Should you revive an old blog or start from new

You may have an old blog somewhere that you haven’t updated for sometime. Traffic in that blog had dwindled next to nothing. One day, you decided to give blogging a go again. You go to your old blog and find that well, it would require massive cleanup because you could have written a number of thin content or many of the posts may no longer be relevant.

With time you have grown more mature and did your research. You realized that you would need to work on building your own branding and your blogs should be more niche and not just ranting or talking about yourself. If you are going to start from that old blog, the cleanup is going to be MASSIVE. It seems that it is easier to just start all over with a new domain.

In this post, I will share on my experience in doing both- starting new blogs and reviving old blogs. But first, let’s get something straight:

Scenarios where you should not be reviving an old blog 

1. When the site is already penalized by Google in the past
10 years ago, blogging farms, keyword stuffing, scrapping content from other websites were the common practice. These black hat practices were able to reap a considerable amount of revenue for its owners. Then Google improved their search algorithm and overnight many of these sites were de-indexed.

If the site has been penalized in the past, it is not worth starting on this site. This is because organic traffic would make up a majority of the incoming traffic for your website. And the traffic is free. For penalized site, it is not worth your time to revive anymore.

2. When the site’s content does not cover your niche
The old site may have evergreen or popular posts that are still driving traffic to the site. And the posts may be too general and not in line with what you have in mind now. If you feel the site is no longer relevant to your new blogging goals but still intend to keep it, then just start anew.

Case in point, the first blog that I started after I bought my own hosting is more of a life blog. I talk about my life philosophy, career, organization, health, travel ,blogging, movies, etc in that blog. More than 10 years ago, the term ‘niche’ were unheard off. Blog worked like an online journal and that was what I did- talked about everything under the sun.

Eventually I branched out and created subdomains to talk about other topics. The first category I moved out was on health. Then it was followed by creativity and few travel blogs. The growth of the blogs on specific topics were higher than my general blog.

My life blog is a blog most dear to my heart and I’ve tried numerous ways to revive it ….but nothing worked. Traffic stayed stagnant.

What you must be prepared for if start a new blog

1. You got to start over from scratch
Okay, I know this is very obvious. But you need to literally start everything all over- register for new domain, link it to your hosting account, set up WordPress, install your theme, do the customization, install Google Analytics, set up Search Console and integrate with Analytics, install your plugins, etc etc. You may also be starting a new YouTube channel, Pinterest, Instagram and have to start building a new mailing list to support your account.

You may have done it years ago on the older blog and have forgotten the steps. It is okay- take a deep breath, be patient and try to figure everything out. Then, write down the detailed steps so that if you need to repeat the process again, it will not be so overwhelming. Because there was seriously a lot of steps to follow, I wrote everything down in my blog progress journal. I was really grateful for that because few months later when I wanted to start a new blog, the steps are already there.

2. It will take time to grow your traffic
You may notice that I have not been active in this blog. But it does not mean that I have stopped blogging. In fact, I was spending a lot of time starting and growing the new blogs I have started. And I must tell you, it takes time for you to see results. And I am talking about 6 months till a year before you start to get a decent amount of traffic.

Because I have been building blogs, I know this would happen. When I build a new blog and notice traffic is not trickling in, I told myself not to give up. I continue to write content for the blog. You need to as well to hang in there and not get discouraged in the beginning when traffic is a real dismay and you are earning next to nothing for all the hard work and effort that you are putting in.

Reviving an old blog- is it worth it?

Recently I have been working on to revive 2 older blogs that I have. These older blogs were in niches that I wanted to write more about. These 2 blogs have a lot of thin content- meaning most of the posts were less than 500 words- which was acceptable years ago when blogging market is not as saturated as it is today. Traffic on both these blogs have not been impressive for a long time.

How I revived my older blogs:

1. I unpublished low quality posts
I went through the blog posts and started unpublishing low quality content blog posts that I do not consider to be acceptable. But before doing that, I did check my Google Analytics and reviewed the traffic for past 3 months. I only unpublished posts that are no longer getting traffic. If the post is still getting traffic, then I followed the step below:

2. Update and improvise the content
It still surprises me at times that content that I did not expect to pull in visitors actually does. If that is the case I would just go into the post and reupdate the content. Sometimes I write a new post and just did a 301 redirect from the old post to that new post.

2. I created my own customized 404 page
I am using the Thesis theme and Pearsonified skin on this blog. The theme enables me to create my own 404 page. This is because once I unpublished a lot of what I considered to be low quality post, the page would be invalid and I do not want visitors to bounce off my site.

Results from reviving my blogs:

When I started adding new posts into the blog, I was able to see increase of traffic within a month from adding new content- even though it was just a few new blog posts. Weeks and then as a I add more blog posts, the traffic is slowly increasing.

I also checked how long it took to index my blog post. I did some research and wrote some posts that did not have good search results. The first of such posts took about 5 days to appear on the second page of Google search result. Two months in, the timing is reduced to 2 days and could even go on the first page of Google search.

Of course, I am not focusing on the most searched keywords. I focused on very long tail keywords- things that I myself search for but the searches results does not answer my question.

The advantage of an older website (that has not been penalized) is that it already gain some form of trust. All you need to do is to do some spring cleaning, add some new content and it is good to go. You do not need to start from scratch.

But as mentioned above, reviving old blogs only work if the site has not been penalized and the content is still in line with the direction of the blog that you wish to build on.

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