The First Step to Getting Rid of Obsolete Old Content


Lately, I’ve been having an internal debate about some old content on this blog. But after thinking about it, I’ve come to an important decision.

What do you do with old content on your blog that you feel is obsolete?

That’s an important question, but before I get to that answer, I think it’s important to ask a very different question first.

What makes content obsolete?

How does a blogger decide when his content is no longer useful?

Sometimes, we may express an opinion about a topic that was important to us at one time but no longer is. That doesn’t, in and of itself, make the content obsolete.

After all, if your thoughts and your argument were well-ordered, there are people who may be dealing with that issue and may welcome a well-written perspective on the topic. It could help them fortify their own ideas, whether you change their mind or whether they already agreed with you.

If you’ve changed your mind on an important topic, that doesn’t make your content obsolete, either. In fact, it might make it more valuable to your site: you can now explain why and how your opinions have changed. You can write a new post about why you’ve changed your view and even link back to the older post. (You can then add a link to the old post to point to the newer one and invite people to read why you no longer feel this way.)

Your readers may feel the change of view is very interesting and it may even help you express both sides of an issue more effectively.

So in my view, what makes content obsolete is when you feel there’s no value — and no salvageable way to add value to that which once had it.

The solution to the internal struggle

If you’re like me, you’re hesitant to just delete old content. For some reason, even killing one old post seems wrong.

Maybe it’s nothing more than a case of not wanting to “kill your darlings,” as some writers might say.

But I realized I needed to drop this foolish notion.

There is some content that just doesn’t seem to carry much value, no matter what I do with it. I could update it, but without a complete rewrite, it may not be worth the effort.

And if you completely rewrite, are you better off creating a new post? Maybe, if the old post isn’t getting any page views and a newer post (with promotion on social) might get you more page views.

But still, actually clicking delete on an old post wasn’t an appealing idea.

Until I gave myself permission.

Sometimes, we as bloggers have to simply give ourselves permission to act. We can so easily get bogged down by the various “rules” of blogging we insist must be valid that we second-guess ourselves.

Sometimes, we need to take a step back, take a deep breath, weigh the pros and cons of a move. And then we need to simply say, “I’m going to do what’s best for my blog.”

It’s a simple idea, I realize.

But it might just be the message you need to hear.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.