I am sure you agree with this:
Running a blog is not as easy as it looks.
You have to create content that your audience loves, fight your competitors for the top rankings on Google and convert your visitors into leads and later into customers.
In a nutshell, all these tasks are important for running a successful blog and many people fail in doing this.
This is why you’ll see many people starting a blog and struggling to grow it. Many people even give up because they lose hope that they can succeed in blogging.
Some people give up working on their blogs because they don’t have the time or resources to continue.
Whatever the reason you have to give up working on your blog, you can still get back on track and revive your blog.
It’s not easy but it’s simple. When you stop working on your website, this is what happens:
- You lose rankings
- Your audience abandons you just like you abandoned them
- Your email list growth stagnates
- You lose traffic
All these events impact your blog heavily and if you want to bring your blog back to life, you need to follow some steps that will move the needle.
Bring your old dead blog back to life is not just about publishing new content. You have to go beyond just creating new content.
Heck, you will also have to get your hands dirty with some technical work. But if you really want your blog to be as cool as it was before, you will have to follow these steps.
In this article, I am going to explain all the steps you need to follow to revive your old (dead) blog and turn it into something people love to read and share.
Let’s dive in.
If you are among the following, this article is the perfect match for you:
- You started your blog a long time ago but it’s not getting the traffic and shares you expected.
- Your blog used to be successful but now it’s traffic is declining slowly.
- You stopped working on your blog because you failed to grow it.
- You gave up on your blog because you don’t have the time or resources to continue.
1. Bring a smile on your visitors face by updating your blog design
Your blog is old and no one visits it now. Chances are that your blog’s design is no longer good for both UX and SEO purposes. And since you have only 6 seconds to leave an impression on your website, it’s a must.
Before you publish any new content, you must ensure your blog design provides better user experience and is optimized for the search engines.
According to BCG, judgments on website credibility are 75% based on a website’s overall aesthetics.
So you can’t argue with the fact that your blog design is important. Here’s what you need to do to improve your blog design:
- Update your theme
If you have an ugly theme on your website, change it with something simple and fast. You can find ton of themes on Themeforest.
But I personally recommend StudioPress themes. You can customize them according to your needs. Plus, it’s insanely fast and mobile-friendly.
- Responsive Design
Psst! Want to know a crazy fact?
So now you can understand the importance of having a responsive design. And it’s not just the number of people that use smartphones.
Data clearly states that if your website pops up in a search engine query, and it isn’t mobile friendly, 40% of online users will go back and choose a different result.
If you’re still not mobile-friendly, you are about lose more traffic than ever. Having a responsive website also helps you rank better on Google.
You can check if your website is mobile-friendly or not by this tool created by Google.
- Ditch the sidebar
I don’t feel like websites should have sidebars anymore. Unless you run a site that makes money from ads and affiliate marketing, you should remove your sidebar.
Sidebars distract the user and affect conversion rates badly. If you want the reader to be focused on your content, having a sidebar is not a good option.
I have removed sidebar from my website completely and others have too. Bryan Harris removed his blog sidebar and noticed a 26% increase in conversions.
I have a bad news for you:
Only 1 in 1000 visitors click on the recent posts, featured posts or interact with any other element on your sidebar.
So if you think your sidebar is a very useful place, think again.
But Ahfaz, I see many big websites and blogs using sidebars on their blog. Why are you asking me to remove it?
Here’s my answer:
Is your blog as big as theirs? Look:
You are reviving a dead blog that barely gets any traffic. Do you think people will interact with your sidebar? Do you think people will sign up from your sidebar opt-in form when your traffic is very low?
I don’t think so. That’s why it’s better to remove your website sidebar and improve your user experience by making your blog visitors focused solely on the content.
Because first impressions are 94% design-related.
- Improve navigation
A proper website navigation will help readers browse the site more easily and will also help in ranking your website.
Make your navigation as simple as you can. Do not fill it with so many items. Avoid using drop-down menus because they are really annoying.
One more tip for a better website navigation is to use links instead of buttons. This is important because buttons are not search-friendly while links are.
And the last thing, don’t forget the responsive design. Your website navigation should be responsive otherwise you’re in trouble.
- Use Featured Opt-in Area
Having an opt-in form above-the-fold will boost your conversions. You should have a featured opt-in area to convert people visiting your blog.
If your theme provides this feature, start using it. And if it doesn’t, don’t worry. You can use Plugmatter WordPress plugin to add a featured opt-in area on top of your website.
That’s all you need to do to improve your website design. Let’s head over to the next important step in the journey of back from the dead.
2. Optimize Speed
40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
So you better make sure your website loads insanely fast or you’re about to piss off your site visitors. A slow website is one the reasons why your blog died in the first place.
And now that you want to revive it, you should optimize your blog. Page speed optimization is very simple if you follow the proper steps.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on hiring someone who’ll do the same job you can do it yourself.
To optimize your page speed, you need to first figure out how fast it loads and how can it be improved.
There are many tools you can use to find a website’s loading time but I recommend the following three:
This guide by Kinsta shows how you can optimize your site speed and achieve 100/100 score on Google PageSpeed insights.
Read this guide and you’re hooked. You won’t need anything else to optimize your site speed.
Many bloggers make a big mistake by just optimizing their blogs for desktop and forgetting about mobile.
It’s very important that your website loads fast on mobile devices because it affects user experience and rankings.
3. Fix Technical Blunders
I have an article on this topic that shows some unforgettable SEO mistakes you can make in blogging. Fixing those mistakes is very important for your blog.
Here are the biggest mistakes that I covered in my post. You need to FIX these mistakes before it’s too late.
- Set Up Google Analytics and Google Webmasters
If you are not using these tools since the day you started your blog, you’ve completely wasted your time.
You need to understand this:
Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools are the most powerful SEO tools in the world. And the fact that they are free makes them even more valuable.
You can get tons of information about your website visitors using these tools.
You can find how a visitor interacts with your website. Information like where do they come from, what content they like, which page they leave the website can be easily obtained.
Setting up Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools are very simple.
- Fix Broken Links
When you stop working on your website, there are probably too many dead links on your website. Before you start creating content, it is important to find and fix all dead and broken links.
Finding broken links is very easy and fixing them is even more easy. There are many tools that can help you find and fix broken links.
You can find broken links by using Google Webmaster tools or any other WordPress plugin. Here’s how to find broken links using Webmaster tools.
1. Head over to Google Webmaster tools and go to the crawl section.
2. Click on Crawl Errors and then click Not found. You will find all the broken and dead links on your site.
You can export all the broken links and fix them.
The other way of finding broken links is by using a WordPress plugin. The best plugin to find all broken links on your website is Broken Link Checker.
This plugin keeps checking for dead links on your website and allows you edit the broken link without going to the page where the link is situated.
Once you find broken links, you can either:
- Remove the link
- Fix the link
- Set redirects if required
This way you need to fix all the broken links on your website.
4. Remove/Update Outdated Content
Remove or update all the blog posts that are either outdated or do not provide any value to the reader. Whenever you start a new blog, your first few posts are total crap and aren’t helpful to the readers.
You need to find such content and delete it. Here’s how you can find out whether the content is good or bad:
- Blog posts that are less than 500 words.
- Content that is no longer relevant.
Find all such posts and update them or remove them if they are of no use anymore.
5. Optimize Your About Page
When you start working on your dead blog again, there is obviously a change in your mind about how you will do things this time.
In such cases, you need to update about page. Not only will it keep the new users' update, it will also inform them about your journey.
You need to update such information because many visitors if they like your blog, will read your about page to know more about you.
And providing them with outdated information will be a total turn off.
Apart from just updating the basic information, you should also optimize your about page for generating more leads.
I have an infographic that will help you achieve this:
6. Do Internal Linking
Interlink your old blog posts again before you start creating content. Many bloggers make this mistake which prevents their pages from ranking higher on Google.
Internal linking will help you pass some juice to pages within your website. Moreover, it will keep the user engaged and reduce your bounce rate.
To properly interlink your blog posts, make a list of all your blog posts in an excel file and edit each page one by one and add internal links whenever relevant.
Don’t just fill your content with too many internal links but do include them when you have content on your blog that can be mentioned.
Also, remember that internal linking is an ongoing process and you must keep doing it whenever you publish new content.
7. Update Post Headlines
Your headlines suck and you don’t even know it.
Update your blog post headlines and improve them so that you can attract more people.
Headlines make or break your content.
Here’s how you can update your article headlines easily if you have a large number of posts on your blog:
- Create a spreadsheet and make a list of all your blog posts. In this spreadsheet, include the title of the post, URL, headline score (measure from headline analyzer).
- Test the headline score of your blog posts using CoSchedule’s headline analyzer. Add this score in your headline score column in your spreadsheet.
- Now update all the posts that have a headline score below 60. Try to get a score above 70. If you can’t, try to get above 60.
- Create two new columns in your spreadsheet named “Updated Headline” and “Updated Headline Score”. Include the new headline and its score on the respective columns.
This way you can easily update your headlines and also keep track of your old headlines and their scores.
Don’t try to be smart and update headlines that have a nice score. Because sometimes you can turn a good headline into a bad one which lowers your CTR and impacts your rankings negatively.
Now that you know how to update your headlines, you should also know how to make them better than your existing headlines.
Here are some tips:
1. Use Power words. SumoMe has got a massive list of power words that I use regularly in my content and in my blog titles.
2. Use even numbers in your headlines. Even numbers tend to attract more users.
3. Keep your headlines between 50-70 characters so that they are visible in the search engines.
- Use headlines that evoke curiosity. Take advantage of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) in your blog post titles.
- Include sensory words in your blog headlines to inspire the reader to take some action. These words create an emotional connection between you and your content.
- Replace positive superlatives with negative ones to make your headlines perform even better.
- Add punctuation in your headlines to increase your click-through-rate.
- Don’t just create one headline for one blog post. Test around 15 different headlines and pick the best headline.
8. Create A Content Strategy
So you’ve done your homework now. You’ve fixed all technical errors, removed or updated content that was bad, updated your headlines, optimized your about page and made your blog faster.
Now, it’s time to create a content!
It’s time to create a content strategy. I’ve seen many bloggers fail just because they don’t have a proper content strategy.
Although having a content strategy is not important, but if your blog died one time, it’s better to make sure it doesn’t fail again.
A content strategy can be very simple or complex. I am going to give you a simple strategy that will help you scale your blog audience.
This is the strategy I’ve recommended to many bloggers struggling to grow their blog.
And it all starts with defining your ideal blog audience.
1. Define your blog audience
First, you need to figure out who you want to visit your blog. This audience needs to be specific because it will then help you create content they will love.
You can create reader personas for your blog to define your blog audience.
But since you already worked on this blog and published content, you might know which content performed well.
Find content on your blog that got high traffic and comments.
Then once you have decided what type of content you’ll publish, make a list of your competitor blogs and find out what they’re publishing.
Apart from that, find influencers of that particular topic and make a list of these influencers. We’ll be leveraging these influencers in the next section.
I really recommend you to check out Michael’s post where he explains how you should publish your first blog post. His method can be used not just to publish the first post but all the content on your blog.
2. Start Doing Expert Roundups
This one is pretty obvious. Isn’t it?
Your blog died once because no one read your content. I don’t see why this will not happen to your blog again.
You publish content people actually want to read. Do you really think people will love your blog if you publish the same type of content you used to publish before?
I don’t think so.
You need to try out something new and leverage influencers. Find and make a list of influencers in your industry.
Reach out to these influencers and ask them to contribute to your roundup. Influencers are busy and if you reach out to them with some bad outreach email, you’ll be rejected. Follow Nadya’s awesome advice on how to reach out to influencers for expert roundups.
She explains how to reach out to influencers (even A-list influencers).
Even if you reach out to them in the best way possible, you can get rejected. It mainly happens if your question is not good enough.
This guide explains how to get an awesome idea for a roundup that influencers will love to contribute to.
Start with one expert roundup and then you can scale up and do more roundups. Expert roundups are really a great way to grow a blog fast because the experts in your roundup also share the post with their audience.
This helps in getting more traffic and you can then turn their audience into your audience.
3. Guest Posting
This also comes in your content strategy because guest posting will help you grow your blog indirectly.
There are two reasons you should start guest posting:
- More exposure to you and your content
- Links to your blog
But I would recommend you to do guest contributions for exposure and not for links. Because more exposure will help you get more guest contribution opportunities.
This can lead you to guest posting opportunities to big blogs that have a huge audience. And publishing content for the biggest blogs in your industry would itself be a tremendous accomplishment.
To get started with guest posting, make a list of your competitors and reach out to them for guest contributions.
Start with small blogs and work your way up to big ones.
4. Start doing interviews
Similar to expert roundups, interviews will also help you get more traffic to your blog. Start interviewing bloggers in your industry and again work your way up to bigger bloggers and then influencers.
The best way to use interviews to rapidly grow your blog is by doing video interviews.
Video content is already on fire and you getting on video will help you a lot.
9. Revisit On-Page SEO Of Your Old Posts
Many blogs fail because their content is not optimized for the search engines. Although recent studies show that on-page SEO is not a big ranking factor, but that doesn’t mean you can totally ignore it.
It is important for you to audit your old posts and improve their on-page SEO. A properly optimized page will help you rank better in the search engines.
To make sure all your old blog posts are perfectly optimized, follow Brian Dean’s awesome infographic:
Once you’ve optimized pages for SEO, you’ll notice changes in your rankings and they will improve. You can then optimize your new content in a similar way to make sure they also rank well on Google.
10. Retarget Keywords For Better Rankings
I see many bloggers do this mistake:
Targeting the wrong keyword. Your content is good but it fails to rank because you’re not targeting the right keyword.
This mainly happens because of the greed to get high traffic to your website, you target a highly competitive keyword in hopes of getting floodgates of traffic. But in reality, your website is a deserted island.
Now that you are revisiting your old blog, it’s time to step up your game with smart keyword research.
But first, you need to fix your existing content by targeting the right keywords that bring traffic.
How can you do this?
Well, you need to figure out the queries that bring traffic to your website but you have not targeted them in your content.
Here’s the kicker:
You don’t need any expensive tool to do that. Follow these steps to target the right keyword:
- Log in to Google Webmaster tools and go to Search Traffic > Search Analytics.
- Click on impressions and position.
- Now you’ll see all the search queries, their impressions and the position of your page. Sort the results by the number of impressions. This will show the queries that get high impressions.
All you need to do now is to find queries that get a high number of impressions but the position is very low.
For example – the keyword “inmotion coupon” receives a high number of impressions but the position of the keyword is not good.
This means that the keyword is not well targeted on the page. So all I need to do now is to check the page for the keyword and optimize it for that keyword. You can use the above infographic and optimize your posts accordingly.
Do not ditch your old keyword if it gets high traffic. Many times you’ll find a keyword that gets high impression but doesn’t rank well on Google. Chances are that the page is already ranking well for another keyword and if you tamper it, the page might not rank well for the old keyword that used to bring high traffic to your blog.
11. Build Some Links (In a non-creepy way)
Links can push your pages to the top of the SERP’s if they are of high quality. You should build links for your old posts to make them rank better.
There are many ways to build links. But the best way to build links is by using infographics.
Infographics are a great way to build links to your website. You can create and publish infographics because people love visual content and it gets shared a lot.
You can get an infographic designed on Fiverr or you can DIY if you have good designing skills.
Since there are many infographics published these days, you need to think different and create an infographic that gets shared not just by people but also influencers.
The best way to do this is by doing an expert roundup and creating an infographic about it. What’s good about this?
People love expert roundups and they love infographics. Experts also love roundups and if their advice is shared on an infographic, they’ll just simply share it.
This will help you get traffic and links your content deserves.
12. Utilize Your Email List
Do you have an email list? If you do, relaunch with a big bang!
Email your list that you’re bringing your blog back to life. Set up drip sequences to send automated emails so that your list members get excited about the relaunch.
You can provide freebies and other materials to nurture your leads before you publish your post after a long time.
This makes them feel that you provide value to your readers. And once your blog is back on track, ask these people to share it with others.
But if you don’t have any email list, start building one now. You don’t need a blog to build an email list. You really don’t.
Look at this:
I got over 150 people in my list just by launching an eBook. Do you know how long it took me?
Just 24 hours. The best part is that I promoted my eBook only on Facebook and Twitter. I asked my friends to share the eBook which helped me get more people on my list.
But that was not it. I provided some more value to the people who downloaded my eBook. This was done by setting up drip sequences and sending them emails after they downloaded the eBook.
And people actually loved it. The open rate and the click rates of this drip campaign were really good.
So how much did it all cost me?
Nothing. There are many email marketing platforms that are free but not all of them providing email automation.
And I think you agree that when your blog is new, you don’t invest a lot in such tools.
For example Kulwant is using ConvertKit for this blog to send emails to his subscribers.
You can try ConvertKit for 30 days and see how this is working to help to collect email subscribers on your blog.
This way I got over 150 people on my email list just by creating an eBook and launching it on social media.
You can use this EXACT framework to grow your email list too.
13. Relaunch With A Bang
If you are relaunching your blog, you can create a landing page with freebies and share it on social media.
Another way to get started is by creating a waiting list of people who want to get informed when you publish your next blog post.
This method becomes even more helpful if you tease your content before the actual launch. That’s what I did with my eBook.
I informed about my eBook on Facebook before it was out. Look at the image below:
I even gave my eBook to my friend Michael and asked him for some feedback. Then I designed a beautiful image with his feedback and shared it on Facebook once again to make people excited.
And then I finally launched my ebook!
That’s what you should do when you relaunch your blog. Here’s a quick checklist you can follow when you relaunch your blog. This will help you get more people visit your blog from Facebook.
- Inform people that you’re going to publish content once again on your old blog.
- Create an eBook, design a landing page and offer it to people on Facebook. This will help you get some people on your email list.
- Create a new landing page and ask people to sign up if they’re interested when the post goes live.
- Get testimonials from your blogger friends and post them on Facebook so that people are excited about your post.
- Publish your post and share it on Facebook. Email your list and inform them about it.
Wrapping It Up
So this was all about how you can revive your old blog. It’s simple and if you follow the steps mentioned properly, you can get great results.
Just remember this:
When you start working on a dead site again, don’t make the same mistakes you made before. Of course you’ll make new mistakes but don’t give up again. Be patient because building a successful blog takes time and effort.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop comments below.