Content is king, or say the saying goes. The problem is that the king can sometimes be rather maddening, something like King George. Website content grows, spread and almost appears to have its own life. How much of your website content do you actually keep track of? How many of your website pages are you in control of? How many of your website pages can you actually remember? The BBC News website, for instance, has over 20m pages; even this humble site has over 23,000 pages. And unless your website only has a few pages keeping tabs on everything gets increasingly difficult.
However, you need some kind of system in order to be successful. For a start, some of the links deep down in those old pages may no longer work; some of the information may be out-of-date and some of the content may be incorrect given changes in the topic. Yet, if you do not keep track of your older parts of your website, when people stumble across your content what do they think? They might thing you don’t care because you do not update your links. They might think your site is not properly checked because information is out-of-date. They might even think you don’t know what you are talking about. And all because you didn’t keep tabs on your existing content.
There is so much focus online on creating new content, many website owners forget that maintaining the accuracy and relevance of their old content is just as important. After all, how many websites have you visited this week with broken links, information that is old, or material that is just plain wrong? Will you ever revisit those sites? If your site is in a similar position, you could be losing valuable traffic and return visitors.
What you need is a process to track and maintain all your content. And the more material you add to your website – especially if you have a blog – the more important it is that you keep your eye on all your old content. And don’t think it cannot be done. The BBC, for instance, can find in a couple of clicks any piece of audio or video in its vast collections – they have systems in process to keep tabs on decades of recordings. True, they have a big department, specialist software and a massive team of people – but it emphasises the importance of proper systems. Without the processes that the BBC uses, they would be held in much less regard and would not compete as well as they do.
Knowing the ins-and-outs of all your content, tracking it and adapting it as things change is essential if your website is to be viewed as current and valuable. In other words not doing this could harm your reputation.
To start the process you need to complete a “web content audit” – a thorough and in-depth analysis of everything on your website. Once you have that in place you can then begin to make decisions about what to change if necessary. But without establishing this “baseline” for your website you are somewhat fumbling in the dark.
Keeping tabs on your web content will help ensure your website remains relevant and that your reputation is sound; rather like a king who has recovered from their episode of madness…!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+