Although there are no official standards for blogging, many conventions have come into widespread use. Most blogs are treated as online journals, where the author writes thoughts and post them to the public. It doesn’t have to be done this way though. It is your blog and you can follow whatever conventions you see fit.
Here are three unconventional styles for posting to blogs.
Revising and reposting
It is considered taboo to go back and edit old blog posts without telling anybody. The moral code about updating is a throwback to the print era when once something was published and released, it couldn’t be recalled and changed. Back then, you would have to release a new edition and let people know where changes were made. But other than tradition, there are no rules saying you can’t update blog posts. There aren’t even any rules saying you need to tell people that you’ve updated a post.
Many blogs now have companion social media accounts where followers are informed of new posts and reminded of older archived posts. This never made much sense to me. Why follow a social media account if all it does is rehash content from a blog?
Other blogs are treated as diary entries that cannot be changed once published. The idea is that the writer wants to be able to go back and see what was written for historical purposes. While this made a lot of sense before the rise of social media, it doesn’t make much sense now. There is no need for diary blogs anymore, because you can just write the diary directly in a social network like Facebook.
I take a different approach. I regularly update old blog posts and repost them as new posts. This trains me to write evergreen blog posts, that is, blog posts that stay relevant even years after they were published. When it comes time to revisit an old blog post, I would re-read and re-write it to ensure that the information is still relevant. If the blog post is no longer relevant and cannot be rewritten to stay relevant, I would delete it.
Taking this approach to blogging eliminates the need for companion social media sites. It also promotes useful evergreen blog posts. Furthermore, the blog will never die out due to lack of new ideas because you can always recycle an old post if you don’t have any new ideas.
Posting to a timeline
Another taboo of blogging is modifying the publication date. This is another relic of past times when there was a concrete publication date. Changing the date print date of a physical publication would be straight up lying. But online things are different. Posts can be revised at any time. Some parts of a page may have been written one year, and other parts another year.
The publication date in a blog can be a powerful tool for navigation. For content where the chronology of events is important, artificially setting published dates can help readers find the information they are looking for. Publish dates don’t matter if the content is evergreen or historical.
This approach works best for historical blogs, where users navigate by date and maybe even time.
Most bloggers post articles one at a time according to a set schedule or on whim. This is a new feature of journalism that wasn’t possible before the Internet. The irregular posting schedules of blogs have given rise to various notification mechanisms such as RSS readers, social media accounts for blogs, and e-mail lists. Unless you’re an avid reader of a particular blog, you really don’t know when the next post is coming. All you can do is keep hitting “Refresh”, or sign up for a notification.
But what if we made it easy for readers to know when the latest blog post is going to come out? Here, we can take a lesson from traditional print media. Print media was released on a set schedule. You could count on the daily newspaper to be on the stands every morning at the same time, or your magazine to be in your mailbox on about the same day each month.
A blogger can create the same dependable schedule. You might post daily at a specific time, like this blog does. Or you could follow the magazine model and post every week, every two weeks, or every month. With an infrequent posting schedule, you can even post several articles at once. Perhaps the entire front page of your blog can change each month, just as each edition of a magazine would feature completely new articles.