Recently it came to my attention that folks were deleting old posts that were no longer necessary. For example: giveaways, cover reveals, read-a-thons etc. I know 404’s are ok and that a hard 404 is better..but what is the correct way to delete them? Should you unpublish them first or just delete away?
Who out there is deleting old posts??
I don’t delete any old posts
I never delete any of my old posts. I don’t think you need to. Why would you want to remove the content you worked so hard to write? Sure, a giveaway may no longer be relevant, but as long as it’s clear that the giveaway had ended, there’s no reason to delete the post. I think part of the fun of blogging is having a record of all your old content. I like being able to look back and see what giveaways I put on and what covers I revealed. I think it’s good for readers to see that too. If a reader really wants to follow a blog with a lot of giveaways, they can click on your “Giveaways” category and see how regularly you host them.
In terms of SEO, there’s only one real benefit to deleting old content and that’s if the content is blatantly incorrect or irrelevant. For example, if I published a guide on how to navigate WordPress that was written 5 years ago and no longer relevant to modern WordPress, then that information is blatantly incorrect and possibly misleading. The better option would be to update the post to correct it. But if I didn’t want to do that for some reason, then deleting it would be a possibility.
The best way to delete posts… if you must!
If you’re really set on deleting those old posts, then the best way to do it would be to delete the post, then redirect the URL for that post to somewhere else (like another relevant post or just the homepage). This avoids the user getting a 404 error, and instead they’re taken to a new page.
There is no difference between deleting vs “unpublishing” (making it a draft or private). Either way, the post becomes inaccessible and will lead to a 404 page.
How to set up a 301 redirect
The “manual” way is to edit your .htaccess file and add this line at the very top:
Redirect 301 OLDURL NEWURL
So an example might be:
Redirect 301 https://www.nosegraze.com/old-deleted-post https://www.nosegraze.com
So I would be redirecting “old-deleted-post” to the homepage.
Alternatively, you can install a plugin to help you out. I haven’t used it myself, but Simple 301 Redirects might be a good option.
I used to. Woah, this actually gives me a lot to think about. Right now, I quick-edited some of my posts to private, instead 🙂
Okay, that’s crazy to me, deleting posts. Those are my babies!!! Can’t part with them even if they are old and no longer relevant
I totally agree! I’d never delete any of my posts.
I deleted a few of my first reviews. They can’t even be called that lol. And the only reason I did that was because I’m going to re-read and review them properly. 😛 Like I’m doing now with The Selection and The Elite.
When I decided I’m not doing cover reveals and book blitzes anymore, I went ahead and deleted all those posts from the book blog. Many of them were a bit messed up from when we transferred the site anyway and I didn’t feel like fixing each one. I doubt anyone will still be looking for them, but I never set up a redirect, and now wouldn’t even remember what the full url would be. I’ve also deleted sponsored posts from my personal blog after the campaigns ended. Especially since now people are getting negatively affected by having sponsored links.
What do you mean by this?
I’ve been getting tons of emails from clients of past sponsored links asking for the link to be removed because Google is hurting their ranking because of it or something. I also noticed my own ranking being really low and one explanation is sponsored links.
I think sponsored links only negatively affect SEO if you don’t follow the Google guidelines for them. The main thing that Google insists upon is that sponsored links should not pass pagerank. That means the link should include
rel="nofollow"to tell search engines not to follow that link. If you abide by that guideline, using sponsored links shouldn’t affect your ranking.
I think advertisers are learning that now, but at the time those posts were done, we were told not to put no follow. So when being asked to delete the links, I just cleaned up and deleted all paid posts, since most weren’t my quality posts anyway.
i can see why you do not delete older posts since you do not participate in read-a-thons, spotlights, one day sales, monthly releases etc. I think the reasons I have heard from people doing this is due to WordPress size and limitations. Especially those having done this for six years. Their reasoning being their blogs become to large, run slow etc. Thanks for the information.
The only limitation you’d have with self-hosted WordPress is disk space. If you consider that you probably have a MINIMUM of 3 GB (with more hosts allowing anywhere from 10-50 GB), that’s 3,145,728 KB. Now a single image (reasonably sized, no more than like 600×600 pixels) probably takes up about 60 KB of space. A book cover is usually like 30-40 KB, but really large photographs can be more like 100 KB, so I chose 60 KB as a decent average.
So if we take your limit of 3,145,728 KB and divide it by 60 KB for your average image, that allows you to have about 52,428 images. Now if you divide that by 3 because sometimes WordPress creates resizes of images, that’s still 17,476 images (but you can still have more than that because the resized thumbnails will take up a lot more space).
I don’t know about you, but I have nowhere near 17,476 images. 😛
But a post itself (without images) takes up barely any space. I’m talking about a single speck of dust inside a gymnasium.
And the physical size of your blog (how many GB you’re using) won’t affect your load times whatsoever, unless you’re reading the capacity of your server. So if your server has 100GB of space and you’re using basically 100GB, yes it will run slow because you’re at the physical limits of your server. But using 60GB out of 100GB is no different from using 12GB out of 100GB, because it’s not like it’s loading all of it at once.
I haven’t heard about people deleting old posts either. I’m really not sure why you’d want to…
I have never deleted any of my old posts. It is fun to see how my blog has grown and changed. I try to go back and fix pictures on my old posts every so often though.
That’s an excellent point! I like to see how my blog has changed too. 🙂
I deleted a couple, and that was when I was reformatting everything after moving hosts. They were all blog tour posts, ones I hadn’t written myself and the type of thing that I no longer have any interest in posting. I have to admit I deleted them mostly because the thought of that was better than reformatting them all – they were all really long posts! And I wanted to prioritise my time reformatting posts that I’d spent time writing myself, rather than content that I’m sure is posted on loads of other blogs.
That’s fair enough. 😀
Wow. People who delete their own posts must have a pretty good traffic already because what’s more precious than content… ?
There’s no way I delete a post I’ve been writing. Blogs have “archives” and that’s where I put obsolete stuff. I don’t think any work deserve ending up in the trash can.
I have delete any posts, I really don’t see the need to. You’re right, we worked really hard for every single post!
When I was on blogger a few years ago and I wasn’t sure what I was doing and people made me feel like I was being stupid so I got all frustrated and deleted an entire blog after about a year of posts. As soon as I did it I regretted it. Now don’t laugh at me but I even cried to my husband about it. He was like, “why the hell would you let anyone make you feel like you had to do something you didn’t want to do?” I was bummed even more then. Then after taking about a year to think about it and missing my own little world, I started one back up again and decided it was going to be a book blog. I’ve never looked back and I haven’t deleted any posts. Even the ones that are just me venting. They may not be book related but I’m not deleting them anyway.
No, I’d never go an delete old post – why should I. As you said I worked on this post and it’s part of my Blog which’s been running since more than 4 yeas now – why would I delete something?
Unless I need disk space but in this case I would delete images or buy an upgrade.
I’ve never deleted old posts for the same reason. I wouldn’t want to delete something or throw away something I’ve worked hard on. I also want to look back on my old posts someday and be able to read my thoughts.
In my switch from Blogger to WP a few days ago I did end up deleting a few posts, that transferred over whacky. My old Sunday Post meme posts got really messed up and after spending several frustrating minutes trying to fix one, I just said ‘screw this’ and deleted the darn things :p Besides that though, I’m not planning on ever deleting old posts!
Yeah nope, seems silly to me unless you are running out of space but then why not just get some more space. definitely not deleting!
I might revise a post but I don’t delete it – Blogs are like “logs” or journals and were intended to record stuff. That’s what I do it for! Great post!
I’m thinking about deleting old post from a very old blog of mine, but i’m not sure if is a good thing from the SEO Point of view.
I don’t know for sure way, but I think that a blog with a limited number of posts will be better (indexed faster and placed in better SERP positions) by the SE.