The life of a WordPress post

WordPress & Content Planning.

Traditional thinking says “today’s news is tomorrow’s chip paper”. Except that is not true, good content leads a long and useful life.

(unless you’re talking about Facebook posts or Tweets – both which have an informational half-life of 30 mins.)

Publication vs firehoses

The stream of information coming from the social world is so great you rarely need to pay any attention to it, or search it. Great things keep re-appearing and will eventually catch your attention, no matter how cursory it is. This is the appeal of the viral nature of the web.

But, this is not the case with published content – It’s a whole different game, with a far longer half-life and greater chance of being picked up weeks, months or even years later.

For example, lets take the life of a real post What is the best Project Management App for a Digital Agency

  • Published at the end of January 2014
  • In February is was read 120 times, by 105 people
  • In March is seen 111 times
  • April saw 124 reads
  • In the first half of May it had already clocked 77 views

Note: Sessions are all uniques. Average reading time for the page was 4m45s

Since it began it’s life, it has clocked up 11.5hrs of real reading time by real visitors. That, in our world, is a great post in terms of reach and life.

Does older content ever die?

Some does, much doesn’t and content published in 2008 is still getting read now. Sometimes it’s surprising to see the popularity of content increase over time. We published a post on Enterprise Social Networks at the end 2012 and the page view of that are climbing as time goes on.
Popularity of WordPress posts over time
The post above has clocked 1,800+ views and over 100hrs reading time – despite being read by only 13 people in it’s first 2 weeks!

How about ancient history?

In 2009, we published just 30 items – 7 of these have clocked up 3hrs of reading in the last quarter. Despite Google tending to favour newer content it’s pretty clear that content can have a long and glorious life.

That does have ramifications. Check your top 50 or 100 pages and see if you’ve got an oldie (and classic, if you will) in your page views. Think about updating it, consider giving it a push and a chance at a new lease of life.

In a world where content seems to go out of date the minute it’s published it’s very refreshing to see quality content lasting longer than you’d expect.

Gone, but don’t forget

Don’t fire and forget. Your content plan should consider the need to re-animate and re-invigorate older content as your potential customers will be reading it.

9 of the top 25 pages on out site over the last 3 years are articles, and have clocked over 100,000 minutes reading time – only 1 is from this year.

By Penny & Martin