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Spring Cleaning: The Virtual Version

Time to get out the old virtual feather duster and digital mop! With exams and finals vanquished for yet another term, it’s a great time to review your website, clean up old posts, and start the summer with refreshed content.

Out With the Old

Web Services conducted our own spring cleaning last month and found about 300 posts that were no longer relevant. Of course, we didn’t mercilessly trash all 300 of these posts… just most of them. Some, however, went into the recycling!

Content from ten years is most likely outdated, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value – don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! We made a spreadsheet of content to rewrite which linked to the old posts and organized them by category. When you have a dozen posts about finding images for your website (all with varying degrees of repetition and outdated-ness), it’s a simple task to collect them into a few concise, updated posts. That’s exactly what we did: ten posts from 2009 – 2019 became three:

Not only did this let us delete old posts without losing valuable content, but we were also able to repurpose a lot of this content into a new, updated, and enriched version.

Stuck on what to write next? Rewrite your old posts!

In With the New

Spring cleaning isn’t just about getting rid of things, it’s also an opportunity to organize what you’re keeping. This goes for both the front end of your site and the back end. Just because visitors can’t see it doesn’t mean that it’s okay to leave it a mess (I’m looking at you, junk drawer!)

The Front End

A menu, unlike fine wine or cheese, does not always age gracefully. As sites evolve, menus can grow unwieldy. You can give your menu a complete makeover with this article on reviewing your navigation.

Consider, too, which pages your visitors will want to access in the upcoming summer and fall terms. Your page on getting to campus in a snowstorm won’t be relevant for another couple months (hopefully).

If you’re feeling extra motivated, we also have an entire Website Review course to help you refresh your content. These five modules dive deeper into site organization and navigation, analytics, and reviewing your content. Check it out with the button below:

You can also take this spring cleaning as an opportunity to review your website’s accessibility. We have a checklist of things to look out for when reviewing with accessibility in mind. Start with key pages, like the ones on your menu, and work your way through the rest of your site: your spring cleaning doesn’t have to happen all in one day!

Finally, you’ll also want to keep an eye out for out-of-date or no-longer-relevant content like old dates, retired staff, or not-so-current events.

The Back End

Person looking at their computer in distress, holding their head
Experiencing symptoms of an unorganized website?

If the back end of your site looks more like a pile of content than a filing cabinet, we’re here to help you categorize and tag your way to an organized site.

The first step we took in ridding our site of 300 posts was to tag them all. That might seem like a daunting task, but it was actually pretty straightforward, especially if you split up the work between multiple people. These were the steps we followed:

  1. Create tags that are relevant to your content (for example, some of ours were Google Analytics, accessibility, and images). Also create “delete” and “recycle” tags.
  2. Sort each post into one of your tags. You can also create new tags as you go.
    1. As you do this, delete blank or test posts
  3. Once you’ve done this, review the “delete” tag and trash posts you are certain are no longer needed. Plan new content using the posts in the “recycle” tag.
  4. Look for repeat posts within your categories, and either delete one of them or (if they’re slightly different) merge them together into a new post.

With this complete, you should have:

That sounds a lot better than a content pile where good content requires an archeological excavation to locate.

Seriously, Clean Your Site

As the weather gets warmer and the flowers begin to bloom, you might be tempted to put off things like digital spring cleaning in favour of simply enjoying the season. So why should you take hours out of your usual workday to polish up your website?

The simple answer is that this will actually save you time in the long run:

And if that isn’t enough to persuade you to dust off your site and freshen it up, we will also be giving preference to sites that are fully reviewed when beginning migrations to CuTheme!