Spring is just around the corner: forget spring cleaning—how often do you go around and clean up your online life? Today I want to talk about cleaning up your old blogs.
Wendy told me about a website for the Great Dane dog breed, and she told me that the founder of the website passed away last year. What disturbed me is if you visit the site there’s nothing to indicate that the founder is no longer alive. I’ve thought about how I’d want my online life to be handled when I’m not around—I try to keep an up-to-date list of my email addresses and their passwords, and the passwords to other important online sites for this reason.
Morbidness aside, my bigger issue is that I’m a recovering hoarder, so I have blogs in various locations and they’re still online, almost 10 years later:
- Diaryland: Between 2002 and 2005 I ran two blogs there
- Xanga: I kept a blog there from 2005-2007
- Movable Type: I ran a blog using this software between 2004 and 2006, and I’ve never cried so much over the tech side of running a blog like I did when trying to create a design for that blog. My sister will sometimes refer to my Movable Type days, just to get a rise out of me!
- WordPress: I started using WordPress in 2006 and ran a personal blog very consistently until I started this blog, also on WordPress in 2008. I used wordpress.com initially for this blog and for the single ladies blog (2009-2012), but have merged both into this blog. WordPress is the best!
Because blogging is free, and the internet has a seemingly limitless capacity, we aren’t inclined to be tidy with our blogs: there are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of blogs that have one or two blog entries, or no blog posts at all—the author, full of excitement, started a blog and things fizzled out shortly thereafter. It happens, no big deal, but what doesn’t seem to happen so often is the would-be blogger going back to clean up the blog once he or she realizes that blogging isn’t for them, or dealing with the old blogs once she’s moved on to a new location (ahem).
If you’ve stopped blogging completely, or you blog elsewhere, you may want to consider the following as you think of your online properties.
Do you want to keep your blog online, do you want to archive it offline, or do you want to trash it?
The third option is simplest: if you don’t want to keep those old blog posts you can just delete the entire blog (note: in some cases deleting the blog may mean giving up ownership of the name forever—if you love the blog name don’t delete your blog until you’re sure you can use the name again should you wish to!). If you want to keep your blog posts, you have to decide whether you want them offline (in which case you’ll need to download them and save them to your computer), or if you want the blog to remain online. If you keep the blog online, then you can decide if you want to keep it at its current location or, if you have a new online location, then you may want to consolidate it under your current blog name and address. Diaryland and Movable Type don’t seem to have an easy way to export your content but Xanga does.
I’ll be archiving my Diaryland and Xanga blogs offline, deleting all entries from my wordpress.com blogs, and pointing them to goodnaijagirl.com (since all those entries have already been imported to this site). I wouldn’t mind giving up the url for the single ladies blog, but I wouldn’t want someone to start a new blog at goodnaijagirl.wordpress.com so I’ll hang on to it.
The thought of only having active websites online sounds heavenly to me and I can’t wait to report that it’s all been taken care of.
But the old blogs could help someone if they remain online!
If you have an old blog that you haven’t updated in a couple of years, you may have kept it online because you’re proud of the work you did and you feel like the information could help someone. I agree with this as long as you don’t mind being the one to refer people to the site. I say this because the odds that your blog that hasn’t been updated in two, three, or more years showing up early enough in Google searches to be useful to anyone are slim (at least as far as my understanding of Google search goes!). Most blogs from three or more years ago were personal blogs talking about the author’s life or experiences, and these types of blogs in my experience are less likely to rank high in Google after so many years of inactivity (especially since so many hundreds of thousands of new blogs have been opened since that blog stopped being updated). If you used to blog about a very specific (niche) topic the chances are better that someone may find it in a Google search, especially if the topic is very narrow, even if the blog hasn’t been updated in years.
Do you have old blogs floating around? Will you leave it as-is, delete it, or archive it offline?