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Déjà vu: Should You Recycle Old Posts?

When does it make sense to recycle posts from your archives?

You might have noticed that we here at The Daily Post have been reposting from our archives on Saturdays. And if you have, what are you doing? Go outside and play already, it’s Saturday!

Just kidding. But it brings up an interesting question: have you ever reposted older content? Should you?

If you’re considering reusing an old post, there are five questions it might help to ask yourself:

  1. Has enough time passed? Ideally, before reposting from your archives, you’ll want to, well, have some archives. If your blog is less than a year old, you might want to hold off on repeats until your initial posts have aged a bit. Also, make sure your intended repost was originally published long enough ago that it’s receded somewhat from your regular readers’ memories.
  2. Was the post popular the first time around? Why repost a dud? If you highlight the same post more than once, make sure it’s a gem! If it started a lot of discussion the previous time, posting again might encourage fresh debate.
  3. Should it have been popular the first time around? On the other hand, sometimes you post something great, and everybody’s just too busy to read it that month. If you have a post buried somewhere in your archives that you thought was genius but was largely ignored, it’s possible your audience just missed it. Give it one more try!
  4. Do you have new readers? Call it Murphy’s law, but it’s a fact that whenever you receive an unexpected traffic spike, you will have nothing you are proud of on your front page, and no good ideas for anything new. This is the perfect time to revisit your greatest hits. You can introduce a repost with a friendly welcome to your new readers, and you can end it with some links to other popular posts they should check out. This way, you don’t waste the fleeting attention of new eyes on meh material.
  5. Is the post particularly relevant now? Another good reason to rerun an old post is if it suddenly becomes topical again. Perhaps the post is concerning some person or issue that is suddenly in the news. Or perhaps it’s a holiday-themed post, or one originally written on some momentous anniversary — some sites make a tradition of reposting such posts each year.

If a post you’ve published in the past fits one of the above criteria, or otherwise seems like it might be worth a revisit, don’t be afraid to post it again! (Pro-tip: for easy reposting, try the handy Copy a Post feature.)

Of course, you’ll want to acknowledge at the beginning of the repost that this is a previously published post, link back to the original, and include a sentence or two explaining why you are revisiting it now. And don’t abuse reposting — if your faithful readers see the same material over and over again, they’ll eventually move on if you don’t.

Have you ever recycled old content? Is there a particular post you’d like to feature again, and if so, why?

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  1. A few years back I wrote a short story on my blog (http://quest4peas.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/mushrooms-a-culinary-history-or-not/), and then more recently, I was challenged (in a poetry prompt group that I’m part of) to write a bit of blank verse. I took my original story and modified it to be poetry rather than prose (http://quest4peas.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/mushrooms-blank-verse-for-dverse/). So, while I didn’t exactly re-post, I did revise an old post.

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  2. Never even thought about reposting. I have some five year-old posts that still get visited. The formatting is dismal due to migrating and changing themes – so reposting with updated look seems like a useful idea. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  3. great post with good questions. I sometimes think of reposting earlier posts, posts I had when I have followers in the single digits.

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  4. I just did this last week when I knew I was going to be out of town and didn’t have any new material to post. I went into my archives and found a time-relevant entry – an April 28 piece heralding the beginning of thru-hiker season on the Appalachian Trail here in Virginia. I had posted it a year ago to the day I wanted to schedule my current post, so I took that as a sign it was the right post for my out-of-office day. I’ve picked up followers since the original posting and my new readers were glad to see it this year since they didn’t see it the first time around. All in all, it worked out well – I knew a post would go up even though I was out of town, and readers seemed to enjoy it even though it wasn’t brand new.

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  5. Some great ideas here. I have one particular post, Zombies as Social Commentary (HERE) that has had such little love. I have held off reblogging simply because I hoped at the beginning that web hits would carry it forward but it obviously got lost in the sea of zombiedom.

    I am compiling a season 4 review of The Walking Dead at the moment so might reblog it them on a zombie theme or something.

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  6. I have more than 2000 posts. If TV networks can do reruns, so can I! I’ve been ill lately, so it has been a necessity since I was not in any physical condition to write … but many posts were overlooked early on that deserve a clean edit and a new audience. A lot of blogging under the cyber-bridge since my blog began!

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  7. Thank you so much for coming up this…I am two months old to blogging world…and some of my best work have been ignored in the past…I will defiantly repost my best work once again 😀

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  8. In the last month I have been editing and re-posting some old stuff. The idea was originally just to improve and enhance the quality of grammar and aspects of SEO at some pictures posted without alt text and description. By reading the information in your article, I now have at least 5 questions that guide re-directing post in my blog. Thank you for your article this good.

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  9. One of the first posts I ever put up was a story about a famous kidnapping on a national newspaper (it’s ok, it was all a bit of a joke). I’ve had more hits on http://elainecanham.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=132&action=edit&message=1 from old hacks wanting to read it, than any other post. But none of them have ‘liked’ or commented. They just want to see who I unmask as the kidnapper. So it looks completely unloved. Which is a shame, because I think its quite good.

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  10. Hello Elizabeth,
    As you know I have a WordPress.com blogging tips blog. One Cool Site and I predate the creation of the support docs, as I began blogging here in 2006 when there was a single support Staff and a single thread of FAQs on the support forums.

    At present One Cool Site has 975 Posts, has over 4,000 followers and attracts new followers continually. (Yay!) Many of the new followers are new to WordPress.com and to blogging. Much of what I have previously published there and when answering questions in support forum threads is now reflected in the support docs.

    I most certainly do recycle posts containing “evergreen content”, which is a category I define as perpetually relevant content that provides timeless value to readers. I edit and update posts continually and one of the topics I blog about is how to refresh and feature older, still relevant blog content. So you won’t be surprised that my answer to the question posed in your post title is an unequivocal yes.

    Some content in One Cool Site blog content predates the introduction of wordpress.com stats, the “like” button, and the founding of The Daily Post, whether or not the post was “popular” the first time around is a puzzling question for me to answer. As my most popular posts remain easy to find in the SERPS and popular without being featured in any way I don’t focus recycling posts that rank well there.

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      1. Hey there,
        It’s so good to read that you love my blog because I love my followers but I have had less than a stellar blogging month. Hopefully, May will be better.

        Yes, I do have posts on how to create list posts. Go to my blog and click List Posts category in the Category widget. Then look for this title “Create List Posts with the Display Posts Shortcode”. If you need a different approach for creating list posts or help then just post a comment and I’ll provide it.

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      2. Thank you for responding and for making some specific referrals for me to check out. Always so helpful. Ironically last night, I wrote a (very simple!) list post of my strategy for almost getting Freshly Pressed. Again, my tongue in cheek humor but it seems to be working for readers. I always try to keep lots of white space in my posts because with humor, it’s important not to overwhelm the senses. Do you have any specific posts on good formats for humor blogs, by the way? I’ve done a lot of lists now and even tried a few “quiz” formats. Always searching for new and different. Maybe a funny crossword puzzle? With clues and answers having to do with Menopause. Wonder how the heck I could format that???

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    1. Time Thief, I believe a blog about blogging tips is exactly what I need – can you send me a link so I can sign up post haste? However, you should know in advance – I am not a man.

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      1. Hi there,
        Your gender is irrelevant – welcome! Click my username above to locate my blogging tips blog. Then, if you like what you find there, click the follow onecoolsiteblogging tips link in the follow blog widget in the sidebar to follow my blog.

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  11. I’ve never reposted a whole post from my archives directly. However, for my first year of blogging (12/12 – 12/13) I did a review every 3 months where I organized material from my old posts according to themes I noticed in them. At first I summarized each post individually, but as time went on I started writing paragraphs from my perspective at the time of writing the review and linking to the relevant posts at the end of each paragraph. My fourth 3-month review is a great example of this and links back to the previous reviews, for anyone who’s interested: http://adaywithdepression.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/fourth-3-month-review/

    I haven’t reviewed anything I’ve written in 2014 yet. Maybe it would help me decide what I want to write about next!

    And thanks for the idea of recycling old posts in their entirety. I hadn’t thought of doing that, but now that my blog is over a year old I’m thinking it might be helpful to me and some of my newer followers.

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  12. I did such a silly thing in my eagerness to start a blog. I didn’t know to space things out for when I had more followers — so the day I started my blog, I happily (zealously!) put up 18 posts. All original humor pieces. And I had zero followers! So typically me…. Impusive Much? Maybe I could reblog a few.

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  13. I haven’t reposted to the same blog. I had a blog that I thought the theme content and name limited my content so I created a new blog and then pulled my favorite pieces from one to the other. So now I have the best of my old stuff and the freedom to branch out.

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  14. Suppose I want to update a post that was already published. Would my readers, although few, be notified as if it were a new or repost?

    Thank you

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    1. If you update a post there is no notification sent to your followers. So what to do is to create a new post announcing the updating that has the links to all the posts you updated in it. That new post will then appear in your RSS Feed for posts and will be sent to subscribers.

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  15. When I re-blog is there any comment about the comments made the first time it was published… I have left them on and then I have deleted each comment before re-blogging… what is the best thing to do? Diane

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  16. I celebrated my first year as a blog back in February and re-purposed old posts to celebrate highlights and milestones from the first year. I think it’s OK to post old stuff as along as there’s relevance and/or interest. These questions will serve as great guidelines. Thanks.

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  17. I do plan to recycle some old posts, but intend to follow the rule of thumb as mentioned here, and wait until my blog is at least a year old.

    I already have one obvious candidate for re-posting, for the simple reason that it proved really popular despite not being particularly relevant or topical for any reason; I suspect it caught the imagination for a slightly eye-catching title (and hopefully some good writing) http://ragtimecyclist.com/2013/10/22/do-i-look-like-a-mushroom-head/. I’d love to hear more feedback on this from anyone who’s interested…

    I would say there is certainly no shame in attempting to bring a post that you are proud of to the attention of new readers, and re-posting in this way makes sense, for both blogger and readers.

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  18. Thanks for this. I usually have to do this, but I am always amazed myself at something I wrote long ago, maybe the readers would be too.

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  19. Actually I have reposted a few posts. Keeping the main theme, brushing off the subject, adding some new details, probably including other photos.

    Thank you for the article, it’s great! 😉

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  20. My blog is too new to revisit posts yet but I can definitely see the merit in reposting! Especially posts that didn’t have many hits before your blog really developed.

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  21. I’m a newbie trying to build up an archive so I prob won’t be reposting for awhile. I do, do a lot of reviews on products so those might be worth recycling during Christmas.

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