Do you update your posts when information changes or is new, or do you just post an update?
I think this is a question that needs to be thoroughly considered and explored. I, for one, am sick and tired of visiting a link for a WordPress Plugin, WordPress Theme, software program, or whatever only to either be told at the bottom of the post or later in the comments (if I read them) that this post information is old and that I will find updated information at a new location. CRAP! Time waster!
The issue of updating posts is not limited to developers of software, programs, utilities, WordPress Themes, WordPress Plugin, or other services, products or tools. It’s been over a month since the release of WordPress 2.0, and yesterday I remembered to update “WordPress Versions: How Many and What’s the Difference, one of the popular posts on this blog. It still talked about WordPress 1.5.2. Yikes! So I updated it so people can find current information rather than old news.
Would you have done that? Or simply posted a link to a new updated post? Or ignored it totally? Do you even care if people are reading out-of-date information on your blog?
Now that you know my opinion, let’s get to the specifics so you can form your own opinion on this matter.
Update or Post an Update? That is the question.
For you, the blogger, software developer, designer, or plugin artist, you work in real time. When you make changes and improvements to your tool, you want to shout it to the world. And you want to shout it NOW.
You write a new post that says “here it is and here are the changes”. That’s fine. I like announcements, but let’s look at how the time line works for users.
Users have a different sense of “time” that usually doesn’t match yours. We have a need so we go out searching. We stumble upon your great and useful tool and shout, “Yeah, I’ve found you!” We are the early discoverers, like Columbus, discovering new land that, while occupied, is still credited as a new discovery. It has been “found”. With this finding, we assume we are reading the latest news and information about your tool and eagerly pour over the text with the hope that it will cure our ills.
Unfortunately, the information we are reading may already be out of date. While our discovery is new, according to your time line, this is old news. Still, it is your responsibility to meet our needs, not yours, when it comes to providing documentation and information about your program or tool.
How you do it is what is up for debate. Here are your options.
Update the Original Post: Go to the original post and update all the information the user will need. Include the new version numbers, download links, and links to all supporting information. You can say it’s been updated or not, but if that is the main link found within your user documentation, then keep that page updated with the latest information.
Post an Announcement but Link to the Original and Back Again: If you choose not to update the original post, then post a link to the original post in the new announcement, and then include a link inside of the original post to the new information. Put it at the TOP not the bottom so we see it immediately.
Post an Announcement With a Link to the Original But Still Update the Original: A compromise between the two suggestions above is to post an announcement, include a link to the original, but also update the original post so that all the information, documentation, download links, and so on are contained in one place.
There is no reason users have to chase information around on your website to find documentation or information about your products or services, even if they are simple WordPress Plugins or Themes. If you have provided a link in the documentation directly to a specific post on your blog, then maintain that page and provide adequate and clearly defined links to other resources.
If the links in the documentation are to your main website and not to a specific page, make clearly identifiable links from your main page to these resources and keep your documentation up-to-date to help people find your wonderful tools. You created them so people can use them, help them find them so they can use them.
If you have written a post about a specific version, and it is getting a lot of page visits, then consider updating the information and/or providing a link to the new information. This helps people not only find the new information, but it tells them that you care enough to help them find the information they may be looking for.
What do you think about this? I’ve spent hours digging around through search engines, on-site searches and flipping through web pages to find a link, any link, that will get me more information about a Plugin, Theme, or software program. I adore these programs or I wouldn’t spent so much time trying to locate information about them.
Or I will write about them with great gusto, bragging about how wonderful they are and how they have changed my life, and then two weeks later start getting comments saying the link is no good or they can’t find the information on the website listed. I then start digging to try to find a better link or resource and am often stymied, too. How do you think I feel after having bragged about the tool only to have the developer hurt themselves by not providing adequate link information?
So which do you do? Would you update the post or just post an update?