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Blog Housekeeping – Should You Recycle or Purge Old Posts?

By Char

TrashLet’s say you have been blogging for a few years and your post count is rather impressive. Some of those posts are real gems with timeless information and advice; and some of those posts that continually get search results that provide value (for the reader or the blogger because they make money of some sort). But, what about those posts that are either no longer relevant or somehow got lost in the shuffle? What do you do with them?

Recycling Posts

Yesterday I recycled a post called Does Your Domain Have Skeletons in its Closet. I recycled it because it had a really cool Halloween graphic on it and yesterday was Halloween, but I also recycled it because the information was still important and some of my readers may not have been readers the first time I published it.

Darren at Problogger has also had success with this technique at his Digital Photography site. Its good for search engine ranking, you introduce new readers to solid information they may not have seen before, and readers who did see it the first time through may get additional value out of it the second time through.

How about a post that you really liked but it was early on in your blog’s life – you know, before you discovered Stumble Upon and Digg? Reintroduce it and promote it on the social sites – it can give those hidden gems a new lease on life.

Just Trash It

So what about those posts that were very time sensitive (like I’m going on vacation posts) or just admin updates? Are they really worth keeping? At what point should you just delete them? Are they just taking up valuable space or do they serve a purpose?  I have deleted old posts from time to time, but haven’t really made an exercise of it.

Anyhow, this is one of those “I’m Thinking Out Loud” posts and would really love your take on these questions!

And here’s a bonus question – is there limit to the number of posts (records) that a WordPress database can handle? If so, what is the number?

Categories : Blogging



Hi Char. Great questions. I’ve been wondering the same thing about trashing old, irrelevant, posts. It does seem like they’re just taking up space. But I didn’t know if there was some “unspoken” blogger code that says “thou shalt never delete an old entry.” Not that I’m one to follow rules! ;)

It actually seems as if we’d be doing our readers a favor by deleting old posts that are no longer relevant: That way they won’t have to wade through them while searching for the good ones.

I also like the idea of recycling posts. Not sure about whether to link to them from a current post or polish them up and post them as new. I suppose it depends on how much polishing you’re going to do. And if you do refresh it and repost it as new, I wonder if it makes sense to delete the older version.

Sorry, not many answers to your questions, but hopefully some more thoughts to chew on!


You must be reading my mind! I have been thinking about how I need to do some housecleaning for a while now, but dang! Where do you find the time?? :(


Ed – Glad to know I am not the only one who has wondered about this. Is there some “unspoken code” – I don’t know, but it is a topic I’ve never really seen anyone address which is why I just had to put it out there for discussion.

Denise – I usually do the “housekeeping” tasks on weekends when traffic is down a bit.


I read something a while back that says to recycle and update older posts. There’s always a new twist on an old concept to be had and it’s great for those periods of writers block too.


I’m so jealous… I can’t wait to have so many posts that I even care about the old ones!


I vote for recycle. Looks like keeping post up would be beneficial in the long run.


Remix and Recycle :)

Some posts are timeless.


I”ve never really thought about it.

I just leave them, because I hate to delete ANYTHING. I even destroyed a hard drive once because I never deleted an email and the files got so big that the drive just couldn’t take it anymore! ;)

Plus, I know as soon as I delete some old post that seems inconsequential, I’ll suddenly need to reference it. I just know it!


Regarding poor older posts, you can do three things:

(1) Delete them [bad idea]
(2) Rewrite them at the same URL [good idea]
(3) Recycle them [good idea, but team it up by rewriting the old post and deep-linking to it.]


It would be pretty cool if WordPress – or some excellent plugin creator! – could come up with an archive posts function that would allow us to archive those old posts so that they’re not taking up the time and space of the readers but still available for us to access if we have one of those Wendy moments! ;)


Hi Char,

On my to-do list, is to create a PDF ebook to offer to my readers, using the info I’ve published in older blog posts. That’s one option for recycling.

As for deletion. I’m with Wendy on that one, though not in such extreme circumstances. :)


I can’t think of any compelling reason to delete them. Definitely recycling them sounds like a great idea. Just rewrite, so the content is duplicated, and maybe put a new spin on it. One of these days I’ll be at a point where I can do that.

Here’s a question – how long should you wait before recycling a post? 6 months? 1 year?


I thought there was a rule!

I thought we weren’t supposed to do anything to a post without thoroughly informing our readers!

OK, OK, I know that’s for political (and other insulting) sites — but…

I thought it was a rule.


I’m with Raj and his #3. Give the post an update, tie something current into it and link back to the old post. If you’re considering recycling, there probably is something current to prompt you to update it, add a sequel or a new spin to it. I’m only 100 posts and change deep, but I’ve pulled this off a few times. It really just makes sense.


I haven’t looked, but I would guess the number of posts is either not limited at all, or it’s limited by what is normally a int(8) number, which will give you many many million entries. Good luck trying to fill it!


Well it looks like recycle wins hands down!! Thanks for all of the insight.


It would be pretty cool if WordPress – or some excellent plugin creator! – could come up with an archive posts function that would allow us to archive those old posts so that they’re not taking up the time and space of the readers but still available for us to access if we have one of those Wendy moments! ;)

What about creating an Archive category, and putting old/irrelevant posts in there?

My hunch (completely unfounded… just a hunch) is that having those posts lingering does something positive for us. Search engines, page ranks, who knows…

Otherwise, yes — recycle.

(Actually, a post on the 3R’s would be good; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…)


Good questions, Char and good comments by everyone. I’ve often wondered whether it’s okay to change the date on a post – like Dec. 5, 2004 becomes Nov. 2, 2007. I guess it depends. Certainly it’s not a bad thing to repeat something you said before, so long as it’s useful to do so.

I also think it’s fine to delete forever those posts that have no use and most likely will have no more use.


Easton: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a date change, but if you feel uncomfortable, put in a note at the top or bottom, in square brackets, indicating the original date.


I’m on the side of NOT deleting. Even posts that are out of date e.g. software review or best plugins should be kept and just updated to reflect your current knowledge.

Blogs aren’t like a bookshelf that run out of space. Useful stuff stays in the forefront by being closer to the “top” via links you continue to use to the posts. If something becomes less relevant it will move deeper in to your site and therefore be “out of the way”.


Just today, PayPerPost asked me to delete an older opp that I had done for BizRate, saying that BizRate had requested it. Interesting, eh? I had gone through and deleted my last 6 months of posts prior to that request, but I also backed them up “just in case”. One of the things I have done too is when I have written an opp for PayPerPost I have “recycled” it by giving it a new name, etc., but I keep the bones of it because it was good in the first place. :)


I haven’t really thought about this but I did delete some old posts previously. Then after a while, I left them alone. But I tend to keep personal posts, no matter how old they are cos they are like ‘my journal’ which bring back memories.


I like to think of my archive (over 5 years of blogging) as a sort of timeline – just looking back at some of my older posts and how bad some of the grammar can be is amazing lol.

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