Old Content on a New Site: How to Reuse Old Content

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You’re moving to a new website! Your market has changed or you have a few more resources and it’s time to make a change for the better. Awesome. A new website can help you bring more value to your customers or your community. But how do you decide which content goes and which stays? This blog post will give you basic guidelines to reusing existing site content in a new home.

In my last post, I wrote about what a content audit is and when you should do one .Here is the perfect time to start applying those ideas. Begin by evaluating the reason you’re making a change.

Has your market changed? Are you trying to reach a new audience or fill a new need? Have you introduced something that puts you ahead of competitors?

Simply time for an upgrade? We all start somewhere. Eventually, things that were right for us early on no longer fit as we grow.

No matter which scenario you’re in, don’t over do it. An improved website is a simpler, smarter one, not necessarily a bigger one. Chances are that if you’re changing your website, you’re dealing with a little bit of both scenarios. It’s important to know ahead of time the degree to which you will need to change content. This will help make the best use of your time.

Organize Old Content

In general, your website content is going to fall into four categories:

  1. Images and videos -pretty, but not always necessary
  2. Blog posts or articles -interesting, but not always accessible
  3. Site copy -required, but not always interesting
  4. Contact Info / Actions to take -super important, but not always easy to find

Go through your existing site and pull out all the content and group it according to category. Google Docs and Dropbox will be helpful so you can easily involve others who may have a say in the new site.

Remember: simpler = better.

Recycle (and throw away)

Especially when it comes to blogs and large photo albums, not all content is right for all businesses or nonprofits. Don’t be a content hoarder. Get rid of the excess that doesn’t help your audience know who you are or why you are valuable to them.

If you absolutely must keep photos from your old site that don’t gel with the new vibe, consider social media. The proper social media channels allow people to see your photos as they want. It keeps them from being distracting on your website while still letting you share them. Remember, you want people to reach out or take action, not necessarily see a slideshow.

Blog content can serve as the copy that guides your audience to action on your most important pages. Pull valuable info about your business out of old blog posts and put it on the contact or volunteer page. When used correctly, the same words that helped a blog post get shared can help your audience take action. Take your most interesting content and turn it into the most actionable.

Highlight What is New and Why it Matters

Particularly if your market has changed, you need to highlight new stuff on a new site. Using old content to talk about new things, shows growth and lets your audience know you can grow with them. It tells the story of how you have adapted to meet their new needs.

Your big changes and new ideas should be a prominent part of your new site.

If a major piece of contact info has changed, be sure to highlight it. You can never make it too easy for customers to find you.

The same goes for the actions you want your audience to take on your site. If you used to ask for donations, but now you need volunteers, make the change clear!

Optimize Old Content

It’s crucial to remember to optimize your old content for search engines. Good ol’ SEO. Even if you made sure to follow SEO best practices when you first created your old content, you’ll need to make sure it still fits the new site.

Major Takeaways: Focus on What Matters

The overall goal of auditing content for a new (and better) site is to bring more value to your audience. Don’t hang on to old content just because.

Make the most of the content you already have by organizing it, adding to it, and highlighting the “new you.”

Use images and other heavy content wisely. Too many pictures and PDFs can make a website unnecessarily slow. Move them to social media when you can, compress them when you can’t.

“Evergreen” your best content to help people see value and take action even without a blog. Your strongest old content can help liven up your new site.

Emphasize the changes and get your SEO ducks in a row. “New and improved” might work for laundry soap, but the Internet is all about bringing value to your audience. Show the great new things you are doing. Don’t rely on old keywords and old calls to action.

And above all, have fun!