When I was first introduced to blogs roughly 15 years ago they really acted as an online journal of sorts. Back then (yes, I’m really that old) the blog world was dominated by hand coded layouts, archives and the word blog really wasn’t even used to describe the trend. With time, these hand coded websites a la angelfire or geocities were replaced by revolutionary (at the time) content automation sites like diaryland that stored, updated and kept your entries organized and easy to access. Shortly after, content management systems like greymatter, blogger, moveabletype and finally wordpress made their way on the scene which completely revolutionized how and why websites and more specifically blogs were created and managed.
Blogs come in all shapes and sizes don’t they? There are niches for just about everything from parenting to crafting and just about anything and everything you can imagine in between. What’s especially interesting about the shifting nature of blogs though is that blog content has shifted from more real-time in the moment type of posts to evergreen content that is expected to last forever and stand the test of time.
I’ll admit that I’ve spent the last month or so focusing on building evergreen content. Evergreen content is essentially content that is focused on a topic that encourages people to visit for learning purposes. It has value in that it teaches something or provides answers to a question that the visitor is looking for. These posts tend to drive traffic for reasons outside the curiosity of finding out what a blogger is up to on more of a daily basis. Some examples of evergreen content here on TTBH include:
- 50 side jobs that will help you pay down your debt
- Why moms need to keep it real
- How a workflow can make you a better blogger
- 20 must have wordpress plugins
- 20 gorgeous and free wordpress themes
My motives for focusing on evergreen content is simple: I’m trying to improve my page rankings. Evergreen content is valuable in that it ranks with search engines, it does well on Pinterest and it drives more readers. It continues to be valuable days, months and even years after it was initially published.
As an example, a post that outlines my day to day life might be interesting (or not) to a reader who has been following my blog consistently. Followers tend to build a relationship with a blogger and as a result are interested to see what said bloggers day to day life is like even if it’s a list of mundane, routine daily activities. Blogs are cool that way because they give us a view into someone elses life right? But, what happens when that post is archived? There are times when new readers peruse through archives to get a sense of who the blogger is but ultimately new readers will not hunt through the archives to see what you were up to exactly 3 years ago. Some do. But, most do not.
This is where evergreen content comes in.
Most folks who blog are interested in not only building a solid readership (and I’m so incredibly thankful to all of you who read here consistently) but also drive traffic from things like search engines and the like. The issue is to drive that sort of traffic you need evergreen content in your niche that is relevant to potential readers even months or years after initial publish.
A good friend of mine (also a blogger. A really awesome one at that) told me from the get go that to build up consistent search engine and pinterest traffic it was essential to not only publish real-time content but also focus on writing cornerstone evergreen content that will draw in readers at any given time when they are searching for information on a topic relevant to your niche.
But, does a reader connect with a blogger who only publishes evergreen content? Likely not.
If your jam is publishing evergreen and not necessarily worrying about building a readership but catering more to search engine traffic then by all means do what works for you. But, if you’re interested in building a readership (aka building a relationship with your readers) while also ranking with search engines than evergreen content is absolutely the way to go.
The issue of balancing the two types of content is where it gets a little tricky. I’ve spent the last month focusing on writing more evergreen content and although I enjoy writing it I do find that it creates a sort of detachment from the blog itself. In an effort to create valuable long-lasting content I’ve somewhat depersonalized my posts which really kills my writing mojo. My jam is writing about my experiences with frugal living and simple centered parenting which becomes difficult when the focus is shifted to creating timeless pieces ya know?
All this is to say, blogging has changed a ton over the years (I’ve seen it change with my very own eyes). Some of my absolute favorite bloggers still post real-time posts on the daily but newer up and coming bloggers who are seeing the same levels of success seem to be churning out a balance of evergreen and real-time posts.
My goal at the moment is to publish 1 evergreen and 2 real-time posts per week. For me, this appears to be a good balance between making the blog house timeless content and connecting with my readers and sharing bits and pieces of my life.
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What’s your jam? Evergreen? Real-time? Mix of both?