After writing about 20 articles on this website, I finally had enough content to start updating articles instead of always writing new ones. So many of us want to produce new content through the creation of brand new articles. Sometimes we often overlook the need to tend to our existing ones. Everyday, life changes, things happen and your articles can become stale over time depending on whether or not it is evergreen and can withstand the test of time. Evergreen content will probably be another article but I can say that depending on your niche, your articles might have a longer shelf life and not expire as fast. There is a fine balance between covering new topics and providing your audience with your thoughts on new ideas while keeping your existing articles current and relevant as soon as you have more to share. So that is the topic for this article, should you spend more time writing new articles or updating your existing ones?
Writing New Blog Articles: Providing Fresh New Content About New Topics
When you first start your blog, you have nothing so writing new articles is pretty much required. With no articles at the beginning, you have to provide that unique, thought-provoking and “great” content that both people and the search engines are looking for. So you are writing your articles about various topics in your niche. After writing a handful of articles, you start to wonder how many articles do you need before you start updating them. There is no hard exact answer to this. You just need to make sure that you are writing articles that have your unique spin, personality and that special thing about that gets your readers engaged in your content.
You need to make sure that you have your writing platform setup properly. That means using a recommended blogging CMS like WordPress, a good theme like GeneratePress and a fast content delivery network like CloudFlare. Make sure that you keep your web pages light since blogs usually have no need to run heavy JS or CSS. Once you have your writing platform setup, then you can finally get down to writing. I know, there is a lot of technical setup that is required at first. The time to get everything setup properly is important because once you add in your website tracking with Google Search Console and Google Analytics, Google will start to monitor your traffic. This was just a very quick “checklist” on just the minimum to get your website setup strictly for SEO. Of course, there are more things to do but I just wanted to mention this since brand new blogs will be writing articles for a while before they can update their articles.
Writer’s Block? Let Google Search Console Help You
If you set up your website tracking correctly, you will start to see which of your articles people are finding on Google. For freshly minted websites, you should just focus on ranking anywhere on Google just to make sure that your content is worthy and is in good standing with Google’s graces. So just focus on impressions for now because clicks are very hard to get. We just care that we are getting eyeballs on our web pages. People have to see our web pages first, then click on it. Once you get a good number of impressions and start moving up in the rankins, then you can concentrate on the clicks. What Google Search Console does, is report to you what people are searching on Google to find your website. Pay careful attention to what the report is telling you and note all of the statistics that the report provides. Once handy stat is average position so that you know where your pages fall in the rankings for certain keyword phrases. This will give you a good idea on which of your pages are the most popular and give you ideas for writing new articles. In the next section, I will discuss how to choose topics to write about.
Choosing Topics: Should I Write What I Want or What People Want?
When people want to first start a blog, they usually think more about what they want to write about. The reason why is because when you start a blog, you are wanting to share your thoughts and opinions with the world. So you have a list of topics that you are ready to write about and start cranking out those articles. You are sharing your knowledge and expertise and thinking how great it is that people are hopefully coming to your website and reading your articles. This is why Google Search Console is so important, it tells you what articles people like the most. So even if you want to write about this topic, some people are gravitating towards your other articles. So cater to your audience also as you write about what you want to share. Think about it, what would be the point of writing articles if no one reads them? Some articles you write will garner a lot of attention and readership. Other articles might not be as successful. The entire blogging process can be very hit or miss depending on your audience and competition.
Duplicate Content: Keep Your Topics Similar but Separate
This is one of the reasons why we have to be very careful when writing new articles. You want to make sure that every one of your articles cover a very specific topic. Of course, there will be some overlap of similar topics because your articles with criss-cross around your niche. This is great of course, because you need to link your articles together when you have related articles. I will talk more about internally linking your articles in a later section but wanted to bring it up since it does help with SEO. Getting back to duplicate content, Google does not like it when you have two articles that are nearly identical. Google does not want to provide searchers a million search engine results filled with articles that are basically all the same. So Google does its best to decipher all of the web pages on the Internet and decide which ones best answer the questions that people are searching for. How well you distinguish your articles from your competition will correlate to how high you rank.
Finding New Topics To Write About: Research and Discover, Combine Existing Topics
As we write more articles, I completely understand that sometimes we will write about the same topics again. After producing so much content, we might forget that we already wrote about this topic either a few months or even a year ago. So this is why we need to keep track of our articles and constantly be on the lookout for new fresh topics to cover. This might involve doing more research in your field to discover new and emerging trends. Get creative, start combing your topics together and come up with something new that no one has really tapped into yet. Be the first to write about something before others do. This all really depends on how much unique knowledge you possess over your competition and how well you can articulate it to your audience.
Just like everything else in life, these things take time. The only way to become an authoritative expert in your field is just living life and learning and working everyday. These things do not just happen overnight. Possessing tons of valuable knowledge to share with the world can take years to learn. Otherwise, you can run out of gas pretty quickly. Especially now since our gas is still $6/gallon. In that article, I discuss how we can run our entire lives on our phones now and how we can save on a lot of unnecessary driving due to current high gas prices. Another content writing strategy that we can deploy that will help prevent duplicate content is updating our existing articles. That will be the next section and can really help you when you have days where you just cannot write about new topics but just want to add onto what you already have. You have to do both, write new articles and update existing ones. So take time to know when to do one or the other.
Updating Your Blog Articles: Keeping Your Articles Relevant
There are just some days as I just mentioned in the previous section where you just cannot find new topics to write about. This does not mean that you just let your website sit there while you try to scrounge something up. The last thing that you want to do is cobble up a poorly written article because you felt pressure to produce content. Do not do that, that is doing a grave disservice to both yourself and your audience. Once you build out your loyal readership, they will notice a decline in the quality of your articles if you become desperate for content. This can cost a loss in viewership and start your blog on a downward spiral. Google will know and so will your viewers. During times of writer’s block for coming and writing about new topics, go back to your other articles and update them.
If you are like me, you are thinking about your blog all of the time. Was there some recent development in your field that you can relate to one of your existing articles? Or maybe, you never really fully finished writing that one article because you wanted to publish it already. This is very common, some topics we have a lot of say about. There comes a time when you feel like it is “done” and ready to publish. I placed quotes around the word done because nothing is ever really done. Even after you publish your article, you need to monitor it for performance, add SEO meta titles and descriptions, and share it on social media. You know, the typical post-publish broadcasting to the whole world. You could keep writing that one article until you are actually done but then you might just write that article forever.
Think about writing a book. Eventually you hit the last page of the last chapter and the story comes to an end. The book needs to be finished, published and sold. The book cannot just go on forever. Of course that was back then with physical print. With today’s digital age, we can always return and write some more about our favorite topics. So just publish that article already, we have to keep things moving forward. Do not dwell on writing articles for so long.
There are many benefits from updating your articles. Updating articles allows you to “complete” your article after publishing, if you still have more to write about. This gives you a chance to finally say whatever you need to and complete your thoughts. You can also link your content together and clean up any mistakes that you made if you wrote in haste. That is the beauty of the digital world, we just go back and add, update, remove content as time changes. That amount of flexibility really reduces the pressure of having to write the “perfect” article at the time of publishing. Think about your articles as having phases. The first phase is the bulk of your article. This is where most of your article is pretty much written and just needs tweaking depending on its performance. Spend your time choosing which articles to update. Your best performing articles need more attention than those lackluster ones. As soon as you learn of new updates, you should update your articles right away and give your two cents to make it unique.
Updating your best performing articles ensures that you are giving Google even more content to search. This is great because as your article grows, it will become better and better and might perform better depending on how valuable your added content is. This looks good in Google’s eyes because you are strengthening your best articles and telling Google that you really want more people to find it. Your poor performing article might need a boost but only if you can add something substantial that might help breathe new life into it. Again, every day only has 24 hours in it. So that is why I mentioned earlier that we have to wisely choose which articles are the most deserving of our time. In an ideal world, we could update any of our articles without giving them priority. This is the kind of knowledge that I want to impart to you because I find it very crucial if you are also on a journey to share your mind with others.
Search Engine Constantly Crawl Your Web Pages: Keep Your Page Current
Google has to constantly update its search engine to provide you with the best websites that have the information that you are looking for. So Google has to search the same websites over and over to make sure that they are still worthy to rank high. A website that Google likes today might change next month or next year. This all depends on how well-maintained that website is over a long period of time. Just like our lives and businesses, we have to maintain them everyday. We take a day off here or there then things get moved and have to be done later. It is okay to put off a thing here or there sometimes. We need to relax too. Do it too much and procrastination can really catch up to you. Your life will degrade and it will be hard to get your life back on track. Same thing for Google, if your website just sits there for too long with no new content, no new updates, Google will think it is stale and obsolete. Then Google will push your website down the rankings and give someone else your spot at the top.
This is why updating your existing articles gives Google something new to look at. If Google just sees the same article over and over, it is not exactly clear if your ranking will change. A great performing article might be able to maintain its high ranking if the competition pales in comparison. The intricacies of ranking on Google and its algorithm are not openly transparent or disclosed. Google wants to give a fair chance for everyone to rank but it takes a lot of devotion and dedication, just like everything else that you do in your life. So just remember that Google will come back to your articles and see if there is anything new or interesting going on with them.
Linking Your Articles Together: Helping People Find More of Your Articles
The final section that I want to bring up is important because you are not just writing articles in isolation. Your niche means that you have several articles across a pretty broad range of related topics. When you write or update your articles, make sure to link them together. This helps people read more of your articles and learn more if they really like your content. This will reduce the need for people to search your blog if they are finding similar articles. For example article A might link to article B if article B is a detailed article that was brought up in article A. Something that was interesting when I was linking my articles together was whether I should open in a new tab or not. As a web developer, the standard is usually that internal links do not open in a new tab. The reason why is because you are still on the same domain and you are keeping people on your website. You are just sending people to a different page. If you link externally, then you should open the new website in a new tab. This is to ensure that people stay on your website but can still visit any new websites that you are sending people to.
This is the part that made me think. When you have a blog, it makes a lot of sense to link to your articles and have those links open in a new tab in your web browser. Why? The reason is that some articles are very long and these internal links to your other articles might be scattered and sprinkled throughout your article. If your article is really long, then you would not want your readers to lose their place while reading your article. This will happen if you link to another one of your articles without opening a new tab. From a user experience point of view, this will be very grating and jarring to users. Users just lost their place going from your first article to your second article. Now they might have to click back on the browser and find their place again. Or, they just will leave in frustration. Save your users the hassle of experiencing that and open your articles in a new tab when you link them together.
Ideally, to really make linking your articles together really spiffy, use anchor tags in your links. Instead of just linking to an article, link to a specific section of your article. This will take users directly the part of the article that you want to reference. This prevents users from having to scroll from the top of the article and find what section you are referring to. When linking articles together remember to set them up so that they have a hashtag at the end of the URL. So instead of linking to an article with just a link like “https://www.domain.com/learn-more-about-subject” make sure that it says “https://www.domain.com/learn-more-about-subject#go-to-this-section”. This will increase the value of your user experience and make it easier for users to navigate around your website. Make sure to start doing this early on when you start your blog. If you like to link your articles together like I do because my articles relate to each other, this can become a very tedious task later on if put off for too long.
This was a really fun article to write about because I feel like I was able to really hone in on the differences between writing and updating articles. Once you have a good list of articles, you need to go back and update them. Google is always going through your website and seeing what is new to add to its search engine. So focus on your best performing articles based on Google Search Console so that your best articles become stronger and you maintain your high ranking. Also, tend to articles where you have just discovered any new emerging trends or latest developments to keep them fresh. Remember, it is okay if your article is not 100% complete when you publish it. You can always go back and add more to it later. Enjoy the process of expressing your thoughts, providing knowledge to the world and earning some credibility as an authoritative expert.