Publishing to paper takes merchandising, project management, time, and other resources, and you have to acquire and apply all of those resources before you print one copy of whatever you are publishing. Ink, paper, people - each cost money, and you must acquire each in advance, and in the proper quantity.
- Write something.
- Re read what you just wrote, write some more.
- Edit what you wrote.
- Print what you wrote.
- Distribute what you printed.
- Now, it's out of your hands. If you need to make a correction, you have to go back to Step 1, and repeat the whole process.
Publishing to the web is simpler, and yet more complex.
- If you have no reputation, write what you can, now.
- Advertise what you have.
- As you get reputation from your writing and advertising, write more.
- As you get feedback from your readers, go back to what you wrote, and change some of it.
- Change content.
- Add content.
- Organise the content.
- Make the content attractive.
- Repeat, as necessary.
- Publish what you can, now.
- Publish more, later.
Progressive Publishing is a strategy which lets your online content be, simultaneously, accurate, attractive, complete, relevant, and timely. A similar strategy is used by Blogger, who releases their improvements, progressively - though not always, painlessly.
In most cases, you can just Publish, then modify / update as you continue. Very few blogs have even half of the reader activity during the first day after you publish a new post, and while you revise, progressively.
If it's so important to see the page or post - and you do not want it to be visible to your readers - setup a test blog. Then, copy or edit the page or post in the test blog - and Publish at will.
(Update 2009/10/02): Today, we saw a small yet significant change, which makes progressive publishing slightly easier.