Many years ago, when I was getting my MBA, the professor of accounting loudly proclaimed to our class, “Beware of the information you receive from your balance sheet! Are your assets really assets?” His point was that just because we own an item, like website content, perhaps, doesn’t always mean it is an asset. Is the item still useful to us? Does it still serve the purpose the balance sheet assumes? Can we sell it? If the answers to these questions are no, it isn’t really an asset.
It will probably strike you as very odd when I tell you that this anecdote on spring cleaning website content came to mind for me as I cleaned my refrigerator for Passover earlier this month. As a moderately observant Jew, my family does a thorough kitchen cleaning in advance of Passover every year. When I first opened my fridge, it was packed to the gills. In other words, my balance sheet was full.
But then I started to clean. I threw away the leftover potatoes I made three weeks prior and the remnants of a block of Gouda that was served so long ago that I don’t remember the origin (but now had the consistency of a hockey puck). When I was done, the refrigerator had lost about half its original contents. So, those items? Not assets.
How Your Website Content Is Like My Refrigerator
Now is where I get really crazy and tell you that your website is probably a lot like my refrigerator. It might be packed to the gills with content, but is all that content still an asset?
I can tell you in the case of Spring Insight’s website content, no. We recently conducted a content audit on the Spring Insight blog to determine the value of all our historic blog content.
Here is the thing, we have been adding to our blog since we launched a website in 2011. That is over a decade’s worth of content! What is the 2022 value of my analysis of the websites of the 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates? What about the blog where I explain the client acquisition process using a clip from Sex and the City?
The answer is that there isn’t much value.
So, what are we doing about our web content?
Well, we went through all of our website content and assigned them to one of these categories:
- Website content that is still fully relevant. Just like it sounds, the blogs in this category are still useful and relevant. We can update slightly (provide better on-page SEO, update links, etc.) and keep.
- Content with relevant topics but partially out-of-date content. In this case, the blog still has information and concepts that resonate, but there is information that is out of date. For this to be usable, we need to rewrite the post heavily.
- Content no longer of value. This category includes blogs such as those referenced above; however, these blogs don’t convey information that is relevant to current readers. Thus, these have no value.
- Nostalgic or personal blogs. Blogs in this category served less to inform readers of the current state of the industry and more to give an update about the state of Spring Insight as an organization or Erika as a business owner.
Every company is different in how they might approach this exercise. We are not done, but here is our plan:
Step 1 – Grin as I review the nostalgic or personal blogs and think about how far I have come. As a business owner, you might decide to choose otherwise, but for us, we’re leaving those alone since they aren’t hurting anyone and can be considered “milestone posts.”
Step 2 – Get rid of website content that is no longer of value.
Step 3 – Prioritize blogs in the first two categories (ones that need a little or a lot of updating). (Yikes, there are a lot of these!) As we are able, we will take on the work of updating the website content, refreshing the on-page SEO, providing new examples, and generally making these items useful for readers in 2022.
Is Spring Cleaning Your Web Content Worth It?
I feel like I can almost feel you wondering right now, “Why go through all this trouble? Why not just leave my old website content alone?” It is a fair question. Two reasons:
Assets Vs. Liabilities
First, if you have blogs that no longer provide value, not only are they not assets, but they could be liabilities. Simply put, I have written on this blog prolifically since 2011, and I am pretty certain that over those years, I have written content that no longer fits my worldview.
You Give Future You A Leg Up
Second, is that all this work is so worthwhile when you realize the treasure trove of content that you have found for your future self. That web content that you wrote previously? With a bit of polish, some new examples, and a bit of updating… viola… new blog!
So, who is ready to find the blog equivalent of hardened gouda in your website content? Not appealing? What if you had a crack content team to help? Let’s set up a time to discuss blogging, content creation, and turning old website content into new gold.