One of the negative things with blogging is that it is mostly focused on new material. You must create new content regularly in a consistent posting schedule to keep your readers coming back, commenting on your articles, sharing it to friends.
When your article goes down your main page or goes on the second page, it will stop receiving visitors, it will stop getting comments and in case you monetized the post with some personal recommendation it will stop sending traffic and revenue.
Increase the lifetime of your articles
I’m currently trying to increase the lifetime of an article as I believe it gives a better and fuller experience if a first-time visitor has access to some of the older content as well, and not only the most recent posts. I do following things at the moment:
- Featuring a larger number of articles on my front page. I currently have 18 articles on my front page. I wouldn’t recommend having 18 full articles on the front page normally as it will slow down the page and decrease the usability, but Thesis theme makes it so easy to feature a large number of posts with the short teaser previews.
- Linking to my old articles from my new articles. I am doing this regularly. For example at the end of the article I sometimes write a paragraph about what to do next where I suggest what posts to read next. When the reader has finished reading, it is a nice opportunity to suggest something new to read.
- Having a static page that lists all my articles. My create a blog step-by-step page lists majority of articles I have written on this site. I have collected them in topic-by-topic list and given it a major spot in my menu.
- Creating the most popular articles list in the sidebar. This is a standard plugin which shows the top 10 articles measured by page views.
- “See more” at the end of each article. This is another plugin which lists 5 related posts to the post that you are reading currently.
Most recent article still takes all the attention
But that doesn’t seem to help out too much. Take for example a look at my page view stats for yesterday. My most recent article had 191 page views while the second most viewed article only had 24 page views. The most recent article had 8 times more page views than the second most viewed article!
So the question is how to keep that good posts you wrote some weeks ago back in the spotlight for your visitors?
Bringing the spotlight back to your old articles
I have been thinking of some other changes I can make to improve the lifeline of older articles. Here are the changes I made today:
- I removed the featured posts I had on the front page. This means that now all articles I show on the front page are teasers only. This increases the number of articles a user sees above-the-fold when he enters my front page. The most recent article is no longer the only article visible.
- I removed the date from the articles on the front page. As my articles are not abut current events, they do not lose the value a week after or a month after. This way I hope to give the same spotlight for the article I wrote today as for the article I wrote last week.
- I put the popular articles in a more prominent position, higher up in the sidebar. Now it is visible above-the-fold without scrolling down.
Some other ways I am thinking of improving the lifetime of my older articles:
- Send tweets about an older article
- Revisit the article, update it and repost it back to the top of the front page
- Put an older article back into the RSS feed
- Making some older articles sticky to my front page
- Publish regular “status” articles with best posts of the month, most visited posts of the month, most commented, most retweeted…
What steps do you take on your site?
What do you think? Is there anything you do to bring some of your best posts back into the face of your new readers? Do you think some of my suggestions might work?