Update Old Blog Posts

For those who actually read this blog in a browser (rather than in a feed reader), you know that I’ve been using a new theme for the past few weeks.

Whenever you – or someone else – changes themes, it raises the question as to if you should go back over your old content and update your old blog posts so that they look well-formatted within the context of the new presentation.

If your blog is in its infancy and/or only has a few dozen posts, I think that makes sense, but if you’ve been writing for a while and have, say, several hundred posts or several years worth of posts, I don’t think it’s worth it.

Update Old Blog Posts?

Generally speaking, the process by which someone would go through to update their old blog posts would be so tedious and time-consuming with little pay off that I can’t think of a good reason to actually do so.

Of course, if you’re in a more corporate environment where managing the property is part of your job, that’s a different story. But like I mentioned, there’s a direct pay off for that.

But if it’s your personal blog, your professional blog, or even a hybrid of the two, then I still don’t think it’s really worth it.

1. The Times, They Are A-Changin’

The web is constantly evolving and it’s foolish to think that what looks good today or tomorrow is going to look good in two years from now.

We have no idea to know what trends and/or standards will be adopted, or how our publishing platforms will change.

To that end, it’s hard to future-proof the presentation of your content. Focus on works well right now.

2. The Past is Your Past

Leaving past articles – although likely indexed by the major search engines – as they were isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you view your blog as a journal of sorts from where you were to where you are (and ultimately where you’re going).

If you’re working in a field where information may need to be updated, then I think you have a case for updating the content of a post, or at least adding a disclaimer that the post may be out of date.

Worrying about how the content looks within the presentation of your site? That’s less important to me.

Remember, what makes a blog a blog is the content fire and foremost – not the way it looks – so as long as you’ve got the content covered, its presentation is second.

3. Heads Up!

Most people who use the Internet are well-aware of how quickly things change (especially those who use Facebook and their ever-changing design, right?). On top of that, our posts have dates.

As such, it’s not hard to guess that a post may have been written when a different theme, style, or presentation layer was being used.

Going one step further, it all boils down to software in the end – it’s not terribly difficult to update (either on your own or with someone’s help) posts older than a certain date to give a heads up that the way something looks may not look as it once did because, y’know, the web has changed.

And that’s where I generally stand on this whole idea and why I don’t update old blog posts (of course, there are exceptions – there are always exceptions) beyond adding a disclaimer or updating the content of the post.