Maintaining your blog is almost as crucial as creating new content.
For the first three years or so in my blogging journey, I never considered maintaining my blog. I was only concentrating on writing new posts and thought that it would be enough. I actually thought that no one would look at my older posts!
I’ve learnt a lot since then, including the fact that blog maintenance is super important. In this guidepost, you will learn everything about blog maintenance tasks—WHY you should do them, WHAT you should do, and HOW OFTEN you should do them.
- 1 why you should maintain your blog
- 2 weekly blog maintenance tasks
- 3 monthly blog maintenance tasks
- 4 bonus: other tasks that you can do
why you should maintain your blog
Blog maintenance is mostly admin work. At times, it can feel pointless compared to writing new posts and coming up with new ideas. But it actually makes a lot of difference.
Maintaining your blog makes sure that the entirety of your blog is alive. By “alive” I mean:
- It is usable. All the buttons, links etc. actually work.
- It is presentable. Content is cohesive with your current brand, there are no images missing, and nothing looks weird (which can happens sometimes with CSS changes).
- Evergreen content is relevant. If a reader goes to a guidepost or discussion of yours from two years back, they need to find content that is still relevant.
- It is accessible. There shouldn’t be any missing content or things that don’t work. For example, this can happen if you deleted a plugin which had embedded content.
All of these things sound good but how does blog maintenance help your blog grow?
- Old posts are more likely to be indexed on search engines. They are likely to “blow up”. You never know which post will suddenly become popular. When that happens, you will get a TON of new visitors. Maintaining your blog will make sure that new visitors landing on old posts will not immediately bounce.
- Visitors who love a post of yours will generally click through to older posts to read more content from you. They are just as likely to end up at a 2-year-old post and they should be able to like that content as well.
- A couple of blog maintenance tasks actually help maintain and increase your SEO. I will explain this in detail in a bit.
- You can always promote evergreen posts. Let’s say you haven’t written any new posts for a month. But if you maintain your blog, you can promote older posts and still get new visitors. Even if you’re in a blogging slump or hiatus, your blog will grow through the older posts.
weekly blog maintenance tasks
These weekly tasks (excluding the last point) require about an hour every week. The last one depends on if/how you do it.
Internal linking is super important. It boosts SEO. It helps drive traffic to other posts and keep readers on your blog. Because it is so vital, this is a specific step in my SEO strategy.
By doing this activity weekly, you can batch the linking activities and save time if you post multiple times a week. This also makes sure that you don’t forget to interlink.
This especially helps if you link new posts in related older and popular posts. For example, if you get a lot of visitors to a specific post via search engines or Pinterest and write a new related post, people will click through to the newer post. This “promotes” your new post in multiple ways.
What I do: I find it hard to link my new posts in older posts immediately after the former goes live. I just don’t have the time for it. So I do it weekly for all the new posts that went up. When outlining a blog post idea on Notion, I write down what old posts I can link this in so I can easily refer to it and link once the post is up,
2. check spam comments
Many times, genuine comments get marked as spam. And if your blog is even a little old, spam comments can build up fast and genuine comments will get lost. Finding and replying to a comment a year later is not ideal.
Cleaning spam comments weekly makes the tasks manageable and also helps you find lost genuine comments fast.
Make sure to delete the actual spam comments because they can very quickly build up to hundreds if your posts rank on search engines.
This is also important because spam comments get automatically deleted from some blogs. This does not happen on free WordPress but when I first went self-hosted and was setting things up, I noticed this being written somewhere. My spam comments get deleted every 2 weeks. I’m very glad I saw it otherwise I’d lose so many comments.
3. reply to comments
Replying to comments can feel like a herculean task, especially if you get a lot of comments. Setting aside some time every week for this makes it manageable and makes sure that you won’t procrastinate on it.
If you have a little more time, you can combine this task with commenting back on blogs by the commenters. Commenting back is a really nice thing to do and it helps you connect with your readers. They will also be more likely to continue visiting and commenting on your posts if you give back the engagement.
While this is a super important task, there is a reason it is 4th on the list. Doing this after interlinking and going through comments makes sure that you catch any broken links in them as well.
I’m saying this out of my experience. There have been times when I did not interlink properly or spam comments didn’t have proper links and I found out a whole week later because I checked broken links first. So I highly suggest following this order to not miss anything.
Broken links are harmful to SEO and user experience. You can use this broken link checker. Keeping them to zero is in your best interest. Broken links can pile up very fast so fixing them weekly is ideal.
To fix broken links, either remove the links or replace them with other relevant ones.
They mostly occur through comments. (Yes, links on comments are counted.) People who comment may have the link of a closed website or a wrong link. It can also occur if a post you’ve linked to has been taken down.
What I do: The tool takes some time to check every broken link on the blog. So I start the scan and move on to the following tasks. Once it is done, I fix all the broken links mentioned. I choose the “distinct” links option so it scans faster. If one commenter’s link is highlighted, I just search through my comments in the dashboard to pull up all of their comments and fix all links.
I generally remove broken links from my posts, edit friends’ comments with the right links (since I know them), and remove links in comments by strangers.
Promoting posts on social media is important for traffic. Scheduling the posts weekly instead of daily or monthly is better since you will batch up the work but it won’t be too much to do at once.
I am putting this under blog maintenance because, as I said earlier, my definition of maintaining is keeping the blog “alive”. Promotion comes under that since it drives traffic to older posts.
What I do: As of now, I only promote on Twitter and Pinterest. Scheduling tweets and pins make it so easy because I don’t have to worry about promotion during the week. I generally schedule 4 tweets per day and 1-3 pins per day. The number depends on how much time I have weekly to make/write and schedule them.
monthly blog maintenance tasks
These tasks require about half an hour every month.
1. update legal pages
All blogs need legal pages, especially if you own your blog URL. And they have to be updated or it can cause some legal issues.
Every month, take the time to update the legal pages with any new information. For example, I updated them when I started using affiliate links and when I started my newsletter.
Generally, there isn’t much to change on a monthly basis but it is good to check it every month.
2. update media kit
If you have a media kit and are looking to monetize your blog, it is good to update your media kit every month with new information. Updated stats can help you get more opportunities and be compensated fairly.
If you don’t have a media kit yet, I have a media kit template available in my resource library for you!
3. update one (or more) old posts
As I mentioned earlier, evergreen posts can become outdated if they’re not updated from time to time. If you have long-lasting posts on your blog, it is a good idea to update them once in a while. The more posts you have, the more posts you’ll have to update every month.
Here are some things that you can update:
- Links/references added.
- Update content to be relevant today. For example, my post on underrated romance books can become outdated if the books become more popular. So I have to update the recommendations.
- Add new content which is relevant today.
- Update the post’s SEO.
- Update images.
- Format the post better.
Links, content, and SEO are the most important things to look at. From what I’ve seen, people (including me) learn more about SEO every month so there will definitely be something you can improve in your old posts.
Some bloggers update all their old posts in spring as a “spring clean” activity but I personally find that overwhelming so I do it a little every month.
For more info, you can check out Kal’s post on refreshing evergreen content.
If you’re unsure of which posts to update first, prioritize the posts that are either already ranking on search engines or ones that you want to rank higher.
bonus: other tasks that you can do
All the ones that I mentioned above are the ones that are most important. There are few other things that you can do based on whether it is required for your blog (you will be the best judge of that). These are also tasks that can be done less frequently like quarterly, biannually, or annually.
- Update about page. About pages can become outdated quite fast. Updating them biannually should be good.
- Update sidebar/footer content. For example, I update recommended blogs in my footer every month so it is a part of my monthly checklist.
- Make a stats report for yourself. This is a total nerd thing but it is very helpful! This is my favourite monthly activity to do. I write all the stats along with any insights or comments.
- Remove old/unused plugins. If you have plugins, it is a good idea to regularly delete inactive ones or replace them with better ones. Always make sure your blog is working fine after deleting a plugin!
- Delete blog posts you don’t want anymore. If you’ve had the same blog for several years, you might have old content that you’re not proud of anymore. If you don’t want them to be seen by others, either delete them or make them private. Check broken links after doing this.
- Update your links page. I have my own links page on the blog so I try to update that regularly. If you have a linktree, carrd, or another like that, update that.
- Back up your blog! This can save you from mistakes or other “disasters”. I have a self-hosted blog and can mess up things by mistake so I make sure to back up my blog every week. It can be done monthly but I like to be extra careful.
- Database cleanup. Delete media that is not being used, old post revisions (there are plugins for this), or old themes.
- Update alt texts of images. I try to write alt texts well but sometimes I’ll see an old description and go “that doesn’t help!” It is good to update them when you can.
- Bulk optimize images. I have a plugin that does this automatically with every image upload but you can do it yourself every month or so.
These are just some suggestions. You can choose to do these or add other tasks that make sense for you.