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Blog birthdays

We’re keen to have the site’s front page display interesting things even if we haven’t been able to add new blogs to the site for a few days.

So we recently started highlighting any blogs that have notable birthdays today. Any blog that’s having its 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, or 20th birthday, and that published a post within the past couple of months or so, will be highlighted on the front page.

A screenshot showing listings for two blogs: "Lat x Long" celebrating its first birthday today, and "Ben Werdmuller" celebrating 10 years

It’s a nice way to celebrate blogs that have stuck around, and to unearth blogs from the depths of the directory that you might not have come across before. Over time, we might tweak which birthdays we celebrate: the current birthday choice often means there are days with nothing to celebrate.

Of course, to know if it’s a blog’s birthday, we need to know the date of its first post. Whenever we add a new blog to the directory we look for its first post and save the date. This is easy to do if:

  • There’s a dated list of posts in the sidebar (hello, Blogspot blogs!)
  • Or there’s a dropdown that links to monthly archive pages (hello, some WordPress templates!)
  • Or there’s a link to an archive page listing all posts in date order
  • Or the bottom of the front page links to previous pages of posts and it’s easy to jump directly to the oldest page

It’s possible, but more time consuming, if:

  • The bottom of the front page links to previous pages of posts but there’s no way to know how many pages there are. In this case, if the URLs are sensible, like /page/2/, we use trial and error, changing the URL several times until we find the oldest page

Unfortunately some sites make it too time-consuming, or even impossible, to find their first post. This could be because:

  • Their previous pages’ URLs use dates instead of page numbers, so there’s no easy way to find the first one
  • Or, instead of separate pages, their front page has an infinte scroll of freshly-loading older posts, but the URL never changes. We’re not going to keep scrolling until we get to the first post! (hello, some Medium blogs!)
  • Or, there’s no pagination, no easy way to find dated archives, no chronological lists of posts. It’s hardly even a blog at this point.

All of which is to say: why make it hard to find your first post, or even the posts from a certain time period? If we can easily find when your blog was born then we can all celebrate its birthday!