Write Through the Night has had a kind of stop and go history. I founded the blog in 2016, blogged for a few years, and then stopped posting for nearly two entire years before restarting again in December 2021. On restart, I expanded the premise for the blog, moving from a strictly Book Blog to a books/tv/culture/general pop culture blog. It fit more with what my interests are now, and has enabled me to post more regularly. When I was making plans to bring the blog back to life, I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to make a new blog, or simply start posting again on the blog that I’d worked so hard to build back in high school. I struggled to find any guides to tell me what would be “best”, so I wanted to make this post to talk about the pros and cons of reviving your old blog.
Pro: Backlog of Content
The most obvious pro for continuing a blog that already exists is that you’re not completely abandoning your old content. Instead, you’re building on top of content that already exists, and that means you will also be benefitting from views to your old content. Every month, I receive about 5% of my views from content that I posted before the latest revival of my blog.
What do these higher view numbers mean? If you’re hosting ads on your site (which I am not) this will correspond to an increase in how much you are paid. If not, the higher view numbers still factor into your Viewers Per Month and Unique Viewers Per Month that are used to get brand sponsorships as well as Netgalley and Edelweiss books approved by the publisher. View count is one of the most important metrics when deciding how you will get compensated for your blog, and so this extra 5% or so can make a big difference.
Con: Dead Links + Pages
The downside of having a backlog of content is that a lot of this content will contain dead links. I used to (and still do) backlink to other people’s sites, as well as some of my own posts when I am writing wrap-up posts or other related content. This is something you should definitely do (more on that in the SEO section), but it does mean more consistent upkeep. Dead links are links that go to webpages that no longer exist, so a 404 error or some other type of error is thrown. This will bring down your DA score and work against you in getting your content to rank on Google searches. I have been back to blogging for a while and I still haven’t weeded through and removed all of the dead links on my site. There are a lot of handy tools that will search the site for you, but you still have to go through and manually change them all! It’s highly time consuming!
The other aspect of dead content is old Pages that you want gone or significantly changed. “About Me” pages are sort of like a time capsule of who you were, and it can be sad to change that page especially if you’ve been gone for a long time. You have to make sure you completely update all of your Pages, because people could have those links saved somewhere (for example, a 2015 blog post by another blogger might link to your 2015 About Me page) so it’s important that you don’t just create a new one and avoid navigating to the old page on your own site. All of these revamps can be more time consuming than just creating a new site altogether. It’s the type of thing that doesn’t sound like a big deal at first but becomes a lot more work than you think.
Pro: Built in Audience
This is another obvious pro, but one that I think is important to mention. If you restart your blog, you already have all of the followers who subscribed to your blog way back in the day. Of course, many of these people may be inactive now, but from what I can tell there doesn’t seem to be any penalties on WordPress for having inactive subscribers like there is, say, on Instagram or Twitter. You may have super loyal followers who are still active and wouldn’t see your social media “return to blogging” announcement, but would see the posts show up in reader.
I know commenting is not a great metric for who actually reads your blog, because my numbers on commenting are way below my numbers on unique viewership, but I would estimate that about 1/2 of my comments on each post come from people who were following me back in 2018. These loyal commenters make a big difference for creating the type of environment that you want new viewers to see when they go to your page.
Con: Audience Doesn’t Fit With New Content
I mentioned above that my content has expanded, but about 50% of my content is still the same as what I was posting back in the day. If you’re going to change up your content completely and 100%, I would say you absolutely need to start a new blog because that just isn’t what your audience signed up for. If you change too much you could frustrate old subscribers and cause them to unsubscribe or even complain about you on Twitter, which would not be great for the reputation of your site. I haven’t had a problem with this because all of my followers are LOVELY, and I also still post a lot of book content, but it is something to watch out for.
Your tone, perspective, and style of writing can change dramatically and that is fine in my opinion. I found that a lot of the book bloggers I used to follow who had a similarly “immature” writing style have grown up at the same rate that I did, so my new style of blogging still fits into their styles of blogging. It’s fair to assume that your audience will grow with you, so unless you suddenly decide all of your posts are going to to be written in verse, I would not consider tone changes to require a whole new blog. It’s important to remember that people will see your old posts, though, so if you’re trying to become a whole new internet persona, you can’t hide the fact that you used to end all of your posts with “now venture out and change the world”. (just an example, not anything I’ve done of course)
Pro & Con: SEO
I would not claim to be an SEO expert, but I have consumed my fair share of podcasts, Youtube videos, and blog posts in an attempt to become enough of an expert that I can rank in the google search algorithm. If I were to distill down my findings to one sentence, it would be “Become An Expert”. The issue is, adding on to your old blog can both help you and hurt you in achieving this.
Ways it can help
- SEO rankers love to see you backlink yourself. This means that when you mention your 2018 blogging community, you should link that post you made about the community in the past (see what I did there). This helps build your credibility and shows that your old blog posts are still relevant.
- The more content you have with a specific keyword, the more likely you are to get ranked for that key word
- Google loves to see old posts get updated, so if you’re going through and updating old content, this will bump them up in the search algorithm
Ways it can hurt
- If you change the overarching theme of your blog, all of your old content will take away from your perceived expert-ness
- If you weren’t great at SEO in the past, chances are that your posts won’t be filled with great keywords and they won’t do much to help your new blog rank
- Dead links
On the whole, I would highly recommend restarting your old blog if you are going to be posting in a similar niche. In just my second month back blogging, I had my 5th best month of all time in terms of views, and this most certainly would not have happened if I was starting a blog from scratch. I am happy to reconnect with so many people that I used to talk to in the blogging world.
In my specific case, I was not thattt embarrassed about my old content. My URL is fine enough although maybe not super relevant to all of my content now, and honestly all of my shame for the cringy-ness of my old content died in 2018 when my entire college basketball team stumbled upon the blog and were forced to pretend they thought it was cool. I like that my review index contains reviews from 2017 and reviews from 2022. Even though I was in a very different place back then my young self opinions are still relevant.
And if I didn’t restart my blog I wouldn’t be in a position to write this post! So wins all around!
If you’re restarting your blog, or you decided to start over from scratch, make sure to let me know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to check out your content and welcome you back to the blogging world!