A #blogarch Look at “Old” Work- Does Blogging Have to Be Linear?

Posted on March 7, 2014


The Archaeology Blogging Carnival has raised some interesting subjects to think about in relation to archaeology and blogging. One aspect I have been thinking about lately is the linear nature of blogging. Most blogging platforms work in a linear fashion. You post and usually, unless one specifies it differently, your most recent post is found at the top of your blog, followed by your next oldest and so on. Having looked at hundreds of Archaeology blogs I would say 99% follow this trend. RSS feeds and email alerts work in the same way, you get the most recent post.

This is a good way to organize a blog but it has its drawbacks. The most serious one I see is that your older work does not actually get viewed as much. Here are my monthly blog stats:

Monthly Views DougsArchaeology

Monthly Views DougsArchaeology

Except for a few abnormalities, every year the monthly views are higher than in the previous year, I am also posting less now. I now have more blog followers and people subscribing to my RSS feed than when I first started. This means that more people see my newest work, on average, than my older stuff. This is the nature of publishing, your audience will grow with time. Your writing and posts will most likely get better with the more practice you have and experience you gain.

However, this does not mean that older work is not good. In fact, much of what people post in the past is very high quality work. Unfortunately, with the time linear fashion of blogs, RSS feeds, alerts, etc. Your early work is never found again except though search engines. The real problem with that is that search engines are viscous feedback loops. They only show the top results, which are according to them the most linked to posts. You only get links if people read your work and decide to link to it. When you first start a blog very few people read your work because your audience has not developed. A small audience means less of a chance of getting links and thus your older work tends to stay buried.

Sure some of that work deserves to stay buried. Some of it is no longer relevant because it was announcing some changes to the blog, or was a news story that is no longer relevant, etc. Some of my work, dare I say, is not the highest quality and should stay buried. However, some of it might be worth re-posting, revisiting, or reexamining. Over the next couple of weeks I am planning on reviewing some of my older posts, maybe re-post, review, or reevaluate what I said. I will try to experiment with trying to break the linear aspect of blog publishing. I am not sure what that will involve but I will experiment over the next couple of weeks, maybe months.

First Attempt

To kick off this process I went back through my blog posts to look at those with the lowest number of views. I found quite a few posts that only got a couple of views- less than half a dozen. Most of these were posts about others work and tended to be some of my first posts, while I was still trying to figure out how to blog (I still am but not have a bit more experience). To be honest, I don’t think any of these posts deserve to get much attention. They add very little original thought to anything and don’t appear to have driven much traffic to those sources.

I am going to erase those posts. Why? It is thought, at least from what I read on SEO blogs, that Google takes a look at the number of posts that a blog has and the number of links to those posts. Blogs with lots of posts with no links get a slight ding it terms of search result rankings. Not anything significant and most rankings have to do with quality of the post, not the overall quality of the blog. But if I can give some of my posts a boost by erasing poor quality ones than it might be worth it.

However, I will add all the content to the end of this post. One, to give the content a better viewing now that I have a larger audience. Two, because it is Friday and I think some of you might enjoy it before the weekend.

On March 27, 2011 I posted about Share Anthropology and it got a grand total of 3 views (2 on page, 1 RSS) or two days. http://shareanthropology.tumblr.com/ It is now defunct but the idea was that people could crowd source Open Access publications in Anthropology and share them. I am re-posting it here because the idea is great and maybe it will inspire someone to try again or do something similar.

May 24, 2011 I posted this video on the history of Beethoven and it rack up 6 view (4 RSS, 2 on site). Half of those views have come since I posted it. Enjoy:

On April 1oth 2011, I posted another video from the same people, Histroy Teachers (well worth checking out their YouTube Channel), and it got a grand total of 7 views.

April 8th, 2011 I posted about these posters (got 8 views) and the original source can be found here. The reason I posted this the first time was because I liked how the posters connected modern events with historical ones. Again, maybe it will inspire someone.

Finally, there was this video (11 views) that I mainly just posted (June 5th 2011) for fun because I have been to these places and the soundtrack was good.

Most of these were for fun so I hope you enjoy them over the weekend.

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