Is A Blog Post Ever Finished?

Today I came across an interesting post by Joshua Porter of bokardo.com. The post, 9 Lessons for Would-be Bloggers, as you might expect from the title are some lessons Joshua has learned in his years of blogging. Darren Rowse has a follow up piece, Lessons from the Heart for Would-be Bloggers, at ProBlogger. While I’m not planning on talking in depth about each point there’s a theme running through a few of the points I would like to discuss.

First the 9 points

  1. It’s only an initial fear
  2. You have something valuable to say
  3. When in doubt, post.
  4. Use the comments for refining your point
  5. Everything is beta
  6. Have a schtick
  7. Correct English be-damned
  8. Show your greatest hits
  9. People are listening

Both Joshua and Darren offer some good comments on each of the above points and I’d encourage you to read both of their posts. I’d like to focus my thoughts on one of the themes I see running through these 9 points. As the title of this post asks, is a blog post ever finished?

If you look at points 3, 4, 5, and 7 all are an indication that a blog post isn’t necessarily meant to be a finished piece of work. I like one of the comments Darren made in reference to posting even when in doubt and I’ll use it as the jumping off point for my own thoughts.

I do subscribe to the theory that blogs are not just for finished or refined thoughts. One of the wonderful things about blogs is that when you track them over time you get to see the journey that a blogger has gone on. Good blogs will track the evolution of thought of a blogger.

A Blogging Evolution

Darren’s comment echoes my own feeling about blogging. I do want to get something from an individual post and in truth it’s probably going to be one of your better posts that gets me to click the subscribe button, but I also like to see the evolution of the blogs I read consistently. We’re all human and we all change our mind. In the year+ I’ve been blogging my thoughts on seo and web design and blogging have changed. The industries themselves have changed so why shouldn’t my thought.

A comparison between an article and a blog post might be in order. Even though it would be easy to consider a post an article, and admittedly I often interchange the two words, I see a difference. An article to me should be more a finished piece, more well researched. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t research the topic of your post, but I think it’s ok to get away with a little less on a blog.

I tend to think of an article as something I would submit to another site (even if it’s something I’m submitting to my own site) and something that may be your one and only encounter with me. Because of that it should expect a less forgiving audience. Where an article is focused solely on the ideas within, a blog post carries with it a person and voice behind the writing and the thoughts of that person are carried through the blog and not just in any single post.

A blog should be more informal. While I hope you’ll learn something in reading here I also want you to get to know me. While you may read only one post and move on I’d like to think if I’ve captured your attention with a post you’ll come back for a little more and get to know me and my thoughts over time.

I’d also like to get to know you and I think leaving ideas somewhat open allows for their continued discussion. A blog is not about a single voice, but rather a community of voices, perhaps directed by a single voice. Many times someone here has made a comment that’s gotten me to rethink something I said and rethink an idea I had held as truth. That allows me, my ideas, and this blog to grow and evolve.

Recently I’ve asked you a few questions about blogging. First I asked if you prefer full or partial feeds and then last week the question was if you thought there was an optimal length for a blog post. You can probably guess I have another question now.

Do you think blog posts are finished pieces of writing? Do they need to be your final thought on a subject or should the ideas in a post be allowed to grow? If a blog post is meant to be informal how important is it to use proper grammar when writing a post? Ultimately do you think a blog post is ever finished or should the ideas in it be revisited as a blogger’s thoughts on the subject evolve?

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8 comments

  1. Well, Steven, I think articles and posts, both aren’t finished. I mean, we’re all humans and we’re all prone to errors. So, if a guy says, “This is 100% correct”, I say he’s 100% wrong. The conditions of “right” and “wrong” are relative from person to person.It depends on the frame of reference.

    For ex, I think what I said above is right. But, you may think its wrong. It depends. Perfection is impossible. But a pursuit towards is possible. And, blog posts are never finished. In my case, when I started my blog, I didn’t know much about stuff and when I read my archives, it sometimes really makes me embarrassed because they may not be “that” good or I may have changed my concepts. As Steve Pavlina describes it, its your context which dictates all this. Context is your ideas and beliefs about the nature of reality.

    About the grammer, I don’t expect perfect grammer from bloggers because they’re like diary entries. Casual writing. But, grammer like “i wnt 2 go 4 da party 2nite” is beyond my levels of toleration. I think this comment is getting too long. So, winding it up !! ;)

  2. Interesting points Sreejith. You may be right in thinking of an article as an unfinished piece as well. The author of an article can certainly change opinions and grow after writing the article. I still tend to think of articles as more finished.

    I absolutely agree with the idea that perfection is impossible, though I still strive to more towards it as best I can.

    I know what you mean about going through the archives. I try not to for fear of what I might find, though I have to say I do enjoy going back through some of my favorite blogs and seeing how the thought has changed over the years.

  3. Well, Steven, you may have even noticed my evolution ! Believe me, I was a fool when I started blogging. lol. Its really interesting and I think its the most interesting thing about blogging. You can actually view your path.

    And, about articles, I think the degree of perfection is obviously and definitely better than blog posts. Articles aren’t always right, but they’re mostly right from the blogger’s point of view at that particular time frame.

    And, I think you’re blogs haven’t gone much wrong as far as I know. From every post that you write, I can truly feel the spirit of hardwork echoing in it. You research a lot and thats the reason I read your blog because I trust you’re stuff.

  4. I tend to create a new blog post and reference the old one if things have changed or there is something i want to add, Especially if it has previously received comments.

    As for correct writing, I think it’s important to make it as easy to read as possible, But it shouldn’t be too rigid, It should contain some personality, If that means missing out a few bits of punctuation then sobeit.

  5. Sreejith I have definitely noticed your evolution as a blogger. I remember the first time encountered each other at Webmaster-Talk and it’s easy to see how far you’ve come since then. Thanks for the compliments on my blog. I try to research things and put some work into every post, though I’ll admit to slacking off with a few here and there. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

    Matt I tend to do the same. I’d sooner write a new post about a subject and link back to the older one. There are a few posts I have through of updating though like the SEO Tutorial series I wrote. I probably wouldn’t rewrite those from scratch, but instead update the older posts and republish them.

    I feel the same way about grammar and punctuation on blogs. I do proof and edit the posts here before publishing, but I know I still leave misspellings in there all the time.

  6. Well, what I do is just edit the page if I can and thats all ! I mean, I don’t like the idea of posting a post just to point out a mistake. Its not worth the effort.

  7. I wouldn’t write a post just to point out a mistake either, but lets say I wrote a post giving my thoughts on reciprocal links. A few years ago I might have been telling everyone it was a great way to build links to your site.

    But given the current state of things I wouldn’t recommend reciprocal links as the best way to build links. I might then write a new post on reciprocal linking and why it’s not the best tactic today. Within that post I might still reference the original post. Maybe something like “back in 2004 I was advising everyone to trade as many links as possible” and link to the old post.

    I think something like that helps show your evolution as a blogger and seo. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in letting people know the situation has changed or simply that you made a mistake.

    After having written the new post I could then go back into the old post and write a new lead paragraph to the effect that the post was written many years in the past and while the information in it was good at the time I now have an updated post on the topic and then link to the new post. That would ensure that my current ideas were the ones people were reading. It would help people who stumbled onto the old post to get better information and it could take advantage of any inbound links the old post was receiving and funnel some of the link juice to the new post.

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