How long should your blog keep old content online?

I was updating the Jetpack plugin in WordPress today, and looked through the settings to find it has a “show related posts” feature. As a way to keep visitors on your site, it’s a decent way that doesn’t add much over head to the page size or load times, so I thought “sure, why not” and turned it on.

It worked fine out of the box, which is always nice. I went to a post to see the feature in action and one of the related posts was one from 2009 about cloud servers from Mosso.

The upside of having a blog going for nearly a decade is that there hundreds of posts to pick from. Nearly all the posts have been tagged and categorized. That’s good. As is the long tail of search. Many visits to this and other sites come from users doing very specific searches.

The downside is that in the world of technology, things change fast. Posts written a year ago are sometiems out of date. New versions of software are released. There are new features added to platforms. Some things go away.

Take Mosso, for example. Rackspace purchased and integrated Mosso several years ago, rendering my platform review useless and outdated.

Or all the posts I did in the late aughts about Amazon Web Services pricing. You see the pattern.

Here, then, is the question. Should a blog, especially one focused on technology, leave up old posts as a historical record? Alternatively, should blogs delete/draft posts after a certain number of years, considering the speed at which that world changes?

Perhaps a disclaimer could be added to posts over a certain age telling users of their age and possible obsolescence.

There’s value in both methods. It’s something I haven’t really thought about until today. I have drafted a few of the very early posts I wrote here due to errors, the vast majority of them are still are live.

What is your rule of thumb when it comes to leaving old blog posts online?

 

1 comment

  1. Thanks for this post! I think it depends on how the blog is being used. If it’s used as a traditional “web log,” then my rule of thumb is to leave the old posts and include a clear posting date. It’s never meant to be perpetually current…it’s a historical log, and the date is vital. But if the blog is used to post reference or how-to information that needs to remain current, then remove the posting date and use a “Last updated on” date, updating/deleting the content as needed.

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