I'm still tweaking the design on this site. I'm trying to figure out the best way to present both the front page and the old posts. Though obviously the value of old posts fade with time as tech-oriented weblogs are somewhat time-sensitive, there's still a lot of time and effort invested in those old posts and it'd be nice to make them as browsable as possible.
I used to have at the bottom of the index page and the individual post pages a list of past months so that readers would be encouraged to look at older posts. It's the same list that you can find in the Archive page. I made the decision a while ago that I don't like side bars cluttering up the page. All those links you'll find on the side of MT, TypePad, WordPress and other blog engines are just ugly. They might be somewhat useful, but I think the percentage of times people use them does not justify displaying them 100% of the time.
Now, suring the latest rev, I changed my Archive format from a "list" view where all the titles are listed as links, to a "Blogger" type archive where all the content for a specific month is displayed on one huge page. I've never gotten around to adding next and previous links on my individual posts, so this is a nice solution to encourage people to browse your old posts. The reader can start at the top and continue reading through in chronological order. The front page is reverse, but everything else is in order to give the reader context.
The problem is, and this may be just over analysis, that the month order is a bit arbitrary. Starting on the first day of the month isn't particularly telling of anything. The problem with listing all the titles is that they don't really give the reader an idea of the length or quality of the content - a title is a title, whether it sits on top of a thousand word diatribe or a two paragraph rant. And with 2176 posts over three years, it's a bit daunting to list them all on one page. Some of the archive pages, on the other hand, are *huge*. There's a lot of wasted kbs being transferred there.
So I'm not sure. This is an issue on all blog engines, IMHO. It's something you don't have to think about until you start amassing a library of old posts. 2000+ posts and god knows how many words? That's unbelieveable. How to best manage it is going to become a bigger and bigger issue as I continue to add hundreds of new posts every year.
Thoughts? Have you seen any really innovative solutions for this? What's your preferred way to check the archives of a blog you've just discovered?