April 10, 2016

Starting new blog in place of old? It will hurt if you are not careful!

Do you have a blog that you have ignored for long, and you are not sure whether to dump it and start a new one or rejuvenate the old one?

You have both the options but take the plunge after carefully examining the pros and cons. 

Option I: Trash the old blog and start a new one
It is like uprooting an old tree and planting a new sapling in its place. Uprooting the very old tree that has lived its life or is diseased or has been deeply mauled by a hurricane is a good idea, but you should not cut a healthy tree only to plant a new one.

Option II: Enliven the old, ignored, blog
When the tree that looks disheveled due to lack of care can be revived, straightened, and spruced up by proper trimming and manuring, it's better to do that.  But not, when it is beyond repair.

What all you should check to decide whether to revive the old blog or not


Weigh the existing resources. Check if you can easily  create better resources and copy-paste good ones from the old blog. If so, content creation for the new blog would not be a problem if you want to do away with the old blog. But if the old resources are going to make the bulk of the new blog, you need to think of tweaking them and letting them be where they are. 

Same goes for design: Can you create the same level of design quickly for the new blog? Can you transfer these design elements to the new blog? Or, on the other hand, creating a new design will be too much of a bother?

How long have you ignored the blog? If you have let the blog decay for years, chances are that most of your old comments, links, blogroll, etc might have become obsolete and useless. Your old blog buddies might have forgotten you. If that is so, closing the old blog would not be a pain. 

What type of domain name does the old blog have? Is it a free blog with .blogspot.com / .wordpress.com / .tumblr.com type endings or is it a self-hosted blog? Or is it with independent domain name but freely hosted on Blogger or cheaply hosted on Wordpress.com etc? If it is a rare, very special, domain name that you want to retain, no more questions need asked.  But if you can change it, you have both the options still open.

How much traffic it used to generate and how much it gets on its own even now? If your old blog has good content, it might have generated good traffic when you left updating it, and it might be getting a trickle of traffic even now. Do you want to lose that traffic by abandoning the blog? Will you be able to regain that much traffic quickly?

Is the old blog still showing up on search engines?
Search Google, Bing and Yahoo for related keywords and check whether the blog shows up. At what number? If it shows up in the first 30 results for two-three relevant keywordsthere is a strong case to rejuvenate the blog rather than trashing it.

How to go about renewing the old blog? 

 
If you decide to re-use the old blog, you will need some work - perhaps some hard work. Let's quickly see, what.  

  • Analyze the usefulness of each post and decide which ones to keep. 
  • Write new posts at a fast pace, till these have established themselves. In most personal blogs, it would mean publishing about a dozen new posts within less than two months. 
  • Update old posts with new developments. 
  • Look at data in old posts. Update it if required. Remove posts if their obsolete data cannot be updated. It will otherwise hurt your blog's reputation.
  • Improve old posts with new headlines, keywords, addition of images, etc. Re-edit content to improve language and formatting. 
  • Write sequels (e.g. a new travel post about the same destination; or a new story from where you left an earlier one; or a new recipe in the same category). Don't forget to have cross references between the earlier and new posts.
  • Re-design various elements. Categorize posts, especially old ones, and improve navigation to these.
  • Since you are making a new beginning, consider converting the blog into website or transferring it to a new platform or hosting it independently if it was earlier on a free platform, or making it part of a portal.
  • Go big on social media. Tweet new and sometimes old posts; be on either Facebook or Google Plus or both; think of LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat etc if these suit your blog.
  • Re-purpose old content on Slideshare, Medium etc so that you get more views for the same content. However, do not just duplicate the same content everywhere; give a nice intro, summarize the main post, and give a link to it.

Let's re-emphasize that linking old posts on new ones works wonders for discovery of old posts. The link here takes you to a detailed post on this subject - proving the point!