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The Real Hidden Value of Old Post Traffic

Articles about blogging tipsSince creating my Weekly Digest, I’m forced to look through my blog stats on a regular basis, something I’ve been loath to do for many years. Most of it doesn’t interest me as I’ve been doing this too long to worry over the micro-statistics, but I’ve been watching an interesting trend that has now turned into a habit. The kind of habit that means the most to me.

Old blog posts you’ve published with links to my blog content continue to bring me traffic, sometimes even a year or more after publishing.

Here’s some examples.

In January 2007, Smashing Magazine wrote a best of January 2007 list featuring my article Designing a WordPress Theme From Scratch, the 67th post published on this blog. What a fantastic way to start off my new year with a gift that continues to give. This was followed up in February 2007 with Smashing Magazine released “83 Beautiful WordPress Themes You Probably Haven’t Seen Yet” with a link to the same article. The oldest referral was in September 2006 for their The List of Lists for More Must-Have Bookmarklets published October 2005.

Why should I care about old blog posts linking to my old posts? All these continue to bring in traffic consistently. Today, each of these three incoming referral links brought in a combination of 67 people.

I’ve been a huge fan of Darren Rowse of and have been honored to guest blog for him on several ocassions. Yet, it isn’t my guest blog posts that bring in the most traffic from his site but his two blog posts featuring highlights from my month long series on WordPress Plugins in February 2007, one on monetizing Plugins links to Monetizing WordPress Plugins and the other a recommendation to check out Lists of Your Favorite WordPress Plugins. These two incoming links consistently bring in traffic every day, even after over a year.

I write full time for the and you would think that a lot of my posts there bring in a ton of traffic to Lorelle on WordPress. Yet, only one ever shows up on the chart on a regular basis. Writing and Publishing Code in Your WordPress Blog Posts written in July 2007 is the winner for referrals from the Blog Herald by a wide margin.

My work on this blog has brought a ton of awards, honors, and being on lists, but no list continues to drive in traffic more than the Top 25 Blogs About Blogging by Daily Blog Tips published in May 2007. I’m often embarrassed by these but a part of me would think that being nominated and winning some of the blogosphere’s top awards would bring in more traffic than a list of the top blogs about blogging from Technorati. I guess you are only as good as your last blog post, not award. 😉

chain linksAs I dug through the new stats feature for historical summaries of my blog’s incoming referrals, I noticed that Lifehacker did an article on content theft in March 2007 featuring What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content, which continues to point new traffic my direction. While I have other articles that attract a lot of consistent traffic, this one article has incoming links from an amazingly diverse collection of websites, blogs, forums, bookmarking sites, and social site submission services from around the world, including Digg. Two years after it was published, there is rarely a day that goes by that someone doesn’t link to and recommend that article as a resource for tips on how to respond to a copyright violation. As of today, there are 206 trackback links published on the post from blogs with trackback capability. The article gets more traffic and attention now than when it was originally published as more and more people are getting their blog content scraped. Makes it worth the four months I spent fussing and verifying everything in that article, and my anxiety that the only comments would come from the “Internet is free” crowd. I’m still so proud of how much that article has helped so many.

I also found out that I was FAMOUS. I was listed in Wikipedia in an article on bookmarklets, which directed visitors to More Must-Have Bookmarklets published in October 2005, though it is no longer listed. I wonder why? Still, it brought in a lot of traffic for a very long time – enough to push it high into the all-time incoming stats list.

In an amusing twist of creative backlinking and cross blog communication, resorted my list of the favorite WordPress Plugins as defined by users into a statistical chart that highlighted the top 30 WordPress Plugins in the Blogosphere in March 2007 and that list continues to drive traffic my way. What a gift and contribution to my month long series on Plugins.

There are so many bloggers I’m grateful to for their continued, and unwitting, support of my blog like WPBits, Christine Davis, Jan of Circular Communication, Best Blogs on WordPress blog,, and…oh, the list is very long. Thank you all, no matter if you send me one or one thousand links to any of my posts, no matter how old they are. Each link is appreciated.

In true WordPress-love-in style, the oldest, consistent traffic link referral comes from someone I hold close to my WordPress heart: Kaf of He didn’t write about me or my blog in his article on his popular Post Templates by Category WordPress Plugin, as Lorelle on WordPress debuted a month later. However, in December 2006, someone in the comments recommended my article, Creating Multiple Single Posts for Different Categories, which, if memory serves, was a team effort in which he helped along with other fine WordPress fellows. A lot of people head to that article about his Plugin and track their way to my blog from the recommendation from the comments. Proof that a link from almost anywhere can be a good link.

What a world we weave when first we conceive to link.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, the author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.


  1. Posted February 22, 2008 at 4:25 pm | Permalink


    It was likely one of those trackbacks that caught my attention and brought me to subscribe to your blog, as soon as I moved my blogger blog to WordPress.

    You have fabulous tutorials and tips for everyone, ones that even I can understand, so the traffic and attention your blog receives is well deserved. Congrats on your success.

  2. Posted February 22, 2008 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    So, if you don’t mind saying how does your traffic break down between RSS, referral, and organic search? I realize that you can’t tell with full accuracy, but just a good guess would be interesting. If you don’t mind saying 🙂

  3. Posted February 23, 2008 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    @ David LaFerney: has no stats for feeds any more. There are a lot of problems tracking feed access, compounded by adding access via Feedburner, FeedBlitz and other feed services in addition to native feeds. lists referrals, search term keywords that bring visitors in, basic and per post traffic, and exit points, though all of these are very basic. It does not list search terms used on-site, nor 404s or many other statistics a web developer/owner usually enjoys. It’s a door to key information but still basic.

    All I can tell you is that I get a lot of search engine traffic and a lot of referrals. Specific numbers I can’t give you because I don’t have them.

  4. Posted February 23, 2008 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    You seem to be an expert on wordpress.. May I ask you one thing?
    What would be, in your opinion, the easiest way to make WP updates? Should I consider some WP auto update plugin, or maybe just a host offering Fantastico /some other one click install?

  5. Posted February 23, 2008 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, there’s few things I love more about blogging than passing along some link love without having to break a sweat. When it happens in comments and goes out to my friends, well that makes it even sweeter.

    Keep evangelizing the WordPress!

  6. Posted February 23, 2008 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    @ K:

    The easiest way to upgrade WordPress is to wait for this or the next upcoming version which will feature automatic upgrades built-in. Other than that, check out the InstantUpgrade WordPress Plugin which has gotten a lot of positive responses.

    If your server has Fantastico and they have the latest version of WordPress, that works, too. It’s up to you.

  7. Posted February 24, 2008 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s also interesting that you mention LifeHacker. They posted an article a bit over a year ago, closer to a year and a half, about an article I wrote. I still continue to get some traffic almost every day from that one article!

  8. Posted February 24, 2008 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    All I can tell you is that I get a lot of search engine traffic and a lot of referrals. Specific numbers I can’t give you because I don’t have them.

    I was afraid of that. No matter I suppose, just being nosy anyway.

  9. Posted February 24, 2008 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Of course you’re famous! I believe I stumbled on your blog through WordPress’s news feature somehow. That, or photomatt’s blog.

  10. Posted February 26, 2008 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I love the little kid excitement I feel I am sensing from you in this post 😉 . Very cool. You have fast become my resource for blog how-to’s.

  11. RJL
    Posted February 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I have recently came across your posts in search engines many times in doing research on the web. What you have mentioned above is very true regarding links. I believe some links are like fine wine, they get better with age.

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  1. […] Lorelle on WordPress – The best blogging authority on WordPress, but not all of her articles are relevant only to WordPress users. But honestly, this is one of the few blogs I would actually pay to read. Lorelle’s posts provide an amazing wealth of information for WordPress users. Recent post worth reading: The real hidden value of old post traffic. […]

  2. […] The Real Hidden Value of Old Post Traffic looks at a wonderful lesson that can be learned from watching your blog statistics once in a while. Your old posts are still working for you, as are the old posts of other bloggers that continue to bring in traffic a year or three later. […]

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