When is a website past its expiration date? Part 1: Outdated Content
Everybody knows you shouldn't keep outdated content on your website. Yet, websites are full of debris such as announcements for events that took place a month ago, discontinued products, and even the company's old address. Needless to say, this is a blemish on the company's image that makes potential customers doubt the company's ability to stay current and deliver. Why is this problem plaguing businesses of all sizes and industries despite their best intentions to keep their site current? And is there an easy fix?
The answer to getting rid of outdated content is organization. The tasks of updating the website need to be clearly delegated. Who is responsible for supplying the information? Who is responsible for updating the site? Who is responsible for checking the site? The responsibility may fall on one person or be shared among several employees or even departments. Whatever the case, the key to successfully managing the updates is to have the responsibilities clearly defined, and preferably in writing.
Having a flowchart along with a site map helps keep track of the various updates needed and who is in charge of what. It's invaluable when someone quits or changes job responsibilities. It's also a great tool for training new employees.
Using calendar software with reminders is another great way to make sure the website is updated on time.
For best results, though, strive to automate the website updates. Whenever possible, feed the web content directly from a database. This works especially well for features such as product and event listings. Some companies balk at the programming expenses but the investment is well worth it.
Next week my post will focus on another challenge -- keeping the look and feel of a website current.
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