Six tips to keep your web content up to date

Left to linger

The main problem I have with websites are the ones that are created and then not maintained.

Like the truck in this photo they might be used for a while but then put out to pasture without a maintenance plan. Too soon it’s passed its use-by date, gathered dirt and rust and without a major overhaul, no longer useful.

As I mentioned in a recent post, there are questions you must ask yourself when you create a website.

Maintenance must absolutely be a part of any website creation.

Strategies to maintain your website

Schedule a time to review website content.

If you’ve got a small website then a quick read every couple of months should be okay.

If you’ve got a larger website, put the pages that need attending to in your editorial calendar. Is there a page that links to an annual report? Make a note to update it when your annual report is updated. Does your organisation have an annual calendar of events? This will impact the content on the website so make a note of that. Content updates could include changing sliders on the homepage and the content that it links to with further information like news and events.

Setup reminders to review content

Some content management systems have a system where content owners can be reminded by email to review their content. Use this if you have it.

If not, put a note or reminder in whatever diary system you use.

Check for broken links

Make checking for broken links part of your content review. This is essential. Again, some content management systems have this built in. WordPress has a broken link checker plugin. I haven’t used this so I don’t know how effective it is.

Get rid of old content

I used to be an advocate for keeping website information going way back and sometimes this is useful, but think about whether you really need it or not? Do you need all the details of an annual conference you held ten years ago? Think of the search engine consequences of this for people searching for such and such a conference. It’s annoying to more easily find a conference from years ago than this year’s conference.

Have one ‘contact us’ page

Don’t replicate contact details on many pages because if you have a person’s details across many pages and they leave you’ve got to update many pages. Put contact details on one page and link to that page then if someone leaves you’ve only got one page to update. Saves heaps of time.

Make someone responsible for the content

You need to know who has ownership of the web content. This could be page by page, or for a whole website. It has to be recognised that this person or people need some time to put aside to check content. If I had ten dollars for every time someone said they didn’t have the time to review or contribute content I could retire now.

And who is responsible for updating the content on the website? This and the content owner may be the same person. And please, please, if this isn’t the sole responsibility for this person, please give them adequate training and time to do these updates. I don’t think responsibility for web updates should fall on someone’s shoulders who doesn’t have web experience or the desire to do it.

Would you add anything?


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