Every once in a while it’s a good idea to analyse the content of your blog using data from Google Analytics rather than hunches and assumptions. Doing so enables you to get a firm handle on the content people are reading and the content they’re ignoring, for whatever reason.
Armed with a spreadsheet full of percentages, and sometimes depressing numbers, it’s possible to improve your blog and your readers’ experience of it.
I’ve just performed such an exercise on here and as a result I’ve removed 91 posts. It’s a high number isn’t it? It’s almost half of my published posts, but you know what, they deserve to go.
For the most part the posts I deleted were short snippets of news, opinion and mumblings that provided no help to anybody. The posts date back to 2008 and cover subjects like WordPress updates, the release of Google Chrome and Twitter redesigns.
From a personal point of view I like to keep stuff like this as an archive. Reading the posts is like spending the afternoon in the loft rooting through old boxes or looking at photos from years ago.
They bring back memories.
However, Google doesn’t like having content like this in its index and if Google wants to, it will punish you, through low rankings, for keeping it live on your site.
Sure, I could have noindexed the irrelevant content or filed the posts away in some category that never gets spidered, but part of me wanted to confine it to the trash.
Part of me needed the clear-out.
So it happened.
And I suggest you do the same. As a result, your blog will feel lighter, leaner, meaner.
It will be ready to move forward.
It may also help improve your search engine rankings.
Trash It or Recycle?
The criteria for trashing my content was quite simple: if hardly anybody read it during the past two months, it went into the bin.
I started with all the content that had a 100% bounce rate (people landing on a page and leaving without viewing any other pages).
Here’s a sample of the data in my spreadsheet:
Some of these pages are only getting a few views a month, and people are spending hardly any time on them as they think they’re useless. So does Google – a lot of these pages have/had no PageRank.
Trashing most of them is the best thing to do.
However, there are a few pages that may be worth recycling and updating.
I’ve trashed them and redirected visitors to the home page for the time being, but I’ve made a note of the posts which might be worth rewriting and I’ll be doing that over the coming weeks. It’s not worth letting good ideas go to waste when a little bit of re-working will produce something better and more relevant than before. Times changes, and a post written two years ago about shared web hosting or using social media will certainly improve if re-written because of the additional experience.
After looking at the posts with a 100% bounce rate I looked at posts that had a low number of views and where people stayed for less than twenty seconds. If I classified the post as “no use to anyone”, it went into the bin.
Finally I deleted posts that were little snippets of news or out-of-date announcements, such competitions or online courses.
Removing low-quality posts (we all have them) will make it easier for your users to find your best content, it may improve your bounce rate and increase traffic numbers.
In an environment where quality is more important than quantity it’s a good idea to keep on top of your blog’s/site’s housekeeping and remove content as it becomes stale. Doing so improves the user experience and it helps you feel better too.
Picture – AndyArthur