Blogging

Should you ever go back and edit or delete a blog posting? Are you risking rewriting history?

I like to think of blogging as a way of publishing contemporaneous, timely, topical content. If the articles are out of date, or are just plain wrong, should I go back and amend them?

Or do I leave the articles as snapshots of my thoughts at the time?

Blog articles form a substantial part of the webspace, and are highly visible in the search engines. They’ll bring visitors to your website. And the fact of the matter is that your articles may need amending from time to time.

But editing a blog posting is substantially different from editing a web page. Once you edit a web page, the original page pretty much disappears and the new version replaces the old.

Revising a blog posting, however, causes a chain reaction of events. The newly edited document will get re-broadcast out via RSS feeds.

If, for example, I keep popping back to make numerous small edits to my blog posting, then subscribers will receive numerous copies in their feedreaders.

You might choose to make corrections to your blog, but be aware that the original version of your blog article stays in your subscribers’ feed readers. Forever. Once you publish an article, it cannot be recalled.

The moral of this story: Aim to make your blog posting perfect before publishing it. Check for spelling mistakes, check for accuracy, and make sure you’ll have no regrets before hitting the Publish button.

Deleting blog postings causes even more complications. If you choose to delete a blog posting, remember that folk might be linking to it, tagging it, bookmarking it. And they won’t be pleased to find that the posting has been deleted, without explanation.

Rather then deleting the blog posting, you might want to consider editing the posting, and replacing it with some explanatory text that the posting has been removed. Bear in mind that folk might well know what it was that you wrote in the first place, and might also have a copy of it on their computer.

When is it necessary to make corrections to your blog? Common sense dictates you should go back and edit your blog:

  • if you have written something libellous, or hurtful, or that you regret
  • to correct spelling mistakes, typos, or make amendments to make the posting easier to read. Personally, I leave small spelling mistakes rather than annoy my subscribers with small edits.
  • there are substantive errors in what you wrote
  • circumstances have changed since your posting, and you need to highlight the current situation

If you do need to go back and make amendments to a blog article, some steps to consider:

  • change the blog headline to indicate it has been updated
  • indicate which content has been changed, or show revisions using a StrikeThrough font
  • and if you really do need to delete a blog posting, then amend the posting to say the content has been removed

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