Last Updated on January 9, 2019 by Jeremy
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It has been a few months now since we announced that Living the Dream would become a Lifestyle Design blog, and since then we have spent a great deal of time working on fixing up our site to operate in the global vision we have for it.
One of the interesting things we've learned during this time is not about the struggles we face when joining this new blogging genre (to be quite honest, I don't really care what my colleagues are doing in this industry at the moment, so that is easy), but is rather how much we're working on the back-end to improve our site overall.
As it turns out, moving our site over into a new genre was quite easy. A few description changes here, a shift in our article styles there, and a small campaign on social media and boom, we're a travel-focused Lifestyle Design blog on the surface.
But when we look at the site on the inside, a lot of new work came about. So much so that it felt that we were starting over- only with an eight year, 1,000 article head start.
Rebranding Strategy to Make New Content Relevant and Old Content Thrive
Prior to turning Living the Dream into a Lifestyle Design blog, I was worried about what would happen. Would people get what we were trying to accomplish? Would they care about our quest to financial independence? Would anyone want to join us on this journey and do it themselves?
We made the switch, and nothing out of the ordinary happened.
It took a while, but it finally hit me in that we are not an audience driven blog by any means. I do not write posts with the people who read us daily in mind. I write because this site, first and foremost, has been about keeping us on track with our own goals. Those who find value in what we write, whether they find us through subscribing to all our updates, finding an article on social media, or, like the vast majority do, through a pressing Google search engine result, often do not stick around for everything.
They come only for what they're interested in and find useful to their own situation.
It was this sort of aha moment that really made me get into action. Rebranding for us was not about reinventing the wheel to build a better site for our audience, but was more about taking what we have and not only making it fit with our current vision, but giving it the boost it needs to thrive.
Naturally, this was something that has been a long time coming.
Taking Our Site to the Next Level – By Focusing on the Old Content
What do I mean by going to the next level? Well, although we plan on bringing out useful content into the future from both our travels and our Lifestyle Design and Blog Your Trip series, we had to take a moment and realize that part (if not all) of our financial goals lie not in the content we will be pushing out in the future, but in the ones that we already published in the past.
If we are going to make our income goals and achieve financial independence, it is best to start with what already works.
Our old articles are the ones that have search engine placement. They are the ones that have readers. Many already convert sales. And, sadly, a lot of those articles are not at their very best.
On the flip side, what do new articles do for us? Not much– because it simply takes far too long for good ones to be indexed into search engines and become valuable. It happens over time and, since we're playing the long game in blogging, we consider new posts to be a future investment and not something we seek immediate results with.
This then opened up an important question.
Why on Earth would we spend the bulk of our time focusing on future content when we have 1,000 articles that could help us make our income goals already?
Thankfully, this is where SEO comes into play, and is just as important in rebranding as it is in building a new site altogether.
Getting Over Nostalgia with the Delete Button and a Massive SEO Campaign
If you've been reading our monthly income reports, you've been hearing a lot about how we're going through old posts and unpublishing non-performers. As it turns out, this has been one of the hardest parts of our entire rebranding strategy because, to be quite honest, it is hard (mentally) to delete old posts!
Now, you may be quite confused as to why we are doing this in the first place, and it all stems from the fact that our old content is still very important to our site and ultimate blogging goals. You see, while we do now consider our site to be a Lifestyle Design blog, focused on what we're doing to live our dreams first and foremost, it is still a travel blog because our dream lifestyle is one full of traveling!
Prior to starting this rebranding campaign we had over 1,000 articles on this site all on the topic of travel, and most of them were junk. Not just from a writing standpoint, but also from their relevance (some were eight years old), quality (I cringe when I read some), and others received no traffic what-so-ever.
In fact, after performing an analysis into our total page views, total Google search impressions, and total Google clicks, we found that over half of our 1,000 articles contributed only 10% of our traffic (and the vast majority of those contributed none at all).
So what did we do?
We started unpublishing poor performers to start helping improve our search engine algorithm rankings overall, we began adding targeted keywords in our best articles to improve individual article rankings, and added more affiliate links into our most viewed articles in relevant pitches to our readers. If the theory holds out, we should be generating more traffic, converting more sales, and walking away with more profit very, very soon.
When it comes to performing back-end site work, all of those seem like pretty valuable uses of our time, and is the kind of rebranding topics everyone should consider other than just the cosmetic.
Yes, your site may need a new face on the surface, and your future articles could probably stand to go in a different (and better) direction, but when it comes down to it, the articles you already have are the ones of value.
Do not forget about them- they are your head start that new bloggers simply do not have.
Have an existing blog that is in need of an upgrade? Check out the following services we personally use!
- BigScoots - Premium managed hosting with plans as low as $35/month.
- GeneratePress - A customizable theme designed for site speed.
- AdInserter Pro - A widget logic plugin that is quite powerful.
- WP Rocket - An image and caching optimization plug-in.
- Mailerlite - Cost effective newsletter service.
- Keysearch - Keyword research tool for SEO.
- Pretty Links Pro - A great link cloaking tool to clean up affiliate links.
Looking for tips? Read our Blog Your Trip series!
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About the Author: Jeremy is a full-time travel writer based in Pittsburgh and primary author of this site. He has been to 70+ countries on five continents and seeks out new food, adventure activities, and off-the-beaten-path experiences wherever he travels.