July 19, 2013

Blog archiving basics - I

by Indian Top Blogs

What archive display should I use on my blog? I have put posts in all relevant categories, so why should I have a blog archive at all? I like to put posts in a manually run archives page; why should I go for an automated one?

We are posed many such questions by bloggers. We thought, instead of replying to these questions, we'd rather engage our visitors in a detailed discussion on blog archive display so that they consider all pros and cons and take the best decision for their blog. So comes this 2-part series on blog/ website archiving.

Importance of archiving for blogs and other websites


'Archiving' for this discussion would mean ‘compilation and storage of old records and their display on the website’.  The archive is the sum total of resources crated over time and arranged properly so that they can be retrieved without confusion. Blogs, more than other websites, MUST have a proper archiving system since the key content in blogs is regularly updated and is amenable to chronological stacking. Moreover, the time of publishing of a post is important in blogs more than other websites since old posts also remain in place and the information gets updated over and over.

Proper display of archives serves the blog in more ways than one. It gives the visitor a glimpse of how you have been building your resources.  It helps the visitor find an old item quickly. [You’ll say that categorisation / labelling of posts does that job better. Yes, archiving and categorisation overlap in some respects but they have their own value. Combining them in one widget does not produce any better results as it complicates the retrieval. Category-wise display has other limitations too: seeing a category, how do I quickly find what your views on a subject were five year back? Or how do I know how many posts you wrote year-wise and month-wise last year? This is not to undermine the importance of labeling but to stress that categorization does not replace archiving. [In fact ITB has a couple of posts on labeling and categorization.]

How 'Blogger' archives posts: clear, logical, expandable  


A good archiving system for blogs takes into consideration all these: proper naming of posts, their proper arrangement and their efficient retrieval.


blog-archiving-pattern
Posts stacked on website archives.
Look at a blog that uses Blogger’s coding. Let's see an example from ITB itself. See the accompanying image.  Note that after the blog’s URL [i.e. http://www.indiantopblogs.com], it gives the year and then the month of posting, and finally the name of the post. What it tells is that Blogger arranges posts in monthly archives which in turn have been stacked year-wise.  In most digital cameras and audio-visual recorders also, this is the default pattern for storing photos / audio / video clips.

Wordpress too does the archiving nearly the same way, but its default archive display is often different.

The Blogger archiving pattern is a very clean and logical way of keeping posts. This system is expandable till infinity. It also reduces the chances of duplicate naming (unless you give the same name to more than one post in a month).

You will also agree that This is a better way than http://www.indiantopblogs.com/greatest-indian-blogs...
OR http://www.indiantopblogs.com/325 [running number] OR http://www.indiantopblogs.com/325/greatest-indian-blogs... OR http://www.indiantopblogs.com/page 34/greatest-indian-blogs...   OR http://www.indiantopblogs.com/social media discussions/greatest-indian-blogs...

It should be obvious why the Blogger's way of arranging posts in the archives is the best of all, but if you are not convinced, we’ll discuss it in the second post again, after we have discussed the different ways in which archives can be displayed on blogs.

This is first of a two-post series on blog archiving. The next post can be visited here: Keeping archives simple