Case Study: How to Breathe New Life into Your Tired Old Blog

Case Study: How to Breathe New Life into Your Tired Old Blog

Reader Comments (79)

  1. Interesting post today as I have considered this very thing several times. I have been re-working my site though not quite to the extent as in this article. But it does give me some really good idea. Another great post here.

  2. Nice post.The ideas you have given are being so much helpful for my blog.It changed my view to operating blogs.This post is full of wonderful ideas.Thanks.

  3. A blog redesign and refocus can be the most liberating experience.

    Sometimes you feel like you’ve been backed into a corner (by your own doing) with you blog and you just want out.

    A redesign and relaunch can energize your content creation and really allow you to take off!


    Ryan H.

  4. The key to reinvigorating an old blog is to find a new niche to expand into so you get a little more room to breathe. For instance, for years I wrote an SEO blog, but after a while there isn’t anything that new or exciting to say. So I started thinking, what is related to SEO that my readers would find interesting? I branched out and started writing about social media and content marketing, both which are still relevant to an audience interested in SEO. You don’t have to completely revamp your way of thinking, just expand.

  5. Question – am currently in a discussion on this topic on LinkedIn where one frustrated blogger literally deleted all his old content, pages, post, etc. because he wanted to start fresh. The discussion has been focused on whether this is a good idea or not (he felt his old content/writing wasn’t that good and didn’t represent who he was today, thus it had to go).

    My thinking is that he just killed off 8 years worth of authority, backlinks, and content that constitute a major SEO no-no. Others in the discussion feel that he’ll maintain his authority, most backlinks are too root domain anyway, and won’t be bogged down with lesser quality content.

    Anybody have any opinions on this sort of “redesign” effort? Just curious – thanks πŸ™‚

    • I think you’d want to look at the stats to find out where the traffic was coming from and which pages were being linked to. That’s a good point. If some of the posts weren’t good, that’s probably a reason to delete them. However, with that said, I’m amazed at how many people still contact me to say thank you for Computor Companion articles I wrote 5+ years ago.

  6. This really got me thinking – thank you!

    Not only could you take a tired old blog and reinvent it, but it’s a process that can be used to reuse some of that old content that we put out there before we really found our voice, or got into the stride of blogging. Going back and revisiting older material to bring it into line with the current blog philosophy is something I try to do, but it’s a daunting task sometimes!

    Of course, another consideration is to ensure you don’t lose all the great SEO credit you’ve built up over time, which could be a challenge if the old keywords are no longer all that relevant. Essentially, you’d be starting over from an SEO point of view for certain things, depending on how drastic the overhaul is.

  7. Hi,
    I really like the bringing up of the “what to do with my blog”- question……………….what would I do?
    a) Take down the old blog and start over with something new?
    b) Sell the old blog to someone who will give it the love and attention you once did?
    c) Reposition and revive the old blog?
    Well, I really like my blog and think I would just like to work on it and perhaps change the header a little?
    I think IΒ΄ve grown and perhaps should I reflect that in my header? But hen again, I get the words all teh time on branding and how important it is to stick to the SAME pictures and logos etc. so that people “recognize” you?
    I donΒ΄t know but why not dare and change?????? ItΒ΄s tempting! Thanks for the inspiring post!!!

    • There’s nothing wrong with updating the look of a blog. Copyblogger did that not too long ago in fact. They kept a lot of the same feel as far as colors and white space, but it was still a fairly substantial redesign, as I recall.

  8. Love the ideas, especially reorganizing the blog. It is not that hard to do if you have a few hundreds of posts, which most tired blogs do. By the way, I thought I was the only person that loves that movie, lol

  9. wow – this came at a very opportune time. I’ve a gardening blog, and have also over a hundred gardening articles out there, linking back to it. However, after moving into a condo, and missing my garden and its inspiration, I’ve let the blog languish.
    Now I’m thinking – growing food – cooking – yup, I can revive that blog with some work. Since I’ve just published my first Kindle e-book, a recipe book about Quinoa, this opens up a whole new line of thought for me.

    • That’s a great transition. I’m vegan, so I’ve found that my gardening and cooking hobbies cross over a lot. As my garden got larger and larger, I learned about canning and pickling, for example πŸ˜‰

  10. Deleting my content is something I could never do, it would be like deleting my children! If a blog became stale then I’d always try and breathe life into it insteasd of killing it.

    • I only deleted a few articles off Computor Companion. Mostly it was ones that were time-sensitive in some way. I did that with another blog I revamped as well. “Newsy” things don’t age well.

  11. Susan,

    One other tip thhat I would offer the readers, is to OFFER LESS at one time.

    Yep, it sounds a little counter-intuitive, but if you give your customers over-choice, they’ll end up chosing NOTHING. Mny blogs fall into this trap. You’ve got an add to click over here, a sweet offer over here, something shiny over here, and… oh wait, a light-box that just popped up asking for my email.

    When you decide on a focus for your site and you funnel each person towards that focus, and only that focus, then your conversion will increase and your overhaul will be totally worth the effort.

    -Joshua Black

  12. I have struggled with the direction I want to take my blog. I tend to make it stale by just not updating it on a regular basis. I know I need to sit down and come up with a plan/calendar of post for the month, but am just be lazy and it shows in my irregular posts. Your post might be the push I need to get on track. I just need to set my goals.

    • Creating an editorial calendar might help. At the very least, brainstorming a bunch of ideas and writing them down somewhere gives you a bunch of “fodder” to work from when you have time to write.

  13. Luv the new angle idea Susan. I did this with my cash gifting blog. I intend to see the blog through the eyes of my prospects, before each posts, instead of writing what I want to write about. Massive SEO boost, really solid traffic come from google, and my prospects, opt-ins, and team has grown, with my team doubling in the past 6 months. Taking a fresh, new angle makes all the difference. Thanks Susan.

  14. Thank you for your contribution, Susan, I am a fan of your work.

    All good points here.

    No matter how good you are….after a while….you reach a saturation point. Your interest starts to taper off and you find your self withering on the vine. There are limits to growth even if you are a professional.

    The best thing to do is to start another blog. Or have multiple blogs. And follow your muse according to your subject and interest at a given point in time.

    For example, if you are in the mood to write about coffee, write about it on your coffee blog. Next day, if you get bored, well, write about meditation on your personal development blog. Third day you can write about the benefits of exercise on your fitness blog. There is no rule which says that you can only have one blog or a limited number of interests.

    Be versatile in order to get over your boredom. If you are versatile, you can always jump from one hobby to another.
    Life is too short to be little. No need to have a narrow focus. Expand your mind, broaden your horizons.

    At least that is what has worked for me, but it may not be everybody’s cup of tea. Have a good one. Cheers.

  15. Hi Susan,

    I see you come from the publishing industries. People who write books go through a trial and error phase and and editing phase and then a go to market phase. Bloggers can’t gate jump unless they have a sizeable reputation someplace else.

    I don’t get that comment on deleting content. It’s your goal to meet your goals. I like Joshuas’ comments on too many avenues of distraction. It’s a design issue. Graphic designers prefer white space to clutter and so do I. I worked for designer Terence Conran in Visual Merchandise. It was our job to dress windows. The least cluttered and focused shop windows did best in Sales.

    Try all of these tips before you try anything radical. I did all of these last week and recieved 20 fold increase in traffic. Comment on 5 of the best blogs in you space each day. Also SWOT their blogs for their weaknesses and your opportunities too. Also see what’s working in your local mall. Look for the shops people are spending money in. Why? How could you use what retail marketeers they are doing to change your blog? Think about colour/ style/ offers/ customer service (read community building).



  16. A few years ago I thought about deleting an old blog and starting over. Quite a few of my friends said I should copy everything and save it if I really wanted a fresh start. I thought: Um, yeah, whatever.

    I’m so glad I listened! I spent the past weekend reading through five years’ worth of writing and all I can say is ‘thank goodness’ I kept it all. Now I see why some people have journals from when they were pre-teens.

    It’s helpful to see where you’ve come from in writing!

    Thanks for such a perfectly timed post.

    • Hi Dee Dee…that’s great! I have to say I’m a digital pack rat. You never know when something you’ve written might come in handy later πŸ˜‰

  17. Susan,

    It was an inspiring post! I never applied the idea of a face lift/plastic surgery to a blog before.
    I know the disenchantment well, however. I’m also sorry to say that I have dismantled about 20 posts over the years. I’ll make sure I give more attention to revitalizing old blogs rather than just shut them down in the future.


    • Hi Dean…I think anyone who writes goes through phases of disenchantment. But sometimes you can give old things new life. In the crafting world, I’ve seen the term “upcycling” where you take something old and improve it or make it into something completely different. It’s a similar concept here I think πŸ˜‰

  18. I can’t tell you how timely this blog post is. I’ve been thinking about redesigning my crochet blog, which started off as a hobby blog. I’ve been doing some haphazard monetization, but I realize that I need to find a new angle and set some goals before I go any further. I also want to redesign the look. This information in this post is going to help me organize my efforts. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Hi Patrice…that’s great to hear! I confess that I’ve tried crochet and I am really not good at it. I checked out your blog and I love the URL. Just remembering that might help me. I need a blog like “easy crochet for the seriously uncoordinated.” That would be me πŸ˜‰

      • When I teach crochet, I deal with students who run the gamut in terms of that “coordination” skill set required to crochet. Some people catch on very quickly; I call them “crafty” (like some people are “handy.”) Others need more help getting the knack of holding the yarn, hook, and fabric all at the same time. I really like teaching the latter group because it challenges me to find new ways to teach them how to crochet comfortably. So your blog idea is actually information that some people might find useful. I’ll have to put it in my bag of ideas for consideration :-)!

        • Cool! Another thing that occurred to me is that a friend of mine took up crochet after she had some health issues. Crocheting helped her deal with the stress and she started making afghans for soldiers serving overseas. Crafting can be both therapeutic and helpful to others πŸ˜‰

  19. What perfect timing. I was just having a conversation with a friend last night about what to do with my blog & whether it needed a revamp or change in direction. It was only a thought which had occurred to me in recent days but in the last month or two, I’ve really struggled to find ideas to write about.

    My first step is to think about what other problems my content might solve? My content is rather specific & narrow but I’m sure I can come up with something.


  20. This a great article. I know when I had my recipe blog I had or 2 years, how I started it and hen when I retired it, I had 2 different blogging styles. I constantly made it over, I had great audience I was up to 60,000 page views when retired. (health issues was reason I decided o retire it) I did just start a new one but already I changed my blogging style, it really does help.

    • Congrats on continuing to blog, even with health issues. I think the key is to just keep at it, even when the going gets difficult πŸ˜‰

  21. Terrific framework to dust off a good’ol blog Susan … I like the fact that you skirted on the issue of “perfectionism” when it comes to launching…It’s daring and I like it!

    Also, you are killing me with drop dead Fred… Hadn’t remember in decades:-)

    • Yes, perfectionism kills many a blog. Nothing is ever perfect. I think it’s better to have something out there than waiting until everything is “just right.” Because it never is.

      I read somewhere that they did a remake of Drop Dead Fred. I’m sorry, but I don’t think anyone else could play Fred. It just wouldn’t be the same πŸ˜‰

      • Agree … that guy was born to play Fred. In fact I’ve never seen him ever again, in any role!

        See ya πŸ™‚

  22. I like the idea of organizing your site over and giving it a facelift with a new theme. I think you can and will get allot out of that as long as your content is organized also.

  23. I loved reading about how you did this, Susan! Thanks for sharing your story. It’s both instructional and inspirational. Now I have to cruise on over to the blog and see what it looks like!

  24. My humor blog is almost three years old and I’m not ready to do anything drastic to it. I still feel like it’s in it’s infancy stage. I’m still figuring out how to promote it, what days are better to do blog postings, and how to get the people who send me texts or email feedback to start doing it by commenting on the actual blog itself. My website, however, is a completely other beast. Whereas the blog is ok, my website needs to be completly bulldozed and laid to rest. I’m working on it though.

  25. I have only been blogging since December, 2011. I started out naming my blog New Beginnings because I was taking a more professional approach to my writing. After about 4 or 5 months of writing daily, I had a critique done of my blog by Laura Barnes of Laura B Writer blog. While there were things she liked about my blog, there were also many things that she thought could be improved upon so I decided to completely revamp the look of my blog. I already had a healthy beginner following so I knew my content was right on target but the overlook of the blog wasn’t professional enough and the title didn’t convey enough about the writer side of me. Today, I have a professional looking blog and I have tripled my readers. I’m happy and looking forward to continued growth, but YOU be the judge…come visit me at ON THE WRITE TRACK at …;0)

  26. Re-inventing products is something that is done all the time in the corporate world. Actually, I just noticed today as I was driving that all the McDonald’s have a new arch on their buildings. (I might be behind the times if this change is old). My point though is that re-designing and re-building can really be a good thing for a business.

  27. You nailed the needle in the haystack.

    > β€œYou see, when something’s not working right, the best thing is to tear it apart to make it better.”
    Wonderful words of wisdom.

    I can’t help but think of the bionic blog … “Better than it was before. Better…stronger…faster.”

  28. Even though I am quite new and novice when it comes to blogging, May I chip in my views on the subject?
    a. One should have clearly laid out reasons for a change – it can be just plain emotional (need for a change) or it can be any rational need ( a new topic requiring a totally new way of presentaion).
    b. Evalaute wheher the exisiting blog can meet these demands – If yes, then write down all and each reasons or justifications and review after some time; If no, still wite down ‘Why No’s and review, at least more than once, after reasonable gaps of time.
    c. Do follow ‘5 WHY’.
    d. Ensure that you have a clear reply with you: Whether you want a faceover, a makeover , a toatl overhaul or a new blog.
    e. Do you want keep your old blog alive – again , either for emotional or rational reasons? OR Would a connecting link(s) for carrying over the legacy connections can do the job? OR Has the break to be one clean swathe?

  29. Glad I found this! I hadn’t updated my first blog in months because of the same reasons you mention and I’ve created about five more different blogs since, completely ignoring my old one (which is about beauty and a lot can be said). So, yeah, this gives me motivation. Thank you! πŸ™‚

    • Good luck! You’re right…a lot can be said about beauty. Look at all the magazines out there that have existed for a very, very long time. There’s a market πŸ˜‰

  30. Really interesting – I did get stalled about 8 months into blogging. I wasn’t having fun anymore and it was getting difficult coming up with new things to write about. Fortunately I worked my way through it and, like you, I basically repositioned my focus and while it wasn’t exactly a remake, I did freshen the look of my blog. It was just enough to make a huge difference – since then I find I have a wealth of things to write about. I think it was just a natural part of the evoluation of me finding my way toward the right mission.

    • I like the word “evolution.” People often think that a blog is “done” once they have it set up. That’s rarely the case. Like every form of communication, the best blogs evolve over time. Kudos to you for continuing to find the way that works for you. Sometimes doing that can be hard πŸ˜‰

  31. Actually, yes – I have torn down my blog and rebuilt it twice, now. Not exactly because I was getting bored with it, but because I gained some insights on how to make it much better than it previously was.

    A lot of it had to do with not having a clear direction for the content at first, then realizing that the direction I had decided on previously wasn’t effective. Now that I have a clearly defined niche in my content and have a regular post schedule in place – I can see a major difference in traffic and a lower bounce rate. It’s fantastic.

    I also think that I should refrain from doing this in the future – I’d like to keep this ball rolling for a while. Too many changes in too short of a time frame could damage the reader-base that I already have. I’d rather avoid that. πŸ™‚

    Great advice, though. I’ll definitely be looking this up if I ever decide to make another shift. Hopefully many years from now.

    • Writing and blogging is a constant learning experience, so it make sense that things change over time. But yes, consistency is good too. Here’s to keeping that ball rolling πŸ˜‰

  32. Hi Susan ,

    You just pointed it out. Great article !

    I have set up a blog in 2009, just for the purpose of having fun and extend my HTML / CSS knowledge.
    In 2009 the feeling of designing and running a blog kept me motivated. My perfectionism mired my down after a while ( as you write it ), since I always needed to split my concentration between new features I wanted to implement, troubleshooting functionality issues and posting.

    Adding continously new content to a Blog while working on the main layout can keep you quite busy and can drag you down, since you do not get the feeling that there is a point at the end of the sentence and you finally can concentrate just on the content.

    So it took some time and I started to redesign my blog this year. Learning from my experiences and feelings I not longer want to have everything perfect. Ofcourse it is still important that things look good and are functional. But small issues do not longer drain my energy.

    In the last years I made some websites / webshops and started to recognize that from the angle of developement things always can be extended, improved, pimped up. One needs to find the point to say it looks ok , works and is useable.
    Since we all are creativ and a website or blog is a fantastic opportunity to live this out, you need to leave well alone sometimes when you project is in an acceptable state.

    In my case it is the same, a couple of old posts could be deleted or re-categorized. The time will come where I will do this. But I feel no rush that it needs to be perfectly sorted out instantly. And without this rush there is no pain in the neck.

    Thanks for this nice post. I totally agree with what you wrote.



    • Yes, you’re right perfectionism and analysis paralysis are enemies of getting things done. It sounds like you’ve worked through it though. Write on!

  33. I introduced major changes to my blog last month for several reasons:
    -I like writing about lots of stuff
    -With more topics to write about, I don’t feel like I am imprisoning content in my brain

    So what happened?
    As a law student, who is fascinated by business, news and family life, I created several subdomains, installed WordPress on each, so that every topic has its own ‘castle’.

    It was ‘a lot’ of work doing so but I like the new site. Now I can freely write on all the topics I mentioned above and publish the content instead of letting my posts lie idle in my computer’s hard disk.

    Challenges (or questions) you might face when you take this route
    -Should I create sub domains with different WordPress instalation or create a multi-site?
    -Should I create different Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, RSS, mailimg list for each site?
    -How will I manage all the sites?
    -Should I delete some posts or rewrite them?
    -What will happen when my regular readers find there are siignificant changes on my site?

    Liked this. Happy blogging.

    • Most people would say that it’s important to stick to one topic. However, like you, I get bored writing about just one thing, so I definitely understand your perspective. I have sites about small business, book publishing, caring for pets, pet adoption and rural living.

      If you work on more than one blog like I have done, one thing you have to accept though is that you can’t write for all the blogs all the time, much less have RSS, FB, etc. going for all of them. Or if you can, you’re one heck of a fast writer and/or way more of a workaholic than I am πŸ˜‰

      The key is to try and post reasonably regularly on all of them and just do the best you can. It’s not the end of the world if some of them languish for a while. And realistically you probably won’t build up a huge audience on any of them quickly. It will probably be more of a slow and steady thing. And some sites may never gain traction at all. That is why marketing experts recommend against dividing your efforts like that. However, one thing experts almost never take into account the fact that creative people get bored easily. And if you’re bored, you won’t write anything at all. So to me, dividing your efforts and continuing to be creative is better than doing nothing.

  34. Wow Susan, you’ve really hit on a subject that’s resonating with people. Add me to the list.

    I’m announcing an entirely new direction for my blog tomorrow and the relaunch will take place over the next couple of months. Any tips on the technical side of moving from one domain to another and any hurdles I should be aware of?
    Loved the article!

    • Hi Joel…congrats on the new direction. I doubt I have insights into changing a domain name that you haven’t already thought about already. When I change domain names, I leave the old one pointed to the site for a long time, just in case. Probably too long, but I figure for $10, it’s worth it to capture any older traffic. Thanks for reading. I’m glad you liked the article πŸ˜‰

  35. Thanks Susan for the great post, Things change and people change too….it is important to know how to adapt all the change and work with what we already have

  36. Your post has great timing. We are about to launch our new website which will have its own blog. We already have an external blog that still has relevant posts. Would it be better for us to copy over the best posts into the new blog and then remove them from the old or just focus on new posts and leave the old blogs where they are?

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