Getting More Out of Your Blog Archives

Bloggers typically dedicate a lot of thought and effort into topics that should be covered with their upcoming posts, and rightfully so, but older posts are often quickly forgotten both by the blogger and by readers. As a blog continues to publish new content the archives will grow larger and larger, and for many blogs the archives include a wealth of information and content that is not being maximized.

For most blogs, posts from the archives can continue to be useful for years to come (of course, this depends on the specific content of the post) if they are actually seen by visitors. The archives can be helpful for a number of different purposes, including attracting new subscribers, building a newsletter list, selling products, promoting your own services, promoting affiliate products, selling advertising, and more.

If your blog has been around for a while, chances are you have archives that could be doing more for you, and helping more readers at the same time. If you’re looking to get more out of your archives there are two things that you need to know first:

1. What posts from the archives are already attracting visitors? You probably have some specific posts that attract search engine traffic on a consistent basis, or maybe a popular website or blog linked to one of your posts and it results in a consistent flow of referral traffic.

2. What posts from your archives would you like to get more exposure? Maybe these are you best quality posts that would showcase your expertise, or maybe they would be good for promoting a related product or service.

Tips for Improving Posts That Already Attract Visitors

So you’ve done some analytics research and you know that a few of your posts attract a decent number of pageviews each month without any effort from you. Most likely they get a steady flow of traffic from search engines, but it could be other sources as well. The typical situation is that you probably created a quality blog post, it attracted some links, you haven’t paid any attention to it since then, but it still gets a steady flow of traffic. The traffic is great, but it could be much more valuable to you if that traffic is converted into something specific. That “something specific” will depend on your blog, the subject and content of the particular post, and the approach you want to take with your blog.

Here are some tips for getting more out of these types of blog posts.

Think of the Post as a Landing Page

Landing pages are used for increasing conversions. Often it is the page where a visitor lands after clicking on an advertisement, and there are a few common characteristics of landing pages. An effective landing page will have a clear purpose, it will lead visitors towards the desired action, and it typically will include as few distractions as possible. Blog posts are usually much different from landing pages, but the posts in your archives can essentially serve a similar purpose. A landing page is measured by it’s effectiveness at converting visitors, often in terms of a conversion percentage. While blog posts are not measured in the same way, if you can make some tweaks to a blog post in your archives so that it gets more conversions it will be doing a better job to help grow your blog.

Here are some ways that you can evaluate a blog post from your archives to think of it more like a landing page:

How are people arriving to the post? And what are they looking for?

We know that the post is already attracting some traffic on its own, but the source of the traffic will tell you more about the specific people who are arriving. Are they coming to your post through search engines? If so, what search phrases are they using? Are they coming via links from other sites and blogs? If so, what is the content of the page that is sending the traffic to you, and what is being said about your post when they are linking to it? Once you know this information you’ll know more about the mindset of the average visitor that is arriving at your post and what content they are after.

As was already mentioned, landing pages are often used with advertisements. So in that case the designer of the landing page knows where the visitors will be coming from, or at least what type of ad they will be clicking on when they are led to the landing page. The landing page is then tailored to appeal to this audience and to address their concerns.

What type of conversion do you want?

If you’re going to think of the post as a landing page you will need to have a specific conversion in mind that you would like visitors to take. It could be to subscribe to the blog, buy a product, sign up to your mailing list, like your Facebook page, click on an ad, etc. Once you know the conversion that you want it will be much easier to make the appropriate changes that will lead to that action.

Is there anything that needs to be added for the conversion?

Say for example that you are working to improve the value of a blog post that was originally published 1 year ago. Six months ago you released a product of your own for sale. That product is promoted in your sidebar, but sidebar promotions are generally much less effective than promotions within the content of a post or page. So in this case you may have a post that was published before the product was created, but the topic of the blog post is directly related to the product and those who are reading the post fit into the target market of the product. In this case you may benefit from going back and adding a paragraph to the post to mention your product, and include an “add to cart” or “buy now” button right from within the post content.

If you don’t have your own products, similar things could be done with affiliate products. The details of the call to action will vary depending on the post and what you want to promote, but the idea is to include a stronger call to action. This can work even if you are not selling anything. For example, if you want to increase conversions to your mailing list you could edit the post content to mention that you provide similar information through your newsletter, and include a sign up form or a link to a page where people can sign up.

What product or service could you develop for this audience?

In some cases you may want to think about developing a new product or service in order to have something to offer to the visitors that are arriving to a specific post. This is probably only relevant in situations where the post from your archives is attracting substantial traffic, and the visitors are using search phrases indicating that they are in buying mode. You wouldn’t want to take weeks or months to develop a product to promote on a post that doesn’t get enough traffic to justify the effort. But one of the most difficult aspects of selling a product is getting it in front of the right people. If you already have a post that is attracting the people you could create a product that matches what they are looking for, and the promotion work will be much easier.

If you are considering developing a product or service you may want to test the demand for it by simply promoting a similar product as an affiliate. Chances are there is already a similar product that has an affiliate program. It would take very little time to sign up for the affiliate program and edit the post content to include some basic info about the product with your affiliate link. If the product sells very well, maybe it would be worth your time to create a product of your own. If it doesn’t sell very well, chances are the demand would also not be that great for your own product and it may not be worth the time to create.

What distractions could you eliminate?

One of the key elements to increasing conversions with landing pages is eliminating unnecessary elements and distractions. This often includes limiting navigational options that can take visitors away from the landing page before they have made a decision on the call to action.

In the case of a blog post you are probably not going to go as far, but there may be some distractions that could be eliminated to draw more attention on the call to action. Some obvious examples would include links within the post content. In general, links within a post are a good thing because they can be of use to the reader. But if you are trying to increase some type of conversion make sure that other links within the post content are relevant and necessary. Links that are excessive or unnecessary, whether it be internal links to other posts on your blog or external links to other sites, can be removed.

Maybe there are ads on your blog that distract from the call to action that you are looking for from this particular post. Maybe everything in the sidebar is an unnecessary distraction. In these cases you may want to create a separate template for the post that will limit the distractions. WordPress users can use plugins like Single Post Template (there are other similar plugins as well) to specify a template for an individual post. It will take a little bit of extra work to create the post template, but it’s a great way to control the most important posts in your archives. For example, you could create a template that removes AdSense or any outside advertising and instead promote your own product that is relevant to readers of the post. Likewise, you could use the template to promote a high-paying affiliate product that is highly relevant to the topic of the post.

Use a Popup or Notification Bar

Popups are kind of annoying, but when they are used effectively they get results. Maybe you don’t want to use a popup on every post/page of your blog, but that one specific post from your archives that attracts a lot of new visitors from search engines would be ideal for promoting your newsletter or blog subscription. Popup Domination is a popular plugin that helps to promote your mailing list, and it gives you control to show it only on pages and categories that you want.

Notification bars at the top or bottom of browser windows are also helpful for increasing conversions, and many visitors find them to be less intrusive than popups. For WordPress users there are a number of notification bar plugins available, but FooBar allows you to show a customized message on specific posts. This can be really helpful for increasing the effectiveness of posts in your archives because each one can use a message that is highly relevant to readers. Use the notification bar to promote one of your products, an affiliate product, your mailing list, a free e-book, or anything that is relevant to readers.

If you promote a lot of affiliate products on your blog FooBar is a great resource. Look at the posts in your archives that attract the most traffic, find affiliate products that are highly relevant to the topic of the post, and create a FooBar just for that post that will send traffic to your affiliate link.

Use the Post to Funnel Visitors

Maybe the posts from your archive that receive the most traffic aren’t really all that important to your blog. Maybe there is no relevant product or service that you could promote and the options for generating some type of valuable conversion is really limited. In this case you may want to use the post to funnel visitors to another page or post on your site that would be more valuable to you.

You could go about this by adding a brief message at the top of the content with a link to the desired page/post. This is especially helpful if the page/post that you are directing visitors to is an update to the post, or is directly relevant to the exact top of the post. Obviously, it won’t work as well if you are trying to direct people to a page/post that isn’t so relevant.

Create an Ad Spot Specifically for the Post

If you have a specific post or a category of posts that attract a lot of visitors, you may want to explore the idea of selling advertising on those specific posts. Most blog advertising is site wide, which makes it easy to manage. But by creating ads for specific pages you can make the ads more relevant to visitors, get higher click-through rates for advertisers, and higher rates for yourself. For example, if you have a site wide ad slot that sells for $3 per 1,000 impressions, you may be able to sell the same ad on a specific post for $6 per 1,000 impressions to an advertiser who has a product that is a great fit for the topic of the post. Creating post-specific ads can be easily done with the Single Post Template plugin that was already mentioned.

Tips for Improving Traffic to Specific Posts in Your Archives

So far we have looked at a number of things that you can do to increase the effectiveness of posts that are already receiving traffic. Maybe you have posts in your archives that could be really valuable, but they just don’t attract much attention. This happens all the time with blogs because new content is typically what gets the most attention, and older posts can easily get buried. Here we’ll look at some things you can do to get more out of these posts.

Add More Internal Links

One of the easiest and most effective things that you can do is to simply add more links to the posts that you want to get more attention. This could be links within the content of new posts that you publish, it could mean going back and editing old posts to include links, or it could mean creating related post links at the end of your posts. A lot of blogs show links to related posts at the end of each post, but the problem with automated related posts lists is that you have very little (if any) control over which posts are included. If you want to direct attention to a specific post (or multiple specific posts) you can manually add the related links at the end of posts and this way you are sure to get more links to the posts that are most important.

Turn it Into a Post Series

If you want to attract more attention to a specific blog post, consider posting turning it into a series by posting on a different aspect of the same topic. Of course, in all follow up posts you will include a link to your original post that you want to get the increased traffic.

Link to it from the Sidebar

Most blog sidebar’s include links to popular or important posts from the blog’s archives. Adding a link to the sidebar can help to get more life out of your post.

Promote Pillar Content in the Footer of Your RSS Feed

Pillar content is a term that refers to your highest-quality content that is useful to extremely readers and is basically your most important, most representative content. There are a number of WordPress plugins that can be used to add content to the footer of your RSS feed. Some bloggers use ebooks or specific content as a bonus for subscribers, and then link to those bonuses in the footer of the RSS feed. The same thing can be done to promote posts from your archives if there are specific posts that should be getting more attention.

Make it “Sticky”

Blogs typically display the most recent post at the top of the front page, but it doesn’t have to be this way. WordPress users can make any post “sticky”, which means that it will remain on the front page and have priority over new posts. To do this click on the “edit” link next to “Public”, and then check the box for “stick this post to the front page”.

WordPress Sticky Post

Of course, this isn’t something that you will want to use in all situations, but it is one possibility that can be considered.

Add to Navigation Menu

In some situations, if the post is extremely important, you may want to consider adding a link to it in your navigation menu. This is definitely something that will not apply to most situations, but if the post in your archives is one of the most important things on you site, you could consider it.

Convert it into an E-Book

Sometimes you can gain more exposure for your content simply by re-packaging it. If the content of a post in your archives deserves more attention one option is to convert it into a PDF e-book or special report and distribute it that way. You could give away the PDF from other pages on your site, or even offer it to other bloggers to give away to their readers. You could do this with a single post, or you could combine several posts and use them as chapters in a book.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Do you face the challenge of getting more out of your blog archives? Have you found any good solutions or ideas for accomplishing this?

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