Keeping a lid on ever-growing web content

Duncan Stephen
Wednesday 26 June 2013

Anyone can add. It takes a professional to take away

It is tempting to think that adding content to a website is harmless. After all, the marginal cost of adding another webpage is almost zero. Except that the more content the website contains, the more difficult it becomes for the user to find what they are actually looking for. If the user is looking for a needle, we are adding hay to the haystack.

Every piece of content you add makes it that bit harder to navigate your website. It makes your website harder to search. There are more pages to review. Every sentence you add can take away from the ability to focus on a much more important sentence. These are just some of the hidden costs of addition.

Controlling the website animal

Paul Boag takes another look at the problem of uncontrollably-growing websites, and interesting tips on how to prevent this. It’s time to seriously consider cutting down on the amount of content to make things easier for the user.

This article suggests three policies you might consider to make sure that the website ruthlessly meets the user’s needs:

  1. The least-clicked link on the homepage will be replaced.
  2. Pages that do not have a certain number of page views and dwell time will be unpublished until rewritten.
  3. Any webpage that has not been updated in the last six months will be unpublished until the content is reviewed.

These rules might be too draconian, but it is interesting to think about these while looking at content strategy. And it will be useful to think about these rules whenever we think about our content on the web.

Jargon still a plague on devolved council websites

Another reminder of the dangers of using jargon on websites. Using terminology that is familiar to us is such an easy trap to fall into, but we must always strive to put ourselves in the user’s shoes.

UK local authority websites are plagued by jargon and poorly written content, preview findings from this year’s annual UK website survey by the Society of IT Management (Socitm) have shown. This makes them hard to use; loses councils money; and calls into question the common practice of devolving the writing of web content down into service departments, according to the survey’s director.

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