There are a lot of ways to update your website by adding elements – calls to action, resources, new blog posts. Often overlooked, and sometimes more important, is updating your website is by removing elements. We add new content hoping to be more appealing or clear when sometimes clarity is revealed by taking away.
One of the easiest ways to start is by removing outdated content. This could be information about a past event, course or other offering, such as a mastermind group. It could be blog posts, case studies and portfolio items, or the services you offer.
Easy, you say? But I produce a lot of content! Where do I start?!
I get it! That feeling of overwhelm creeping up at the thought of reviewing all that content, then making changes and decisions alongside your regular work. But before you abandon ship, here are some ways to think about reviewing your content that might make it feel less daunting.
- If you have multiple types of content, list them out then choose a category/content type
- Go through the oldest posts first: the oldest year and then month to month.
- Choose posts about events or workshops that are outdated or no longer offered.
- Content you know is irrelevant or outdated.
You don’t have to do everything at once. Sure, you could do a 12 hour marathon content review but, frankly, that sounds terrible. In fact, it’s better to make changes over time. Some changes will be subtle and your customers might not notice. From the perspective of search engines though, your website will stay fresh, and will be considered more relevant than a site that isn’t updated as regularly.
Let’s get started.
Events, Courses, Workshops, Masterminds
This type of content is almost always time-sensitive. Blog posts aren’t really the best format for these whether as the whole post or a call-to-action at the end. This content would be best served in a content box of “upcoming events” that can be easily updated or even better, is built to be dynamic: it updates itself. In this way, you spare yourself having to go through old content, looking for outdated event posts.
If you’re planning to host the particular offer again, set up an opt-in form for people to sign up to receive information about next year. Already know the date? Add it to the page!
If you’re not planning to run the event or course again, make sure any references around your site are removed (including your Instagram links page!). You could delete or unpublish the page but should someone visit the page from an old email, they will get a “page not found” error. It’s best to forward the URL to other pages such as a current offer, a thank you page to all those have participated in the past or even the home page.
Outdated Blog Posts
In some cases, you might be able to get away with just deleting them. If the posts get no traffic or you really just want them to go away, it’s an option. This isn’t the best option for everything though and of course, that’s because of SEO perspective.
- Redirect the post to a more current, relevant post. This avoids 404 errors and lost SEO status on your site. In WordPress, if you use the Yoast SEO Premium Plugin, there is an option in the post to do that for you. You can also set this up using plugins that are specifically for redirection such as 301 Redirects – Easy Redirect Manager. This is great for posts that are about workshops, for example. You can forward that post to either a page that lists current workshops you offer, or a page to hire you to host a workshop.
- If the main subject is still relevant, update the old post with the new information and note at the top of the post that it was updated along with the date. For my own field, blog posts about SEO from even 3 years ago, would not be relevant today but are good candidates for updating since the topic is still relevant it’s just, I’m sure, Google decided to change something.
You might think we aren’t removing anything with these options but in fact, we are! We have ensured the outdated information cannot be found while making you look like a search engine rockstar!
Services, Portfolios and Case Studies
I recently removed a website I created for an author. I confess there were still things about the site I loved but it was outdated and clunky compared to the work I do now. It was also clear that the site was not being updated. Alas, I “unpublished” the work from my site.
With portfolios or case studies, consider these questions:
- Does the work still represent you?
- Is it work you’d still like to get hired for?
- Does it use or highlight current industry best practices?
- Is the client still in business?
- Is it in a niche you work with regularly?
For my example above, it was built on WordPress but I know it was an older version and, stylistically, a lot has changed since I built it so that website wasn’t adding to my portfolio anymore.
While I couldn’t find anything specific on redirecting portfolio items, I would consider at least redirecting the outdated work to your main portfolio page to avoid a 404 error.
A Special Note About Services and Work
These two elements are more about your business and what you choose to offer. They will/may require you to get a little introspective if you haven’t thought about it already. If you work for yourself, you don’t have to do something because other people are doing it or if it’s not what you want to do anymore. Please finish current commitments regardless of alignment. You can give it your best knowing that this will be the last hurrah in that current service and you can be proud of yourself for honoring your commitment.
Last but not least – Your Website Menu
After you’ve removed any pages or posts from your website, be sure to go through your menu and remove anything that shouldn’t be there. For most content management systems, like WordPress, the menu will automatically update if you delete a page. It is still good practice to make sure the page is gone. Don’t forget about any footer or sidebar menus, too!
There is a lot to be gained by removing things from your website. It reduces clutter, brings focus and clarity to what you have to offer your clients. It is as much about you as it is your website. Work that no longer represents you or services you no longer wish to offer will continue to haunt you so long as they exist where they can be found.