Recycle Your Blog

Colourful row of recycling plastic dustbins

If you’ve been fortunate enough to write your blog for any length of time, I can almost guarantee that you have posts from the early days that people haven’t seen that are still relevant. It’s not that they might be the best thing you’ve ever written, but they can still be of value.

For instance, I wrote If I Started Today back in November of 2008. It’s still valid. Almost 3 years later, I’d do pretty much the same thing. So, that makes it a post worth resharing. But how? And what can I do to make it interesting for you to visit?

Recycle Your Blog

There are a few ways to recycle your blog. Way number one is to pull out information from a post you want to share, expound on it until it’s a standalone post, and then link to the original post at the end. So, in this case, if I wanted to do that with “If I Started Today,” I’d write up a section about “Five Elements Your Blog Needs When Starting Out,” and then I’d link to the post at the bottom to show what else you need by pointing to that post.

The other way to recycle posts is to group them up with a post that tells a story through sharing more than one post. At this point, I’ve written about 8 or 9 posts talking about Google+. I could write a post called “My Best Advice on Google+” and put links to those posts all in one place. This would give my readers a simple way to walk through everything I’d written about the topic, and it would give me much more attention on the site, without having had to write a new post of any size or value.

Recycling Is Good For Everyone

Recycling some of your older material so that people can get something out of it is helpful. But just like you see on products that use recycled materials, you probably want to always maintain a mix of new material and post-use recycled material. And you never want to flat out reprint your posts, as that is frowned upon by Google.

So, with that in mind, look back on your blog and find some posts worth sharing again. Who knows? You might find a hit the second time around with something that went unnoticed through no fault of your own.

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  • Chuck Frey

    I don’t recycle my posts. But I do use a WordPress plug-in called Tweet Old Posts to selectively re-tweet older posts. It gives you a great deal of control over which posts to select from and how frequently to send them out. It’s a great tool and it works very well!

    • Dave Lucas

      That “tweet old posts” resulted in egg on the face of one popular blogger who suddenly was being ridiculed on twitter for tweeting Christmas-related posts in July and tweeting about a URL and a service that had been shut down two years prior!

      I always recommend avoiding automation, especially with twitter!

      Tweet on, Chuck!

      • Jackie Ulmer

        Good to know, thanks for sharing!

      • Chuck Frey

        I agree, Dave – you definitely need to be cautious – regularly updating the list of posts you want to appear vs. those of a seasonal nature or which quickly “age.” I’ve found that I also need to be careful about the proportion of tweets that I make vs. those that are automated in a given day. I’ve dialed Tweet Old Post back to about 4 tweets per day, sent at random times. That seems to work well and doesn’t piss anyone off.

  • Robyn

    I might try that – I am sure people often miss the older stuff, as you say.

    • Robyn

      I did it!  At least a trial run.

  • Richard Reeve

    Recognizing the value of where you have been often opens up value for today.  Thanks for the reminder to internally link.  I always drop that practice.

  • Dave Lucas

    In Blog*Spot I simply take an old post, update if it needs to be, and re-release it with the current date and time. Sometimes I change the title to a more keyword and SEO-friendly wording. I’ve done this with posts dating back to 2006 – it sometimes works MIRACLES! (Old search engine links are NOT affected, since the actual URL does not change), but, you’ll suddenly receive facebook likes, g+’s, stumbleupon recommendations and posts to tumblr like never before… you’re right Chris, old posts can find new audiences!

    Blog On!

  • jediSwift

    oh crap this is BRILLIANT!

  • Carolyn Nicander Mohr

    You’re right, I have a lot of posts from earlier days when very few people were reading my blog. I recycle my favorite older posts by updating them and then publishing them when I’m on vacation as my “All Star” posts. 

  • Carolyn Nicander Mohr

    Tweet Old Posts has a setting where you can block a category from being tweeted. For example, that blogger could have had a “Holiday” catergory that he could exclude from the plugin.

    But I agree, Dave, Tweet Old Posts can be dangerous. I don’t use it because I like to have control over what I tweet.

    • Jackie Ulmer

      It’s kind of old school but I keep a simple notepad file of my posts, and titles and just use that selectively! 

  • Jackie Ulmer

    Love this since I have done this. It’s always good to have affirmation from others, ha!

  • Gildo Bittemcourt

    Chris você fez as pessoas que um bom blog é um tesouro arquivado,eu costumo navegar por todas as paginas antigas,mas a maioria  das pessoas procuram postagem recentes.
    Obrigado por falar sobre isto.

  • Jim Connolly

    Sound advice, Mr Brogan!

  • Jaana Nyström

    Thanks, sound advice again!

  • Chris @ Rizzo Tees

    I think bloggers often forget that your blog is an ever-growing asset. After one year of solid blogging, you have ALOT to work with. New posts linking to old posts… that’s difficult when you’re just starting out, for obvious reasons.

    A new blog post as simple as “My five favorite posts from year 1″ will even do the trick.

  • professional resume

    very nice! liked the post! very…bright )))))))))

  • jason_voip

    Always an idea to link to old posts and then comment on them yourself! Maybe even criticising or opposing them? Shows humility and your human side

  • Barb at Bike Style Spokane

    I’ve tried tweeting “A favorite “golden oldie” I wish more people had read” with a link. It’s not automated–I’m hand-selecting ones I really do wish more people would read, and ones that work for the season.

    In posts I include a “Related Reading” section at the bottom of each post where I include 3-5 links to past posts on my blog and material from others, in addition to embedded links. This way I point them directly to old content related to the material they’re reading now.

    Where this will get out of hand if I keep it up is that in theory I should go back through all those earlier posts and add links to the newer ones. This could get crazy but I’m doing a bit of that now and then.

    Any suggestions for tools to speed this up? It’s not as simple as pulling all those with the same tag–that would be too many.

  • Patrick Brondes

    Hi Chris, some great ideas in here. We struggle to find topics that we can use that are closely related to what we do, but recycling and expanding on specific points is a great way to go and something we hadn’t considered. 

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  • Deborah Shane

    Hi Chris, I am so glad you brought this up. I have actually been doing this on a regular basis going back to 2010. There are ‘evergreen’ ideas and concepts that just may need to be re-framed or brought into the relevance of how they still apply today. Just re-posted a few of mine over the past few months! New title, new quote, new link back and wella! Take Care.

  • Hannah Marcotti

    I’ve been going back to old posts and using the ideas inside of them as kick-starts for guest posts elsewhere (that’s right I’m all over it Chris!) and I find that a year later my thoughts and experiences have changed so much that I can create such new and relevant content.

    Question: You have so many posts, how do you find what you are looking for or do you just go randomly searching for ideas or look from tags,etc? Which brings up, I suck at tagging.

  • Chris Keaton

    I have used the technique before (using ideas as a jumping off point) and it always takes me in new and unexpected directions.  In fact, after I read your post I went back, mined and recycled a previous idea. Thanks for the reminder.

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  • Kelly Tirman

    Chris, Thanks for such a timely post. My maternity leave is about to end and I was just trying to figure out how to keep my site fresh with content with even less time than I currently have today. I was thinking about reposting but I wasn’t sure the best way to do it — now I know! Thanks again.

  • Anonymous

    I like this theory, however, not sure that it will work, as I have a site, in addition to the seven blogs that I write for, based on specific areas of expertise. I’m pretty sure my last post should’ve gone somewhere else, although, I may be able to tie it in with the next one….

  • Dexter @ Garious

    Great idea, Chris! Looking back to your blog posts may give you the chance to improve your artice by updating them and it is also a chance to build onsite links which is good for SEO. I’m curios, is there a recommended number of links to the old posts to put in a single blog post? 

  • Jacob Jan Voerman

    The way I do it is make categories as menu items . One page for each category. On that page I put the links of my posts with a very short exerpt.
    I try to make series by linking posts with a “previous” and “next” link.
    This way I make reading guides to my blog.
    I think I can do better, but is a beginning, I want my blog to be as readable as an e-book.

  • Dr. Bob Clarke

    Yeah, sometimes I feel like my older blog posts are just sitting there, gathering dust.  I wasn’t very savvy starting out and didn’t know much about deep internal linking so my older posts are somewhat stand alone and rarely get visited.

    These are some cool ideas for getting them back into circulation and being relevant again!  Thanks for the ideas, Chris.

  • Money Varta

    Thanks for such an informative and useful article.

  • Steve Fogg

    I just moved my blog from Typepad to WordPress on my marketing & branding blog and have been revisiting some of my first posts which has been a lot of fun to read. I was re-reading some of the ideas that I posted and they are still as relevant today as they were when I first posted them. 

    My question Chris is how do you recycle them? How do you bring older posts back from the deepest archives without it feeling spammy? I don’t like to drop links too much as I feel like I’m being disingenuous to readers. 

    I know I have some great marketing ideas but it’s how I retell that story or recycle it in an authentic way that I struggle with. 

  • Web Designer, London

    It takes a lot of time and effort to create quality blog content.  It makes sense to re-use the content as much as possible in order to leverage your content and maximise its benefits. I often spend most of my time writing posts and then syndicate and share it on as many places as I can.

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  • Astro Gremlin

    Recycling:  Motivation to write posts in timeless prose.  Chris, especially commenting around with CommentLuv I started switching up the articles, and realized some older ones were better.

  • Dayngr

    Perhaps in addition to recycling your blog is categorizing and tagging your posts so they live on far past their original posting. This could really help add value for those visiting your blog to quickly find relevant topics.

  • Link Building Services

    If one has its blog and not get the traffic or response due to getting old , then one has to recycle it for results from it. And the best way is that in your other related blog, put reference link of that blog. This is the best way. Thanks for great information for making the blog active.

  • writing jobs online

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  • Matt

    Hey Chris,

    Sounds like a good way to maximize the value of your blog. Thanks for sharing! 


  • Anonymous

    Wonderful advice. Many bloggers have already been doing this and also going back to update old blogs with some new material or remove outdated information or broken links. I love recycling in every form whether environmentally or via our blogs. For those who have just met you, it will be great to go back and review a bit of history to see how you started and your rise to fame on social media. Thanks so much for sharing the adventure. Blessings, Debby

  • renewable sources

    Well, this is interesting. Recycling your blog is a nice thing to do.

  • WordPress SEO

    Yep, its not uncommon that recycling and/or re-purposing blog articles written and posted last year get as many (if not more) views than when they were originally posted in 2009 and/or 2010

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  • Tina

    Thank you for the post Chris! That was a really useful and interesting reading for me (with all the comments to the article). I’ve looked through my old articles and now ready for the blog’s recycling:) Hope to process with this in the nearest future.

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