One of the things that really impressed me when I first met Mike was HOW involved he was in the personal finance blogging community. When he found a blog he liked, not only would he add it to his RSS reader and start following it (and commenting at it), but he’d dig in and read through its complete archive (he’s stopped doing this, but he used to do it all the time). It makes perfect sense, if you like what someone writes about, why wait for the new stuff when there’s a massive amount of existing material free for the taking? I’ve never been able to do the same. After going through (at most) a month or two of the archive, I’ll get distracted and move on to something else: even with the strongest blogs out there. I get the feeling most people are like me in this respect, even if they like a blog, they don’t go through its archives.
Given that this is something of value to most blogs / bloggers, it keeps bugging me that there must be ways to make better use of the archives. I have four ideas, which some people are already doing, but there must be better ways to use them.
- Reference old posts in current posts. I do this all the time (along with everyone else), typically when I want to make a point, but don’t want to explain it again. I reference the old post, and let anyone who doesn’t believe me click through and read what I previously wrote. This definitely provides exposure for old posts, and there’s probably a tendency to refer very often to your best stuff (we’re always linking back to Mike’s excellent posts on real estate agents).
- Collect cash from advertising on well-indexed old posts. Apparently (Mike tells me) older posts that have a high rank on Google are one of the most lucrative parts of a blog, as people searching for things will come to the blog, click on an ad or two, then carry on with their browsing. Regular readers never click on ads (and often don’t even see them if they’re reading the RSS feed).
- Use the old posts as the core of a book. Kevin Smith did this (non-affiliate link) along with a number of other bloggers. I suggested a few times that a “Canadian Personal Finance Annual” collecting the best posts of the year from various blogs and selling them with some additional material from each blogger as a paper book would be an interesting project (that I don’t *THINK* would take much work), but whenever I’ve mentioned it to people there hasn’t been much interest.
- Have a “best of” re-run day. I don’t actually know anyone doing this, but on a day when you don’t usually post (such as the weekend perhaps), bloggers could start re-running old posts that newer readers haven’t seen before. Long time readers can ignore the re-run day, while newer readers will probably have a look when it ends up in their RSS reader. Mike tells me that having duplicate content on your site can get you in trouble with Google and other advertisers…
None of these ideas are terribly appealing, so I’ll throw the floor over to our (far more intelligent) readers.
What neat projects could established bloggers with a large archive, that few people read, do with that archive?