Should You Update Your Blog Posts After Publishing?

I’ve always wondered what other bloggers do when they publish an article – do they tend to consider it final when it goes live or do some people make changes later on?  Personally, when I publish an article I will make a return in order to respond to comments, but beyond that I don’t do a whole lot with aged articles after I’ve gone to press. Over the past few months I’ve made sure to include a link to a related article at the end of my piece, but that’s about it.

Modifying Your Articles After The Fact

blogBarry Welford of SMM Internet Marketing Consultants recently made a compelling case for making later updates in his piece titled, “10 Reasons For Editing Your Published Blog Posts.” Without rehashing all ten of his reasons, I encourage you to read his article to see how you handle your own blogging. It turns out that after finishing reading his narrative I realize that I do modify previous pieces on occasion, although not with the same degree of intention as Barry. Allow me to share with you four of Barry’s points that resonated with me.

You fix mistakes, don’t you? I like to think that I catch every mistake before I publish, but that isn’t always the case. I proofread as I go along, but I also do one final, comprehensive read through to make sure that what I wrote makes sense and that all words are accounted for and spelled correctly. Usually, it is one of those smaller words such as “an” or “and” that I get sloppy with. Not that I have a grammatical problem, rather I sometimes type faster than I think which means I’m bound to miss something – even what should be obvious.

Image Addition? I must say that I do not add more images to an article later on. On most blogs (such as this one), I’ll include one image with the article, while on my car blogs I’ll include as many as six pictures if the article is discussing a new product release. I understand that images can add SEO value to an article, so maybe I should give this some closer scrutiny.

Update Developments – This is a good one. If I update my html pages I use on sites not powered by WordPress, why not update my blog posts too? It seems that a policy that we web developers used to follow — update fixed pages as needed – should apply to our blogs. But for some reason it doesn’t, so we don’t. Hmmm….

Search Engine Visibility – This is important, but I also think we miss out on keeping up with it. How many times have you written a piece that rushed to the top of the SERPs only to slide back down over time? Perhaps we should pay more attention to who has surged ahead of us because I’m sure that it isn’t just newer articles that are pushing their way to the top, but updated information as well.

Update Or Perish?

With so many new blogs and websites launching daily can we afford to neglect our sites? It seems as if we are doing just that if we fail to take advantage of the opportunity to make changes later on, especially when those changes may have a positive impact on our readers as well as on our visibility via the search engines.

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  1. If there is a need to modify your blog posts you definitely need to do it.

    This may be a minor disadvantage but its better than having a big one if do not make changes. Rest all one can know from your post, it is simple and amazing. This is one of those types of questions on the minds of many people.

  2. I do update blog posts, quite frequently. Sometimes I correct typos, sometimes I include links I overlooked the first time, or news updates. I never update to include images, or to make SEO tweaks though. :)

  3. @Sam — I second what you said. I think.

    @Mig — that makes for a lot of work but I think it also shows how much you care about what you write. Information often changes and, typos aside, what we originally write sometimes does not stand the test of time.

  4. I update my blog posts as well, mainly for typos and wording errors. I have updated occasionally for new information, such as on a breaking story, but I wasn’t sure if that was better than writing another blog post with the update. From what I am gathering from your post, it would be better to update the original post with the new information. I will have to keep that in mind.
    .-= LarryJackson´s last blog ..Bloody crackdown quitens Iranian protests =-.

  5. Matthew C. Keegan says:

    Maybe doing both with be okay, Larry? Update the old post and write a new one, especially if the information has changed substantially. I’ll often link together related posts as you have noted with my “See Also” listing following the article. This causes me to go back and examine articles and, if there has been a significant change to it, make an update.

  6. Thanks, Matt, for noticing what I wrote and I’m glad you found it thought provoking. I was not aiming to plant guilt trips there and should confess that you should do as I say rather than what I do.

    I do update some blog posts for several of the reasons in the post. However even though I know it is an extremely effective way of using my time, it does not give as much pleasure as the initial act of creation.

  7. You’re welcome, Barry. I didn’t take your words to be a guilt trip, rather as a friendly reminder of how beneficial it can be to keep blog posts current.

    Truly, writing fresh material is much more satisfying beating rewrites and updates hands down.

  8. Depending on the nature of the article, leaving an article or blog post stagnant is not ideal. Many benefits to continually revising and updating. My thoughts here

  9. Matthew C. Keegan says:

    Thanks Ezra. SEO is perhaps one of the best reasons from a blogger’s standpoint to refreshen an article, an opportunity to make sure that the article is positioned well in the SERPs.

  10. I only modify my posts when there is a typo.
    Generally it depends on the type of blog – if you’re covering a developing story or something where new facts appear often, then there might be a need to update the post. But if you’re not, there is no excuse to put wrong or incomplete information, the way I see it You have enough time to make things right the first time you post.
    .-= Gry Dla Dzieci´s last blog ..Odkrywanka =-.

  11. In my point of view the edition of the post after it has been published is a stupid thing in those cases if the post is not so important to read & it is a wise thing if the post is very important for the readers!

  12. @ Gry — I agree with you that getting everything right before you hit the publish button is essential. However, if an article becomes an important reference, i.e. it is picked up by other websites or blogs and cited, then I think the writer should take extra care to make sure that the information is kept up to date. After all, if you’re quoted as a source then you want to make sure that your pages have been revised accordingly.

    @ Juanita — I suppose “the importance of a post” is subjective. Therefore, if your analytics tool is showing a lot of traffic to that one article, then perhaps keeping an eye on it makes good sense, right?

  13. I updated my post about Governor Mark Sanford to include a link to the statement made by his wife about the entire situation. I thought it was very relevant and warranted an update.
    .-= LarryJackson´s last blog ..Governor Mark Sanford =-.

  14. I also update my blog posts after publishing only if I have very important fact to update in my posts and if I have some typo are grammar mistakes. Also, I will update my blog post if my readers love it and if it is getting lots of traffic.

  15. Matthew C. Keegan says:

    Nico, that is a very good approach. I have a handful articles that are several years old bringing me regular traffic. Maintaining those pages makes very good sense because I want to encourage people to bookmark the page, return and read my updates.

  16. I try not to update once posted. However, I have found an occasional need. Mainly for typos, as I am not perfect. Sometimes for SEO. I have also done a small amount of corrections as it was found in the replies.

    Usually then I will use a strike through font so that future readers can have an understanding of the discussion.

    But, if there were to be a major change, I would just leave the post as is, start anew. and edit in an “update note” on the original post to the new post.
    .-= Oscar Gecko´s last blog ..The Evolution of Leprechauns… =-.

  17. Matthew C. Keegan says:

    Oscar, I like the idea of using strike through fonts when amending an article that has become a conversation thanks to the comments. An update note is wise too as it allows you to write a fresh article and to point readers to the new link. Very good tips!

  18. I can certainly understand updating a blog post when it’s called for. After scanning through stats you can easily find a specific topic you may have missed when first writing. While it can inspire new posts, it’s sometimes a useful addition to a current article post. BTW, I’m enjoying your random thoughts!
    .-= Jake´s last blog ..How To Get Better Gas Mileage MPG | Saving Money =-.

  19. Matthew C. Keegan says:

    Hey thanks, Jake! I’ve been doing that a bit lately, reviewing my stats to see what older articles are remaining active. One article is ranked #3 in the SERPs for its particular word combination, so I’ll be giving that article an update real soon.

  20. This post is of great interest to me. On occasion, I do edit blog posts.

    Generally speaking, the edits are limited to correcting typos or improving sentence clarity. However, if I run across related online resource that I think will be helpful to readers, I have no qualms about adding it.

    I highly recommend this post to my blogging buddies.
    .-= Deb S.´s last blog ..Novel explores race, women’s attitudes in the Deep South =-.

  21. Matthew C. Keegan says:

    Thanks, Deb.

    From time to time I add online resources to help my readers research a subject further if they desire. I borrow the “Further Information” idea from Wikipedia to help my readers in this endeavor.

  22. Hi Matt, long time no whatever,

    I’d be more inclined to write a new post if I had additional info or an update. I try to find the older post and link back to it within the new post. But after five years at the same popcycle stand, who knows what’s buried at the bottom of the freezer?

    Sometimes I correct typos, sometimes I leave them in for authenticity. Sometimes they are deliberate.

    Occasionally I’ll add info or make an apology in a comment if that is appropriate.

    Now my musing is this: should you update your Twitter every time you publish a new post?


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