to finish them. Nice article Mitch!

    1. Thanks Anna. Truthfully, I’ve done a lot of editing, which has included changing images since I changed my theme, but I realized that I can’t do all of it at once and still do everything else I need to do. I think it’s important to figure out what’s been most beneficial as well as what you want to promote the most first, fix those articles and go back to the others when you have the time.

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