60 Tips to Keep Your Blog Current

Blogs are meant to be updated frequently. Blog posts are indexed similarly to regular webpages but they’re consumed more like magazine articles.

So creating the impression that your blog is current and up-to-date is of tremendous benefit. This impression can be compared to a building which is clean and bustling with foot traffic vs an unkempt abandoned warehouse. Which would you rather visit?

Each of these tips will give your blog the larger appearance that is timely and managed frequently. Visitors place more weight on a blog that has recent content and appears to be more active. If you’re struggling to keep the lively feeling attached to your blog, just follow any of these tips and keep them handy for future reference.

1. Link to related content

Visitors just want to read interesting content related to your topic. Even if there’s been a few weeks between posts, visitors may not notice if they’ve landed on a post directly from Google. In this case it helps to include links to other content directly on each post.

Some visitors may go on a spree browsing through many various posts. When adding a related link be sure that it mixes nicely with the content. Readers don’t want to feel like extra posts are being crammed down their throat. But if links are placed in paragraphs of related content it all feels natural and even helpful in many cases. You might also try a related posts plugin like Contextual Related Posts or YARPP.

2. Post consistently

This should go without saying but it is seriously important. People who subscribe to your blog want consistent updates. This may be every day, once a week, or even twice a month. Just be consistent with posting and try to avoid deviating from this consistency. Get on a posting schedule and write content in advance if needed.

3. Approve & Respond to comments

Readers will often leave comments expressing their opinion or personal experience related to a specific post. Sometimes these comments may need to be approved, which is a really quick and simple process. By approving comments it demonstrates that you’re checking the site and moderating content on a regular basis.

But other times readers may be looking to engage in a discussion. Your blog will look much more active with a deeply-nested comments section. Reply to commenters that ask questions or where you have something extra to share. Create a discussion of people talking to each other rather than a one-sided block of comments.

4. Tweet old posts

As your blog’s following expands there will be hundreds of new readers only familiar with newer posts. Some new readers may be interested in a post written 4 years ago that was really popular at the time – but how can they find it?

Twitter is meant to be a communication tool but it’s perfect for blogs and websites, too. In-between sharing new blog posts keep a steady stream of older posts as well. You never know who’s seeing them for the first time or who might want to re-read a post again.

5. Remove post dates

By removing the publication date from each post you create a blog full of timeless content. Visitors may be reading a post from 2006 that’s still completely relevant to the current year.

Granted you would need to remove the date from the post URL and the page itself. But it’s a powerful illusory method of keeping that “current blog” status alive indefinitely.

6. Schedule posts in advance

Quite possibly the best solution to a lack of content is scheduling posts in advance. All blogging platforms allow authors to schedule posts for dates in the future. This way you can have a few month’s worth of content ready to go and take a couple weeks off from writing in the meantime.

7. Answer contact form emails

The best way to offer a direct connection with visitors is through a contact form. By frequently answering emails you’re letting readers know that your blog is something you still want to manage. Take this to heart and really try to answer as many emails as possible. Whether you check the inbox once a day or once a week, just keep up with new messages and be cordial in your replies.

8. Recent posts sidebar widget

Visitors who land on your blog from Google will not always direct themselves onto the frontpage. But it’s likely that some of these visitors may be interested in your newer content. An elegant solution is to meet them halfway with a sidebar widget of new or popular posts.

This widget should catalog a list of the blog’s posts in descending order. Sidebar post lists are perfect for driving traffic further into a blog. If each post uses a featured image be sure to include that in the widget as well. Photos capture attention much quicker than text and offer a brief glimpse into the content.

9. Add a poll or survey

Interactive page elements are great for making your blog look current and heavily-trafficked. Polls and surveys directed towards your audience can be a fun little game for readers. But these polls can also create useful information for you as a writer.

Setup a new poll every week or every month and stick to interesting topics. Perhaps ask readers about their favorite categories or types of articles. The results may give you insight toward which post ideas could be most well-received by the current audience. Thankfully WordPress has lots of free plugins for polling like WP-Polls and YOP.

10. Featured posts

Blog homepages can be formatted in any way that best suits the content. Homepage featured posts are given prominence by increasing the heading text and giving the widget more space on the page. This is useful because it provides contrast between other posts and makes the homepage come alive. You might even try a featured posts rotator to include multiple posts at the same time.

11. Invite guest writers

There’s no doubt running a blog by yourself is tiresome. At times it will be difficult managing new posts and you’ll always run into bumps along the way.

But perhaps the simplest trick for new interesting content is to invite guest authors. These authors could be anyone from anywhere in the world who have something worth to add to your blog.

Guest Writers are often passionate about your blog’s topic and want to share their thoughts with the audience. Most sites will put together a short author bio for guest writers to get some recognition for their name. But this is a small gratuity in exchange for excellent content and giving yourself a short break from the tiresome blogging schedule.

12. User ratings

WordPress plugins both free and premium offer star rating functionality on posts. This is a cool way to allow readers to interact with the content and spread their opinion. A good rating lends some credibility to the content regardless of publication date. Post ratings may not work on every site but they’re worth keeping in mind for certain situations.

13. RSS links

One of the oldest blog subscription methods is XML/RSS. When blogs were just getting started RSS Readers were the best way to keep up with new posts. Although RSS is not as popular today, it’s still a reliable piece of technology that many visitors will use.

Make sure that you’ve built clearly-defined RSS links to your blog’s RSS feed. WordPress offers these links by default and you can easily append them into the header, sidebar, or footer area. This is something that doesn’t require a lot of time but can dramatically improve the number of readers who visit your blog.

14. Add a note to edited posts

When going back to edit an old post it’s worthwhile to add a message at the top of the post. This lets readers know that although the post is older, some of the content is newer and it has been updated recently. Revisions are often small but sometimes can turn into a complete rewrite.

One sure sign that a blog is current is the use of revision notices. You may not go back and edit posts very often, but keep this technique in mind. It’s a simple yet powerful tool in your blogging arsenal to let readers know that your writing is updated and current.

15. Use 3rd party comments

Instead of the traditional WordPress comments you might try switching to a more popular alternative. Modern blogs tend to use Facebook or Disqus comments because they’re easy to integrate and most people already have an account. Neither of these plugins have a super-detailed comment form and it’s easier for readers to check up on their comment history.

16. Social sharing links

Social media sharing is the means by which content goes viral. When one person shares an awesome post or image online it may spark interest and get re-shared all over the world. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to demonstrate that your blog content is current enough to go viral.

Each major social network has their own unique widgets that includes badges or buttons for sharing. These can be manually added to your blog, or if you’re not big into coding you might try a pre-built solution like Simple Social Buttons. WordPress has dozens of these free plugins so you have a lot of options in the way of social sharing.

17. Add an “About” page

Everyone is curious to know more about the history of your blog. Who is the founder? Why was the blog created? What type of content should be expected? These questions can be answered in detail on a blog’s “About” page.

If you prefer anonymity then it’s no problem skipping this altogether. But it does add a personal touch into the website to let people know that a real human is behind each post.

18. E-mail subscriber updates

All of the most popular weblogs have e-mail newsletters. These are traditionally released as monthly or quarterly publications that round up all the most popular and interesting posts. This way fans of the site can get updates directly to their inbox containing all of the latest posts and worthwhile content from your site.

E-mail services like MailChimp offer a completely free account for smaller blogs. If running a newsletter makes sense for your website try out an e-mail service and see how it goes. You may be surprised how well newsletters convert into repeat traffic.

19. Pings and trackbacks

When another website links to your blog post the link will be counted as a trackback. If your blog posts accrue many trackbacks it can be a good idea to display them publicly.

These links demonstrate that your content has value to other writers and offers up-to-date links for readers. But when your blog starts to get dozens of these links it’s often best to just hide the trackbacks. They’ll clutter up the page and turn into a big hodgepodge of indecipherable link text.

20. Use a modern design

Nothing screams antiquated quite like an outdated blog theme. Unfortunately everyone has first impressions, and these are a really big deal. Ensure that your blog is using a modern theme with matching widgets and typography. Visitors will land on your well-designed blog post and immediately obtain a somewhat positive attitude towards your site.

21. Encourage reader contact

The most natural way to allow readers to contact your website is through a contact form. This will send an email to your email address where you can reply to visitors personally. These contact messages could be compliments, questions, suggestions, or even requests to write for your site.

But other more public options could be commenting on social media pages like Facebook or Twitter. Create profiles for your blog and display these links prominently on your site. Holding a recent conversion with many visitors will keep your blog current and demonstrate a level of higher social value.

22. Add a live chat

Have you ever seen those live chat widgets found in the sidebar of community websites? These are perfect for letting readers communicate and share ideas with each other. If your blog is really small then it may not be worth adding a chat client.

60-tips-to-keep-content-currentBut if you want to stir up a bigger community look into something like Nowtalk. Lots of free plugins are out there which offer exactly this type of functionality. A live chatroom is something that may be either take it or leave it for most bloggers. But it’s meant to improve communication within the blog’s community more than anything.

23. Get ideas from writers

Keeping your blog current is about maintaining novelty. You want to publish articles that are new but also relatable to your audience. A great method of gathering new ideas is to read what other writers are posting.

There’s a big difference between plagiarism and writing your own content based on other content. Lots of writers find inspiration in what they read. In fact, many writers write to inspire others! So if there are other blogs or magazines that you really enjoy be sure to keep up with their latest publications – or even spend time reading through novels or anything else that may evoke a cool new post idea.

24. Write sizable posts

If you’re only writing posts that boil down to 3-4 paragraphs then people will get the sense you don’t care about the site.

Google wants long, detailed articles to be ranking for certain keywords. Readers want long, detailed articles to keep them entertained and help them learn new things. Take pride in your content and the reciprocal effect will create visitors who take pride in your website.

25. Tweet links from other blogs

A website’s Twitter account can be one of the best ways to drive traffic and gather a trustworthy following. But when a Twitter account sits vacant for weeks it looks just as outdated as the blog itself. This is why you should try to retweet or auto-tweet links from other blogs in the same niche. The content will be related to your audience and it keeps your Twitter stream fresh.

26. Consistent branding

Much like a great company image, your blog will thrive on solid branding. When a visitor notices the same logo on different profiles it’ll lend more credibility to your website.

Craft the most uniform branding possible and keep it updated everywhere. If you redesign the blog’s theme be sure to update profile photos on all social media accounts as well.

Although redesigns are infrequent, consistency is what truly matters. Blog readers can grow accustomed to to a certain design and they’ll relate to each site through branded graphics(photos, backgrounds, colors, logos, icons, etc).

27. Create YouTube videos

Not everyone will have the ability to edit and record videos. It’s a skill that requires patience and some hefty software. But nonetheless it’s an excellent way to drive attention and traffic onto your website.

Before recording any videos make sure that you actually have something to say. There’s nothing people hate more than wasting time on a pointless YouTube video.

If you create a YouTube channel for your blog it should offer some advice, tutorials, or interesting content. A great way to drive more traffic onto your site is by placing your blog’s URL into the description of each video.

28. Mirror posts on blog communities

Although this is a controversial suggestion I feel it works great for small time bloggers. Websites like Medium and Tumblr are free blogging platforms that also incorporate social media into the mix. So you can gain followers on Tumblr who will receive all of your Tumblr posts directly onto their dashboard.

By mirroring posts from your blog onto these services you’ll be able to reach a wider audience. It shows that you’re willing to keep the blog updated and share content updates with followers. Plus you can include a link back to the original post which should bring more attention to your main blog.

29. Offers & giveaways

If possible get in touch with creators who make things related to your blog’s niche. These things could be programs, graphics, music, ebooks, podcasts, anything that readers might enjoy.

Creators are often willing to give away some free samples of their work to a limited number of people if it draws attention and publicity. A big giveaway or raffle keeps your blog current and draws a closer sense of community among readers.

30. Review new products

When new items are released people often hit Google to search for reviews. If your blog can rank for reviews of a certain product you might drive a good chunk of traffic and even gain some new loyal readers.

The best way to write a review is with something you’ve actually tried. Don’t make it sound too promotional, but give readers an in-depth opinion of whatever product you’re reviewing.

31. Welcome discussion

In controversial or detailed posts it may be a good idea to openly welcome user discussion. This will lead to more comments, but also more readers talking amongst themselves.

People who find your posts in the future will take the comments as a sign of rousing & inciting content. When your message is clear it can drive people to share their own opinions on the topic. Be welcoming of user discussions because oftentimes they’ll add greater information to an already fantastic blog post.

32. Share posts in social news

Social news originally began years ago and has since turned into a vast array of communities. The website Reddit has hundreds of thousands of individual communities just by itself. Let alone other smaller websites like Designer News.

If you feel that your posts contain great information don’t be afraid to share them on social news communities. Very few posts will ever go viral, but it’s a way to show that you’re up-to-date and willing to break into the news community. Most of these websites also have user comments and the feedback from these comments may help to improve your writing.

33. Add a random button

Visitors may just want to skip along through your blog content without browsing specific archives. A random button or link can be used to jump between posts and give new readers a sense of the website’s content. If this sounds appealing take a look at the free WordPress plugin Random Post Link.

34. Categorize post archives

The antithesis to random post jumping is traversing through organized content. These posts may be listed by date, author, or category, or even different archives for all three sorting methods.

Don’t be afraid to create really detailed archives because many visitors will love this feature. Just offer some clean, categorized archive pages that make browsing old posts easy and intuitive.

35. Feature people or interviews

Everyone loves to be interviewed and most of us enjoy reading good-quality interviews. Posts like these basically write themselves because all of the information is like second nature to the interviewee. And it doesn’t take anything from you except a little time and communication.

Try sending a few emails to prominent people in your market who may be fun to interview. If possible try to prepare a small batch of questions beforehand. Once you find someone who’s interested you can send over the questions and it’s a done deal. This will surely bring attention to your blog and the person being interviewed.

36. Readable search results

As your blog archives grow, many visitors will be inclined to search for whatever content they’re looking for. A poorly-designed search page reflects negatively on the blog as a whole. Make sure that your blog’s search results are organized readable.

This translates into overall cleanliness and generates the feeling of a well-constructed website.

37. Follow people on social media

Whenever you have some extra time log into your social media account(s) and follow different people related to your niche. It helps if you’re actually interested to follow the type of content each person posts to their account. Many times you’ll get return follows that can grow your audience.

It also shows that your social media accounts are alive and gives a sense of activity to the blog.

38. Keep a list of cool ideas

Whether this is on pen & paper or a digital list, be sure to take down your good ideas. You may think that you’ll remember them but honestly you probably won’t. And when you’re racking around the room desperate for a new idea you’ll be glad there’s a list of cool posts just waiting to be excavated.

39. Leave discussions open

User comments are a big part of website interactivity. Try to keep blog post comments open for as long as possible – or ideally just never close them. If a post is really popular it might amass hundreds of comments over a few years. This is social proof that your blog is current and relatable to many readers.

40. Post about site updates

If the blog has some important news or updates feel free to make posts which inform visitors about what’s going on. Readers may be interested to know that you’re bringing on a new writer or switching web hosts sometime next month. Little site updates show that a person is behind the scenes running the show and informs readers of any new important changes.

41. List popular yearly content

To drive some traffic back to older content you might try publishing a “most popular” posts list once a year. This could include some of your most trafficked posts, most active posts, or just your personal favorites.

Either way these round-ups show that you’re focused on content and keeping readers up-to-date with the blog’s most interesting stuff.

42. Create lists of resources

No matter what you’re blogging about there’s bound to be a dozen other websites on the exact same topic. Use this to your advantage by putting together a helpful list of related blogs, videos, PDFs, and other resources that may benefit the community.

If this list grows large enough you may even grant it a full page on your site. Visitors may find your blog in Google and visit just for the huge list of resources. It’ll make your site appear modern and up-to-date on a particular subject with all the greatest links from around the Internet.

43. Anti-Spam filters

Visitors hate spam just as much as webmasters. By filtering out spam it shows that you really care about the blog and work to keep it clean and free of garbage. Thankfully each version of WordPress includes a copy of Akismet which is the absolute best spam filter to use. The alternative would be using the built-in spam filter with plugins like Disqus Comments.

44. HQ post thumbnails

Images draw attention much faster than content. If your blog theme supports featured images then be sure to use high-quality images for each post. This featured image will be used on the article page while smaller thumbnails will be visible in post widgets & archive pages. Modern blogs use these images to demonstrate a level of trust among visitors.

There’s no denying the success great post thumbnails. They bring a lot to the table and don’t require a whole lot of work on the flip side. Just be sure the images you’re using are under the Creative Commons license or wholly owned by yourself.

45. Mention other popular blogs

Other webmasters like to find backlinks from blogs that give them an honorary mention in a post. An outbound link will sometimes drive traffic to another blog and the owner may recognize this through analytics.

By mentioning other blogs you also foster a current state of mind through references to other websites on the Internet. Don’t force these links into place – but if you come across an opportunity to credit or mention another cool blog it certainly can’t hurt.

46. Build a community

Forums and bulletin boards are great additions to a blog if the community is large enough. Free plugins such as BuddyPress can setup an online community for readers. So even if you aren’t posting every day it’s possible that the community might be doing so.

Just keep in mind that forums require moderators to clear out spam. If you don’t have time for upkeep you’ll need to find someone to help – otherwise it’s not even worth the effort.

47. Tweet stream widget

If your blog’s Twitter stream is frequently active then try adding recent tweets into your blog’s sidebar. Even if you only post once a week the site will look more current if you have tweets going out every day. Visitors will at least recognize that your blog is managed properly and uses an active social media presence advantageously.

48. Build relationships

Do everything you can to get your website(and yourself) known within the blogosphere. It is a very large network but the top blogs in each category are all very similar. You may be surprised how small the blogging world actually is!

To get started contact a few smaller blogs that may be interested in affiliate links or mentions on the site. You could also try guest writing for other sites and place a link to your own blog in the author biography.

The goal is to have at least some level of acquaintance with editors and webmasters who work in the same genre as yourself. You never know who will gain some popularity and may be able to help you out along the way.

49. Support mobile browsers

Responsive website layouts are very new and current. If your website can be viewed properly on a mobile device then visitors will assume your site is relatively new. If you’re not a great designer just pick one of the many free WordPress themes which also have responsive tendencies.

50. Remove dates from image URLs

By default many blogs will use an upload URL that includes the numeric year and month. Although most visitors won’t notice the image URL structure, people can find your images through Google Image Search. In this scenario it’ll be somewhat obvious when the images were uploaded.

It’s certainly not a requirement to change the upload URL, but it’s not always useful to leave the date in media URLs. WordPress users might try the Custom Upload Dir plugin as one solution.

51. Write a short e-book

Many people get into blogging solely to practice their writing. What better way to really test the waters than by writing an ebook? This could be as long or as short as you prefer and follow any subject matter.

If it’s something you’re just doing for fun then it’s worth giving the ebook away for free. This can draw press from all over the Internet and could even make a name for your blog. But you could alternatively charge a little money for the book and earn a small profit on the sales.

52. Branch into new topics

When first launching your blog there may be a very particular direction you wish to follow. But sometimes it’s useful to veer off the path slightly and write content on a semi-related topic.

This may lose some visitors but it could gain others. Either way it shows that you’re current and informed on various topics which could intermingle with alternative content in your blog.

53. Add a feedback widget

When you’re looking for reliable feedback it’s always useful to gather as much information as possible. Small feedback widgets can be placed on the bottom or to the side of your blog where users can send their thoughts, critiques, or questions about the site. WordPress has a great plugin for Usernoise which attaches to the left side of the screen.

The best part about a feedback widget is that you can gather free information about what visitors like or don’t like. Then you can use that info to improve your blog. This offers more proof that someone is actually running the site and working hard to keep it updated.

54. Add “new” ribbons

When placing a new feature onto your blog you might try adding a “new” badge onto the element. There are plenty of freebie graphics online and they can really draw attention to cool features.

Some designers prefer ribbons while others prefer badges or bubbles. It’s all based around the same visual cue informing visitors that something has been added to the blog. This effect also works great for new posts if you can work the graphic into your theme.

55. Target unique keywords

The majority of people who turn into regular readers will find your blog through Google. Since there are already millions of websites online it’s difficult to rank for basic keywords. Instead it’s more valuable to target a specific niche and work towards the goal of ranking for unique keywords.

The difference could be something like “how to make etsy products” vs “how to make etsy bracelets”. The second search will yield more specific results and your blog has a better chance of ranking on the first page.

56. Utilize traffic analytics

If you’re struggling to think of new content to write about check out your traffic log with a program like Google Analytics. This will hold a lot of data including posts with the most pageviews and retention rates for the average visitor. These metrics can help you think about new ideas for blog posts that may be more current to new visitors.

57. Pull content from feeds

Lots of wonderful new content is published onto the Internet every day. In fact there are blogs dedicated to sharing funny screenshots from conversations on Tumblr, Reddit, or Facebook.

Information that’s on the Internet is generally fair to repost on your site as long as it’s not copyrighted and you link to the original source. This is a funny way of keeping current and sharing interesting(yet weird) stuff with your readers.

58. Add an events calendar

A calendar doesn’t always need to follow events related to your blog. Visitors can still gain value from a calendar which logs events related to a certain industry like conferences, meetups, or product release dates. This is a fun way to solidify your blog’s topic and keep visitors in-the-loop regarding news and world events.

59. How-to guides

In some ways the internet can boil down to a huge archive of information explaining how to do things. Writing about specific techniques or skills is a surefire way to drive continuous traffic over many years.

People will always need to find quality how-tos and step-by-step guides on virtually everything. These posts can drive traffic for years in the future and still remain exceptionally current.

60. Be a real person

Perhaps the greatest advice is to show readers that your blog is not just a digital thing. Your blog is run by a person(or people) who truly cares about the content. Show readers a little behind-the-scenes action with an about page, author profile, and updated social media accounts.

Staying current is ultimately about demonstrating that a person runs your blog, and not some machine on autopilot.

Also try to write like a human, for humans. If you’re not incessantly writing then it’ll take time to learn how to connect words naturally. Blogging is the best way to practice writing like a human and showing off your humane side.

One thought on “60 Tips to Keep Your Blog Current

  1. Martin Ricky says:

    I have found that retweeting old posts can be very effective! If you have a few posts you really put a lot of work into then promote those firsts. As long as the content is still relevant old posts can still drive good traffic your blog. Excellent tips and well thought out!

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