Recently, one of my posts became popular on a forum about Windows Vista versus Windows XP, simply because the title of the post seemed relevant to the forum discussion. Unfortunately, it’s a very brief post from 2002 that hardly deals with the subject at all. In fact, it’s pretty dull.
The question now is: should I rewrite this little bulletin? I could use this traffic as a chance to earn some readers by providing a really good post. If nothing else, I wouldn’t need to be embarrassed about tons of strangers reading my sad little paragraph that has so little to recommend it.
To revise or not to revise? It’s always a tough call. Whether, like me, you’re being tempted by an increase in traffic, or whether you simply feel your old posts would benefit from a little sprucing up, we’re all eventually tempted by the possibility of rewriting history. But how do you decide? I think the key is to determine what kind of blog you have.
Is your blog a personal journal? If so, I say leave it alone. Even if you see old entries that look terrible now, that’s an important chronicle of who you were and what you were thinking when you wrote them. In five more years you might be glad you have those early posts to look back on. If you’re determined to change them, I suggest at least saving the originals on your computer so you can read them again someday if you want to.
Then again, Anais Nin, the 20th century’s most famous journal writer, revised her work all the time. She kept journals almost her whole life, and carefully edited and rewrote them all before publication. If you look on blogging as an art form rather than a historical record, it might be a good idea for you to revise your blog.
If your blog is subject-oriented or professional, there’s really no reason not to bring the whole thing up to your current high standards. I would say the only exception is predictions. For example, if your baseball blog predicted the World Series winner and you turned out to be wrong, don’t go back and change it. Part of the appeal of reading a blog is the sense that there’s a flawed human behind it. You don’t have to sugar-coat those mistakes for your readers.
Do always feel free to revise things like spelling and grammar mistakes, small factual errors, broken links, etc. That won’t affect the tone or message of the post, and it will make it easier for your public to read.
As for me, I think my suddenly popular post is going to have to stay as it is. While most of my blogs are professional, my personal blog is a little history of my thoughts and I’d like to keep it that way.
Do you have an opinion about blog revision? I’d love to hear another side.