Find out whether updating old content or posting new content is better for your blog. Learn where to spend your time and earn more money working smarter, not harder.
In This Post You’ll Learn
Updating Vs New
I feel like there’s an age old argument in the food blogging world:
Should you focus on new recipes or updating old ones?
In the great words of food blog specialists like Andrew Wilder from NerdPress and Casey Markee from Media Wyse – “It Depends!”.
I think the best way to get to an answer that suits your blog is to start by looking at the bigger picture.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who does my content serve and who is my new content for vs who benefits from my updated content?
- What content takes the most time?
- What content pays the most?
Starting at Zero Isn’t the Same Thing
Let’s look at what the differences are between an old post and a new post.
Say you have a post for Banana Bread on your website at 0 monthly views from 6 years ago and a new recipe idea for Chocolate Cake. Both are currently at the “same point” and getting no views.
So let’s take a closer look.
- Has 6 years of “Google Juice”
- The recipe is written.
- Photos are salvageable.
- Content is mostly there, but needs a rewrite.
- It has no “Google juice”
- You need to plan, research and test the recipe, write and shoot it, maybe even film it.
So while they’re both currently getting no traffic, your “time cost” will be much lower spent on updating your existing Banana Bread vs the new Chocolate Cake recipe post.
This is because an update can be as quick as half an hour, or a few hours if you’re doing a reshoot. Whereas a new post from scratch will most likely take you at least a day (if you’re similar to us) with the amount of work involved.
This means you have the opportunity to update multiple posts within that same timeframe, and if all of them show good growth, that’s a huge increase in traffic and revenue.
Case Study: Oysters Kilpatrick
From Ugly to Awesome: Start where you are. Use what you have.
We have a super old oysters post from Dec 2017, which was originally “oysters 3 ways” – unsurprisingly, this didn’t have much search volume. We since changed the post to focus on Oysters Kilpatrick.
We’ve updated the post twice and I re-edited our images which are now 5 years old, to look like a new shoot. Are the photos fantastic? No. Do they only show kilpatrick oysters. Yes! Check out the before and after below to see how you can utilise what you have!
All up, it probably took us a couple of hours of work to redo the post again. What does this look like in $$ for a few hours work?
Post earnings Dec 5 2018 – Dec 4 2020 = ~$50US
Post earnings after 1st update Dec 5 2020 – Dec 4 2022 = ~$560US
What does this look like in traffic?
Dec 5 2018 – Dec 4 2020 = 2569 views / ~100 monthly views
Dec 5 2020 – Dec 4 2022 = 28008 views / ~1167 monthly views
That’s a 10x increase in views AND income from one post.
Traffic Isn’t Everything (Location Is)
What happens if you have a post getting 100 sessions a month vs 500?
Clearly the 500 sessions post is better right?
Not so fast!
It’s time to check your RPMs and Location for the traffic each post is receiving.
- Post 1 – 100 sessions: Getting majority US traffic and $40RPM.
- Post 2 – 500 sessions: Getting majority Indonesian traffic and $8RPM.
So what does each post earn over a month?
Both posts are earning $4. Yet that 100 session post is receiving one fifth of the traffic for the same money.
I share this example to show you that traffic isn’t everything when it comes to deciding on updating vs new posts.
Sometimes you need to dive a little deeper to see what RPMs and what traffic locations your post has to see its true potential.
Especially if we go back to the examples, if you get 100 more views on Post 1, you’ve doubled your money.
If you wanted to do the same on Post 2 – you’d need to get 500 more views! That’s so much more work!
Did you know you can check the location of traffic for new posts too? Using KeySearch, the default is to show you worldwide results when looking up a keyword. So if the search volume is 10,000 a month worldwide, change it to the US, for example, to see the search volume for that country. It may then rebalance the volume to show you the majority from that country, or it may show you it’s not popular there at all!
Think of Updates as Pay Rises
We recently ran an update challenge in our Facebook group for our Eat Your Words and Unscramble Your Stats readers. The challenge was to update 5 posts, and track them a month or more later to see how they’d gone so far.
The results have been fantastic. One blogger’s posts are already estimated to earn her an extra $500US this year! Our results were similar, with an estimated $400US/year increase in our earnings. That’s including some posts that we’d already updated multiple times as well.
A Ratio Can Help To Find Balance
If you’re a newer blog (let’s say under 2 years old), your focus will probably still be on new content. However, you’ve probably learnt a tonne of information since you started, so those first few posts could probably still benefit from an update. So your ratio may be 80% new content, and 20% updates.
If you’re an older blog, it may be smarter to start slogging through 80-100% updates for a while to unearth those golden nuggets that you created 5+ years ago. It could be a recipe that ranked before falling off the radar, or one with zero helpful content for your readers and blurry iPhone photos.
At the end of the day, your aim is to have a blog where a reader can look through your site and find consistency.
You want your readers to find recipes that work, beautiful photography and helpful content that gives them confidence to cook more and come back to your site again and again.
A site with all good content, not just the latest new stuff, builds brand trust and authority as well. This is always a good thing in both your readers’ and Google’s eyes.
Eat Your Words – Keyword Research for Food Bloggers
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Diving deeper into your current site, what action can you take next to improve your content?
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