Maintaining Web Content: The Real Work Begins

Content maintenance is like gardening: it’s dirty work, but the results can be beautiful.

When it comes to web content, life begins after launch. Prelaunch is where all the excitement is: the ideas, the writing, the approvals. But once the content is launched and available to the world, are you ready for what comes next?

Web content lives forever (or until you take it down). Every reader that views your site comes with the attitude that the information is fresh and accurate. Unfortunately, web content can get stale quickly, so you have to plan for how you will maintain it.

Maintenance plans should be part of the original creation process. You shouldn’t create content that can’t be maintained, unless your plan is to retire the content as soon as it becomes out of date.

A content maintenance plan should include a review schedule. The more frequently the content is expected to change, the more often it needs to be reviewed. If you have quick turnover on your staff, you should have bios reviewed monthly. On the other hand, evergreen information such as the company history may only need to be reviewed yearly.

Identify content owners — people responsible for keeping the information accurate — when you create a page. This will prevent headaches later when review times come. And make sure the content owners know their responsibilities.

Let’s be realistic: content maintenance isn’t exciting. But it is an absolutely necessary part of your content strategy. And without it, your site will become irrelevant quickly. A little planning can go a long way for your site and visitors.

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