Software Engineering in WordPress and Musings on the Deep Life

My Day-To-Day: Updating Old Blog Posts

For anyone that’s maintained blog for any length of time, you’ve likely hit a point where you’ve changed the format of your blog, changed the content of your blog, changed the way you write, or simply gotten better at actually publishing content.

And if any of the above are you true, it’s likely that you’ve had to determine whether or not you want to go back and work through the process of updating old blog posts or leave them as they are.

Depending on how long you’ve been blogging, this could be a huge task; for others, it may not take more than a couple of hours.

Updating Old Blog Posts

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve recently started using WP Gist more than SyntaxHighlighter, but I’ve had to decide whether or not I actually want to go back and turn all of my old code snippets into gists, or leave them as they are and move forward leaving the old posts intact.

An Example of Old Code

Some of my old code still looking, you know, old.

And this is but one example, you know?

What happens with stuff that you’ve written years ago that is no longer true, or with which you’ve changed your opinion, or that simply need updated links to newer articles or resources?

It Depends on the Content

So, for example, is it worth me going back through all of my old posts with code and updating them to use gists?

No way.

Firstly, because the code that I’ve shared years ago may not be as current as something I’d write today.

Secondly, because gists invite others to comment, fork, etc., and at the time that I wrote posts with that code, there no real sense in me going to opening new gists just to migrate that content over especially if it’s not the kind of code that I’m concerned with currently revisiting.

Finally, we still have blog comments so if others end up finding out posts via Google or stumble across it some other way, then they can leave a comment that will prompt us to update our posts.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily go with code-related posts. This can go with any type of blog or any type of content that you’ve written.

Update Or Not?

Ultimately, you have to make a choice, but as I’ve found myself faced with the choice of needing to go back and update old blog posts or not, there have been a few of scenarios that have lead me to doing so:

  • If the post links to a series, then I always keep the links to the articles updated
  • If the a commenter comes along and provides an alternative solution or a question that can be corrected in the post, then I do it
  • If the post becomes so outdated that the content included in it is irrelevant, or the libraries, tools, or references to which it links are no longer useful, I’ll even delete the post.

Other than that, the content is fair game for updating old blog posts.

This Won’t Work For You

As with everything else in this series, this isn’t meant to be some type of prescriptive way to manage your blog. It’s just the way that I’ve ultimately managed this particular blog and what I’ve found to be most useful.

When it comes to updating old blog posts, it really is your call; however, don’t let older content prevent you from moving forward with publishing new content.

Stuff can live on the Internet for a long time so you have more time to go back and fix stuff than you do to publishing something new each day, right?

1 Comment

  1. Viktoria Michaelis

    I decided long ago not to update old blog posts, except to correct any formatting or transfer errors. The reason? What I wrote was me then. I may have changed, but the changes are better shown when they remain as they are, and are not corrupted by my knowledge, opinions or present day life style.

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