On walkabout in life and technology

Reading the Archives

Most people when they click on a link to a new blog, read the linked article and move on elsewhere. Google Analytics records this as a bounce - a visitor comes in, reads a single page and leaves.

One of my habits when I come across a new blog is to read the archives. Almost every blogging platform has archives and almost every blogger makes these available.

But why read the archives?

  • My primary reason is to scan the archive headlines to see what topics this blog covers. If the series of topics I see interest me, I’ll add that blog to my RSS feeds.
  • I also want to see how frequently the blog gets updated. If the archives end a year ago, then I can tell that the blog has been abandoned, and will not subscribe.
  • If the post I was linked to did interest me, chances are that this writer has more posts that may interest me. Reading the archives often points me to another set of posts by the same writer, which I invariably Instapaper for tonight’s recreational reading.
  • Even if the post I read was not as interesting as expected, I still scan the archives the first time around, just in case they have other topics that do interest me. I may have followed a link to an article I did not enjoy, but the link usually came from someone I do trust.

I used to just bounce around the internet, reading one piece here, one piece there, but I found that all this bouncing around meant I read a lot of posts that did not interest me. By reading the archives, I found a bunch of sites that I subscribe to, regularly visit and find that my limited reading time is filled with stuff that interests me. It is so much more enjoyable.

I’m not saying you should do this too, but chances are that your analytics has me logged as an arrival by link, followed by a click on the archives. Not a bounce.

Follow the author as @hiltmon on Twitter and @hiltmon on App.Net. Mute #xpost on one.