To Prune or Not To Prune?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES With well over 100 posts on my blog, the result of almost two years of writing, I have recently been contemplating the question as to whether I should prune my blog or not. While I enjoy the sense of accomplishment of that many blog posts (which would equal the word count of a substantial novel), I sometimes wonder if there comes a point when some posts should be deleted.

After a bit of quick research on the web, there seems to be different schools of thought on the subject. At its core, at issue is the delicate balance between the business side and the creative side. On the one hand, bringing in and retaining the audience is an important factor. On the other hand, we have the slow and iterative creative process that sometimes takes a while to gain traction and to fully develop the body of work.

Based on my own experience, it is sometimes through the weaker written pieces that we have to put in some serious sweat equity in order to grow as artists. But weaker in whose eyes?

As I have mentioned before, there are some posts that were fully written in under an hour that achieved great results, whether number of views, likes or comments, while I have toiled for weeks over certain other posts that are important to me that barely registered a blip on the statistics. Either way, I am fine with that, but it just goes to show you do not always know for sure what will resonate with the audience.

Being the typical Libra that I am, weighing pros and cons on almost everything, here is a short list of reasons for and against the idea of pruning the blog.

    10 reasons why I could delete a few posts:

1-By decluttering, favourite blog posts should be easier to find for readers.
2-By keeping the blog on a few selected topics and deleting the ones that are outside those lines, it is easier to pitch the blog to a target audience, rather than trying to attract such a wide audience.
3-It could lead to better curated content. By keeping to a combination of the ones that attracted the most views, the most likes, and the ones I enjoy most, a collection of more popular content could be more inviting to new readers.
4-By achieving a better curated content on a limited number of topics, a better established niche could lead a visitor to read more posts on the same topic.
5-If after retweeting several times, a post does not find an audience, perhaps it is not meant to be and it is time to take it down.
6-If a new reader joins in, even if they really like my work, I tend to believe that they probably will not go back and read the entire back catalogue. Will deleted content really be missed?
7-By pruning the blog, I can pick, choose and leave the ones that are most reflective of my voice and point of view, thus letting my authentic point of view shine through.
8-Posts that reflected an opinion or perception at a point in time, might already be considered outdated today.
9-There are so many posts on the blog, there are days I have looked at older posts and barely remember writing them, even though I know for a fact I did.
10-There are some older posts which I read today and I think I could do better.

    10 reasons why I should not delete a few posts:

1- Each blog post could be considered a work of art, and keeping the whole collection posted shows my evolution as an artist and as a writer.
2-Each blog post could be considered a point of view at a specific point in time. As the Web continues to grow over time, could posts such as these form a sort of sociological archive for future generations to discover?
3-If I de-clutter the blog the way I do spring cleaning at home, there may not be much left to read.
4-Just because a blog post has not been read often, does not mean it represents bad writing or bad ideas.
5- You never know what will resonate with readers, what are the right words at the right time for someone who needed to hear it.
6-Some posts are late bloomers: I have seen blog posts get retweeted several months after the original posting, resulting in dozens of new views and readers.
7-The full depth and breadth of my blog, demonstrates no shortage of ideas or imagination, and demonstrates range. Might this be attractive to an agent or a publisher later?
8-Even with this number of posts and pictures, I am only using 1% of my allocated blog space on WordPress, so it is not like the blog police will be at my door anytime soon.
9-You never know when a random Google search could draw in a new reader which may lead to a retweet which may bring in new audience.
10-Editing can be a little subjective. Who says that the ones I choose to delete are the ones that will leave the best content?…And “best” in whose eyes?

Fellow writers and bloggers, what are your thoughts? To prune or not to prune?

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, please know that there are plenty more where that came from! If you haven’t already, you can check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.net. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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4 Comments

Filed under Top 10, Writing

4 responses to “To Prune or Not To Prune?

  1. Dave

    Andre, while you elude to these thoughts a couple of points to ponder. If one is looking at how today’s youth interact through electronics then statistics would weigh in to your decision, however, if one looks at it from a more traditional standpoint, how many books are taken from a library, read and returned but only the library really knows the amount of use.Using electronic statistics of retweets is not really indicative of how many people have read the work, and a vast majority do not necessarily indicate their reaction to the work in public domains (tweens excluded who indicate on everything they touch). You eluded to the historical aspect. You may find previous selections will offer topics to revisit and allow for the expression of change in perception at a later date as a topic, allow for the realization of expansion and growth both as an individual and a writer, and leave a larger footprint of your contribution to the world at large in recorded written form, something greatly lacking these days. It will always be your call on the ultimate decision, but unless you feel it necessary to remove aspects of your writing history for personal reasons I suggest not to prune. If nothing else, it allows a form of lasting legacy that any reader is then provided an opportunity to witness your growth as a writer.

    • Hi Dave,
      Thank you so very much for your feedback and your suggestions, I really appreciate it. I completely agree with your points about statistics not being a reliable indicator, and appreciate your suggestions about the writer’s footprint and writing history. Definitely, food for thought!
      Many thanks again for your support of the blog!
      Cheers!

  2. BestDadICanBe.com

    Andre – first time I’ve visited your blog and i could write a 4,000 word reply to this. My blog is probably similar to yours – there’s a lot of content there and I haven’t pruned it. So just a couple of comments: first of all, For #1.

    I write what I think is a blisteringly funny, insightful blog post – it barely gets a reaction. I write what I think is a run of the mill one: loads of comments and feedback. So what is your favourite may not be your readers’ favourite. It’s just like public speaking: what you think is a really funny joke gets barely a laugh: something you’d dismissed has them falling about.

    For #8 – so what if they’re outdated. They represent your valid thoughts and feelings at the time. You’re recording your history. I’ve been writing about my kids for 13 years: of course much of what I wrote in 2002 is outdated, but it doesn’t make it any less valid – and as you say, it records my journey as a person, as a Dad and as a writer.

    All the very best with your work. Mark

    • Hi Mark – Thanks very much for your observations and comments. I am glad to hear that I am not alone when it comes to what I consider a great post may not be the one to resonate most with the audience and vice versa. You raise some great points and like your perspective that “spring cleaning” the blog is not a necessity along life’s journey. Thank you for the kind words and I wish you the very best with your work too. Cheers – André

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