Over at Problogger, Lorelle VanFossen wrote an excellent article called ‘Blogging is Writing‘. She brought up an interesting point (no. 22):
‘Clean Up Old Posts: As your blog writing improves, go
back over your old posts and clean them up. The fresh perspective will
help you edit and improve the content. You might find new life in your
old posts and direct more traffic their way.’
Everything else in her post I agreed with, but this I didn’t. To me, writing a blog post is a snapshot in history, and you are changing history if you go back to edit it. Having said that I’ve gone into a blog post and added an update and clearly stated it as such. I probably should put the date I’ve updated but I haven’t done this. Until I read Lorelle’s article I thought this was an unwritten blog rule as I’ve seen it on numerous blogs. In addition to the ‘update’ I’ve seen strikethroughs of a word or phrase with the updated word or phrase next to it.
Just a couple of months ago I wrote about my blog being the eternal first draft because this is something I think about every now and again. There’s a few posts of mine that people keep visiting via search and I would like to rewrite these, but I think I would do it in a way that’s obvious it’s a rewrite.
This would also provide the opportunity of adding thoughts from comments into the mix (with proper attribution and links of course). In the updated/renewed post I would say that it was a rewrite of an older post, with a link back to it, and the reasons for rewriting. Doing this would also be a good way of seeing how your writing has changed over time.
What do you think? Should you edit your old posts to improve them, would you rewrite them as a new post if it was worthwhile, or would you just not bother? Let me know, and if there’s enough responses I’ll get a new blog post out of it with a summary.
I think you last suggestion is a good one – not sure. I edit glaring things, as blogger previews are different to the final version and sometimes you pick it up in a later read – but it reminds me of the tale in “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe” where a marketer during the age of time travel decided to take his whiteout back in time for a poet in ancient times to fix any mistakes (and give him loads of wealth for endorsing the product) – the end result of which was that the poet was too busy enjoying the high life to ever write anything!!
Sounds very Orwellian to go back and re-edit your stuff.