Why I deleted almost 500 posts

To prepare for my site redesign, I deleted almost 500 posts from my site. Yes, you read the correctly. I deleted more posts than I kept on my site.

(Before you freak out on my behalf, don’t worry — they aren’t gone forever. I copied them over to a private archive.)

Why I deleted almost 500 posts from elembee.com

It wasn’t an easy decision. In fact, I’ve probably spent the last two years debating the pros and cons with myself.

Part of the reason I held on to those posts for so long was that I felt people needed to be able to see my journey. But how many of you actually have time to read nearly five years worth of archives? And how many of you actually want to read my thoughts on interior design trends from four years ago?

Ultimately, I knew with this redesign that I wanted you to be able to find the help you need through better categorization and tagging, and giving you a way to filter all posts. Keeping old posts unrelated to the purpose of my site today would have meant forcing you to sort through irrelevant posts to find what you need.

Furthermore, in the nearly five years I’ve been blogging, a lot has changed in regards to crediting and using photography from other websites. While I’ve always linked backed to the original source of the images I shared, some of those sources no longer exist. There were also times when I simply provided numbers below an image and added the links there instead of writing out the full credit. Now that my site is the home of my business, I’m really only comfortable using my own images or stock images that are free for commercial use. It simply didn’t make sense to update old posts that were no longer relevant to the purpose of my site.

Now I want to turn it over to you: What are your thoughts on deleting irrelevant blog posts as your blog evolves over time? Have you done it before?

24 Comments

  1. Allyssa wrote:

    I’m a big fan of deleting posts. At first I felt the same way you did — I wanted people to see my journey. Plus I put a lot of effort into them! But I figure if they’re not relevant to my brand or are particularly bad (oh how much I’ve learned since starting), then they’re just clutter. And odds are people aren’t on my site to read random lifestyle posts, so the choice was easy.

    Posted 4.14.15
  2. Fran wrote:

    I’ve been seriously debating this for the best part of the last year. I’ve deleted some but nowhere near all the ones I probably should delete. For some reason the thought just kind of terrifies me? But I know I should. [I know it makes no sense haha]

    Posted 4.14.15
  3. Ashley wrote:

    It’s so great to hear your thoughts on this. I used to be REALLY anti deleting posts. As you said, I wanted people to see my journey. I also felt like it was my personal archive of posts. I was attached to them and didn’t want to delete them! And then there’s the issue with suddenly creating hundreds of 404s on my page (from me and other people linking to those posts). Not something I wanted to get into…

    But lately I’ve been considering it too. I’m not really proud of a lot of the posts I made in the past. So many of them feel irrelevant to what I’m doing now. But it’s not JUST that they’re irrelevant, it’s also that they’re just not great posts, and that’s what’s really making me consider this.

    Posted 4.14.15
  4. Yes! I actually love deleting old posts and cleaning things up! It makes it so much easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for–plus focus things down as I shift my audience.

    Posted 4.14.15
  5. Sierra wrote:

    Although I only have about twenty posts on my website, I’ve deleted about 5-10! I’m constantly shifting, so I always get rid of posts that aren’t aligned with me anymore. Thanks for sharing your perspective (and for keeping the best of the best!).

    Posted 4.14.15
  6. Chloe wrote:

    i actually JUST did this over the weekend. I’ve changed my blog name and really rebranded everything and am going in a whole new direction. My social media marketing blog didn’t need my son’s two-month measurements in the archives. So I went through and reverted all of my irrelevant posts to drafts so that I still have them. And damn was that some tedious work! I went from over 500 posts to like 22. Yikes, I need more content! Haha

    Posted 4.14.15
  7. JoAnn wrote:

    I’ve been thinking about doing this. For me, one of the biggest challenges would be finding all the link backs to a post and removing or changing them.

    Posted 4.15.15
  8. I did the same thing recently–from about 1000 posts to 350, and I’m still deleting. It was a combination of the posts not being very good, the crediting/liability issue you mentioned, and of me moving in a different direction career-wise + personally.

    It’s a strange feeling, though–I felt like I was burning down a house! A house I’d spent years building. One big difference is that I’ve moved to a new website & brand altogether; it’s a different thing to do it with an existing brand. For anyone in the latter boat, here’s an encouraging report from one company that deleted 900 posts; apparently it dented traffic, but improved overall conversions: http://www.koozai.com/blog/search-marketing/deleted-900-blog-posts-happened-next/

    Posted 4.16.15
    • Burning down a house is definitely a good comparison! I felt lighter by the end of it though.

      Posted 5.5.15
  9. Nagela wrote:

    I just relaunched my site as well, and had to let go nearly all of my blog post. Me and my business look very different now. It’s scary because part of my business is content but let it go, right?

    Posted 4.19.15
    • Totally! I’d say you’re just making room for new content!

      Posted 5.5.15
  10. Lisa, this post was so timely! I’ve been considering doing the same, and it’s refreshing to hear that another blogger I admire took the leap in this direction. Thank you for your awesome insight (as always!).

    Posted 4.20.15
    • Happy to hear it Lauren! It definitely wasn’t an easy decision, but it’s been really interesting to see the responses to the post. Seems like most people are in favor of deleting posts that no longer fit!

      Posted 5.5.15
  11. Elizabeth wrote:

    My blog has become narrower in focus (just books these days) since I started in 2008, but I think a lot of my old themes of crafts and vintage collectibles are interesting to others, as well as me, so I have kept them live. About once a month, I get a comment on one of these really old posts, thanking me for a craft idea or asking about something vintage, so they will stay up for now. I think a blog that has undergone a big content change should consider eliminating posts.

    Posted 4.22.15
    • Yeah, for a while my lifestyle posts helped attract more blogging clients, even after I stopped doing so many lifestyle posts. I think as long as your old posts are still serving a purpose, there’s no harm in leaving them up. I just felt mine weren’t serving a purpose anymore.

      Posted 5.5.15
  12. I would love to delete post but I want to know how can I avoid getting dinged by Google and creating errors?

    Posted 4.24.15
    • I have to be honest, I’m not an SEO expert and not sure what the penalties would be from Google. I do know it’s possible to set 301 redirects on old posts to new posts through the WordPress Redirection plugin, which tells search engines that the old post has been permanently moved to the new one and should pass on the SEO benefits built up in the original post.

      Personally, I felt the benefits of deleting posts that no longer represent my work outweighed the possible penalties from an SEO standpoint. I do know that my site stats have been steadily increasing in spite of removing those posts, so people are still finding my site!

      Posted 5.5.15
  13. Glenyse wrote:

    I’m like Regina, wondering how it hurts my SEO. But I’m already kind of in the dinged category. I already changed my focus, and what I’m posting so all my old stuff kind of no longer fits. I just have to figure out what can stay, and what needs to go.

    Posted 4.26.15
    • Personally, I felt the benefits outweighed the possible penalties. Just depends on your priorities!

      Posted 5.5.15
  14. Tricia wrote:

    I’ve been debating this for a while also. One of the major things I am wondering is what path do I take to not lose those posts forever (how do I archive them) once I determine to delete them forever, after all, they are still part of my journey and hard work even if they aren’t applicable to my current focus.

    Posted 5.11.15
  15. Heidi wrote:

    I just wrote about this too on my blog! But I have a different option on this.
    http://www.theinsideoutbeauty.com/2015/08/motivation-blocked-by-perfectionism-i.html#more

    Posted 8.31.15

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