Think about it.

You have a blog. A good blog. And you write a lot.

You have a growing number of readers, coming to your site via their preferred rss feed reader.

One day you write a really good article.

You post it, and immediatly it has great exposure and visibility: is on top of your homepage and it appear inside your feed, so search engines and people are aware of it.
Your article is so good that a lot of people digg it and reddit it and you get a lot of backlinks from other bloggers. You’re very proud of it, because it’s an article that really is useful for your visitors.
But what happens to the same post after three months?

It’s gone. It disappeared from your homepage, it disappeared from your rss feed, it disappeared from digg and reddit.
You still have all that backlinks, but where are they? They’re in articles that are lost in the archieves of other bloggers.

What can you do?

There’s an intresting idea by Chris Pearson to change the default layout of the standard blog, he says

 

  • Blast the notion of presenting the freshest content in the most important area of the page
  • Instead, place links to what you think is your very best content in areas that have the highest visibility (Where are those areas? Find out here.)
  • Personally, I’m in favor of highlighting your best content in the actual posting area itself, and I think your best work should take precedence over your most recent work. Again, the goal is to eliminate some of that content replication redundancy that is becoming more and more apparent as the use of RSS grows.
  • Before showing the newest content to the readers, afford them a chance to browse your site however they’d prefer – via search, via topic, or even by resource. Once you’ve given the user a chance to do something that they couldn’t do via your feed, then you can give them a chance to take a look at your latest work.

The idea is good, and it somehow bring a to a blog something good from the old “web 1.0″ site style, but still I’m not 100% convinced.
Here are my doubts:

  1. This way maybe my best 10 articles are easily accesible… but what about #11, #12 and so on?
  2. A new user can benefit of my “Top 10 articles” the first two times it comes to my site, but what about the third time? He will still found the same “best of” and the recently added content. He will not see the othr useful articles that are still hidden in the archive.
  3. Even if you change your homepage adding a short review of your best articles, an RSS feed reader may use the rss link and will land dircetly in the article page… and will not be aware of the “we’re back!” of the older post.

Now, I have an idea.

Let’s also use the rss feed itself to highlight our best content.

Suppose you have two rss feeds: One for the recent entries, and one for the past content. A user can subscribe to both, and the first one will be a standard rss feed, while the past one will be a sort of “You may have missed” feed. You can change the articles listed in the “You may have missed” feed once a week,for example, allowing the readers to discover the hidden treasures of your blog. You may keep the most important articles while changing the others. This way you’ll give a lot more exposure to all of your posts, and you push them directly to the reader.

On the site, there can be also a “You may have missed” block on each of your pages, so the user can easily reach all the best content in a couple of clicks.. but changing the “missed” list make this block useful also for the returning visitor.

There are a lot of other possibilities, as using a random articles feed, injecting older post in the default feed or something else, but the idea is the same:

Use the media your average reader likes most to deliver the content he will like most.

What do you think? Can this be a good way to give the readers a better experience on your blog?

francesco mapelli