Web content development is more than just the creation of material used on a site. It is thoughtful planning about how to get the greatest benefit out of that content.
Content is an item on a Web site that doesn’t necessarily have to be sold, thrown out or returned for some reason to a manufacturer.
An item in a store must eventually go. It has to be sold because it occupies valuable space. If it doesn’t sell, the store naturally puts the item on sale and often keeps lowering the price until it is sold.
Good retailers usually make sure they have the right items within their inventory and have a decent track record of selling them, even though they don’t always get the price they want.
Web site content can sit there for a long time, even years, collecting page views and costing virtually nothing to occupy space on a server.
Web Archives = Long-Term Value
Event better, if the site has advertising on it, that content will continue to generate ad inventory and revenue.
Experienced Web managers know that accumulated content has value, and sometimes that content can be years old and still deliver, even though the traffic is small.
This evergreen content often has nearly permanent value. Even if some of the information gets stale, the writer or editor can update it in less time than it takes to write an entirely new article. If the article isn’t stale, that writer and editor also can add to it, which increases the value for readership and advertising.
It doesn’t matter that the article got only 10 page views last month. What matters is that those 100,000 articles collected during a five-year period each averaged 10 page views last month, which totalled 1 million page views, or three ad units per page, or a total of 3 million ad impressions at X cost per thousand impressions.
A few simple steps can make a difference.
- Review site architecture periodically.
- Randomly test articles to see if they are still reachable via that architecture.
- Test the availability of old content in search engines.
- During a review, it is inevitable that certain articles will show SEO flaws. Some flaws take only moments to fix.
- Identify top-performing articles beyond a certain age, and take a little time to optimize and organize.
A regular content audit — for example, scheduled once a month — can produce benefits that pay for the time that goes into the effort.
Beware the New CMS
7 Steps in Content Development
- Conceptualizing — the core idea
- Writing — the article creation
- Editing — revising the article for users
- Optimizing — revising for search engines
- Publishing — posting of the item
- Tracking — analyzing results
- Re-optimizing — fine tuning the article
For these reasons, it is unwise to delete an old article because it doesn’t receive enough impressions. But the danger doesn’t stop there.
Site publishers often make a terrible mistake by moving a site to a new navigational architecture or content management system and wiping out five years of accumulated content and URL paths.
The URL paths that search engines have indexed are now gone. The search engines will respond when people click into those vanished pages by removing the paths from their indexes.
As a result, the site unique visitors, visits, page views, ad inventory and even revenue will take a hit.
So any good content development plan should establish an architecture that structures and effectively archives old content.
Any good technology plan for moving a site to a new CMS should include a plan for keeping the old content and URL paths. Age has its benefits, even with content.