Handling Old Posts: Update or Preserve?

update-postWhen you’ve been blogging for awhile, you can have a vast body of old posts that people might stumble upon.  Despite being years old, the content might still interest your visitor enough that he or she would want to share it with their friends on a hot new post-sharing platform such as Pinterest.  Except for one problem:  You wrote your post long before Pinterest ever existed.  All of the steps that you might take today to make your post Pinterest-friendly weren’t taken when your post was published.  Back then, you engaged in the best practices of the time, but best practices have changed.  What do you do?

Option #1: Update Your Post

Your first option is to go back and modify your old post.  Strip out those links to larger-sized images, change the title so that it is more SEO friendly, take a new photo and add text to it so that it will work on Pinterest and other social media platforms.  The benefit to this is clear:  Your post might go viral if you put some work into it.  After all, keeping your posts modernized is good, right?

The problem is twofold, however.  First of all, this seems like you are changing the past.  Your great post from couldn’t possibly have been Pinterest-ready when it published months before Pinterest launched, right?  To some degree, we do this when we update a website’s look and feel.  After all, when I launched TechyDad in 2008, mobile development wasn’t really a large concern.  However, were you to view my first post today, it would look nice on a mobile browser.  Still, there’s a difference between changing a site’s overall structure and changing the content of a post.

The second issue is time.  Sure, you might modify this one post to bring it up to date, but how many other posts do you plan on editing?  I have over 1,300 posts.  If I was able to "modernize" them at a rate of 5 per night, it would take me nearly nine months to go through them all.  This would mean no time for writing new posts or anything else.  Just updating my old posts to stay up to par with current standards – which might change by the time I’m done.

Option #2: Preserve The Past

This option entails no work at all.  Just keep your posts the way they’ve always been.  Sure, it might be a bit harder for people to share your posts, but you can focus more on creating great new content rather than updating older content.

Of course, the problem here is that you are ignoring potentially viral posts that you’ve already written.  Perhaps all your five year old post needs is a few new images and tightening of the copy and it will take the Internet by storm.  Should you really let a potential hit languish just because it is "older"?

 

I don’t think there’s any one good answer to this.  For the most part, I side with the second option.  My limited time available to devote to blogging/social media and my desire to preserve the past as-is makes me partial to not changing old posts.  However, I could be persuaded to make some minor changes to select old posts such as uploading a better image.

How do you handle old posts?  Do you keep them as is or update them to adhere to modern posting standards?

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