One of the first non-urgent tasks that I knew I would have to do when I started freelancing was to look through all the content on my site to make sure it was a fair reflection of the work I am doing now.

I wanted to get a good grasp on what content would be worth keeping up to date and properly promoting, versus content that is useful but doesn’t really need to be promoted, verses content I should remove because either my opinions have changed or best practice as moved on.

I’ve written over 500 articles on tosbourn.com. Going through them all took some time.

Here are some things I’ve learned from doing it.

  • There are articles I honestly have no recollection of writing, about technologies I would almost have sworn I’ve never used. It is crazy what you forget.
  • A lot of my opinions have veered towards the centre as I’ve aged. I used to dislike a lot more things than I do now!
  • My writing style has largely stayed the same, in that it is fairly conversational.
  • I used to have a hard-on for getting points on Hacker News. (fairly cringe worthy I have to say!)
  • Only about 10% of the articles I’ve written have what it takes to be decent evergreen content.*

One of my big takeaways was that is well worth doing and something I would recommend everyone with a website that has been generating content for years do. Apart from noticing odd little things like the above, there was a practical component to it.

Why I went through all my old posts

Here are some of the practical things I was able to do.

  • Delete old posts that were of zero value to anyone (I verified by seeing there was zero traffic hitting some very low quality posts)
  • Fix typos / broken links in older posts
  • Highlight posts that I believe have potential, which I shall be re-working in the future and re-sharing
  • Update posts to have decent Schema and other meta information associated with them.

Redirect everything

Make sure if you do decide to kill content (which as an act, should never be taken lightly) that you redirect the user somewhere useful.

Notes

* I’ve written about problems with Evergreen content before, ironically (or not), that post didn’t make my list of things that would be useful as examples of evergreen content.