Merging Two Blogs: Strategies for Content Success

January 18, 2017 Aaron Agius

merging-two-blogs-strategies-jpg

Maybe you have two separate blogs that deal with two elements of your overall business. Maybe you’re rebranding your business and need to rebrand your blog. Perhaps you recently acquired another company and want to incorporate its blog into your own. Or maybe you purchased a relevant domain for the SEO juice and need to transfer your existing blog to it.

How do you combine two blogs into one? Here’s how. Before we do anything, though, back up each existing blog.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume you’re merging two WordPress blogs. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re combining two blogs into one new entity or merging one blog with an existing one. The steps are more or less the same.

First, you have the logistics of a WordPress merge. Then you have the sticky details.

Logistics

When you combine two blogs, one potential stumbling block is overlapping categories and tags. You need to take steps to prevent lumping everything together.

Option A: Fix overlapping categories and tags

You could rename the categories and tags with unique titles in the original blogs before you export or merge them. For example, if both blogs have “productivity” as a category, you could rename the categories in the first blog as “productivity 1” and in the second blog as productivity 2”. Then use that same “1” or “2” naming convention for all categories in each blog.

To rename categories and tags, go to Posts > Categories (or Tags) and click on Quick Edit and manually make the switch for each one. That simple solution could work in many cases.

Option B: Assigning everything to a new user (preferred option)

Your second choice involves creating unique users, which likely is the preferred option for most of you.

Create a new user for each blog that will be used to create the new or merged blog.


You may need to reevaluate organizational structure on the newly created or merged #blog, says @IAmAaronAgius.
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For our purposes, let’s pretend you purchased a relevant blog to merge with your existing blog. You should add a new user with the name “Merge” or something distinct to the existing blog. Go to Users > New User. The assigned role is unimportant at this stage as you’ll likely delete it later.

Export

Log into the blog that is being merged into the other one. Go to Tools > Export.

You can export “All content,” “Pages,” or “Posts.” Select Posts. You can narrow the list by selecting categories, authors, or status. If you’re transferring all the content, click on “All” and leave the date fields as is. Click “Download export file” to save the XML file with all posts from the blog to your computer.

Next, log into the site receiving the content. Go to Tools > Import > WordPress.

Follow the prompts. After importing the previously saved XML file with the other blog’s content, it will ask if you’d like to assign the content to a specific user. You would. Choose the newly created user you designated on that site for the merge.

The merged material now is available and organized by that unique user name. You can sort and tweak these transferred posts by visiting Users > All Users and clicking on the number in the posts column, or go to Posts > All Posts, and clicking on the author name.

Either way, you have all new posts on one convenient list.

Tweaking content

Once everything has been uploaded, you may need to reevaluate your organizational structure on the newly created or merged blog.

Add to a new category (or tag)

Go to Posts > Categories to create a new one. (The process is the same to create new tags.)

Next, on the author page, select all the posts to add to the new category, choose “Edit” from the Bulk Actions drop-down menu at the top. Click Apply.

On the next page, add the selected posts to the new category and click Update.

If you are replacing one category for another, you may need to manually remove them from the old category or delete the category after everything is assigned to a new one.

Once done, you have classified and organized all the new posts so that they fit into your freshly merged blog. Kudos, but you’re far from done.

Sticky details

Unfortunately, bringing all that content to a new home can mess up a great deal of tiny details.

Before we go further, you need to do two things to make this section a lot easier for you:

  1. Save a copy of each blog’s XML sitemap using WordPress or an online generator.
  2. Register the old and any new domains on both the Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.

Done? Good. Let’s move on.

Broken internal links

When you export and merge content with internal links, those links will be broken. You need to fix them.

You can do this with plugins to find and replace broken links like Search & Replace, Better Search Replace, or Velvet Blues Update URLs. Simply identify the new URL and link structure in the plugin settings and it does most of the heavy lifting for you.

broken-internal-links

SEO juice

To keep the SEO power of your merged content, install a redirection plugin like Redirection or SEO Redirection on the original blog. It will redirect traffic to the new or merged blog whenever someone tries to access a post via an old link from another website, social media share, directory, etc.

These redirects are important. Without them, you wave goodbye to whatever SEO power that content once held and that defeats the purpose of the merge or new creation.


Redirects are important. Without them, wave goodbye to #SEO power that content once had, says @IAmAaronAgius.
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While 301 redirects with a plugin are easiest to implement, they can result in potentially slower load times because of the increased load on your server.

If you’re comfortable fiddling with HTML code and your original blog has few posts and URLs, consider using PHP header redirects. Add the following text to the header of each page being redirected:

<?
Header( “HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently” );
Header( “Location: http://www.new-url.com” );
?>

Each page must be saved as a PHP file for this to work.

After your 301 redirects are set, submit the old sitemaps to Google and Bing search engines so they send their spiders to crawl your sites and make note of the changes and redirects. It’s also a good idea to request a change of address with Google (much like you do at the post office when you move).

Finally, submit the new blog’s updated sitemap to Google and Bing.

Crawl errors

The Google Search Console has a virtual cornucopia of helpful toys, tools, and data.

Crawl > Crawl Errors can highlight lingering issues the spiders are having crawling your new two-in-one blog. Monitor for crawl errors every few days for at least the first month to make sure everything is tickety-boo.

Conclusion

Migrations and merges can get complicated very quickly depending on the size and scope of the blogs involved. If you’re merging blogs with many posts and a complex architecture, it might be worthwhile to find a web developer with migration experience to do it all for you. The cost you incur will be small peanuts compared to the hair-pulling frustration you avoid. It’s a bargain.

And so is merging blogs. Done right, the payoff in SEO juice, content upgrade, and feeling of accomplishment is unrivalled.

Good for you, good for your business. Go forth and merge.

Have you attempted a blog merge yet? What obstacles and solutions did you encounter? Leave your comments below.

Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Want to grow your content tech skills for free? Register for ContentTECH 2017 happening virtually on February 22, 2017.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

The post Merging Two Blogs: Strategies for Content Success appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

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