How to organize your blog

May 31, 2020

Blogs have a lot of information, and they’re not easy to organize. Most companies do it chronologically – you arrive at /blog, and you see the latest posts.

But while chronological organization is the easiest way to organize, it’s not necessarily the way that’s most useful for your visitors.

Library vs. publication

You can think of your blog using a bunch of different metaphors. There’s an article over at Animalz that we like about blog metaphors. The basic idea is that you can think of your blog as a library, or as a publication.

In a “library” metaphor, you walk up to a shelf (visit your blog) and are presented with a series of assets, not organized by date, but by topic. Your blog becomes a source of reference, and what matters is that all the content available is up to date.

In a “publication” metaphor, you open a newspaper (visit your blog) and are presented with the latest news. Your blog is a way for people to keep themselves updated on what’s going on at your company, or in your industry.

These metaphors suggest some other things about how your blog might work:

  • In a library, your featured posts might be the ones that are the most popular ever, or ones that are topical. If your blog is a publication, it’s whatever’s popular right now.
  • If your blog is a library, the topic matters most and your design should make that information easy to find. If it’s a publication, the date is the most prominent piece of information.
  • In a library, you should plan to keep all of your information up to date. In a publication, new content takes the place of old content.

But you know… both of these could be important ways of presenting information to your visitors. So why not both?

It’s good to have multiple views of your content

These metaphors are useful to keep in mind, but they muddy the waters a little bit. “Blog” and “library” aren’t meaningful by themselves. They’re just ways of presenting the resources you’ve already created; they’re not the information itself. And we think you need both.

A blog – because some visitors will care about the latest content you’re posting. For a lot of companies, job applicants, prospective customers, and even investors might go to a blog to see if you’re active and what you’re doing.

A library – because some visitors will need to track down specific information that you’ve posted:

  • You can build a hub page in your library for a specific topic your customers care about, just like you might have a section of your shelves devoted to Mesopotamian history.
  • You can have search for visitors who trust you as a resource to advise them on their latest marketing campaign.
  • Your sales team is an unconsidered audience for your library; they need a single place where they can easily find content to send to prospects.

And then think of the things you have to offer – articles, white papers, videos, resource guides – as resources that you can present in both of these formats.

Blowing up the blog

Let’s take it one step further. Don’t think of “blog posts” anymore. Think of:

  • Articles that appear on your blog, and maybe in your library, too!
  • News updates that appear on your blog, but maybe not in your library.
  • A whitepaper that appears in your library, and that has a blog post announcing it and summarizing its contents.
  • Temporary and time-sensitive updates, like product changelogs, that now have a home on your blog, because your blog isn’t pretending to be a library.

And so on. Thinking of your blog as a presentation format, or as a view, and thinking of assets separately – getting rid of the idea of a “blog post” – gives you much more flexibility, and helps you get out of bad content habits. And it lets you put a lot more stuff on your blog, too

Conclusion

Chronological posting should not be the default. Consider all the types of content you actually create – whitepapers, articles, changelogs, videos – and think of the blog and the library as ways of presenting appropriate content. Using this approach makes both your blog and your library more relevant and useful for your visitors.