Have you considered what happens after your website content dies?

If you scout the internet today you will quickly find outdated content dating 10-15 years back. A lot of the content you will find is outdated and not useful to anyone anymore and therefore doesn’t serve a purpose besides taking up space on a hard drive somewhere in a data center. Is it maybe time to consider what should happen to this content and maybe your own content once it gets outdated? 

Why outdated content should be removed from the internet.

Outdated content comes as texts, videos, images, etc, and it is all taking up space on the hard drives we run our websites from. All of this space could potentially be used for new materials instead of storing all the old and unwanted material that no one even sees any longer.

Storing old and outdated material will build up your total amount of data and in the long run force you to upgrade your storage to a bigger subscription. A bigger subscription requires a bigger amount of storage taken out of the total capacity that your host or data center has available, and all for outdated content that no one will ever see…

If you look at it from another angle, it will also require your server and database to work even harder when they have to look through possibly thousands of records to find the exact one that you want to look at. Had it instead been the relevant content of maybe two hundred records, it would have been faster and required less energy to achieve.

How to make your own plan.

Making your own plan can be tricky and requires you to know the field your content is in. As an example, if you have a website with news then the lifespan of your content might be short and therefore you should plan your content to be outdated relatively shortly after it has been published. If you instead are a website like Wikipedia then your content should stay till the end of time. As you can see, dating the dead of your content can be hard.

1: Analyze your content.

The first step you should take towards making a plan for your content is to analyze the market you are publishing content to. Ask yourself: Will my content be relevant 6 months from now, 12 months from now, or maybe 24 months from now. The answer might be hard to find, but by looking at some of your competitors you might find it.

2: What do you feel comfortable with?

After you have figured out when your content becomes outdated you might want to start thinking about when you feel comfortable about taking content off the web. One thing is when your content actually becomes outdated, but another is when you feel ready to let go of it. All quality content requires hard work, and taking some of it down might feel like you are losing or wasting hard work, and that’s not how it is supposed to be like. So ask yourself when you might feel comfortable taking certain content down. 

3: Execute your plan either manually or automatically.

Now that you have analyzed your niche and made peace with taking down content, you might want to figure out whether the process should happen manually or automatically. A manual take-down might be harder and require more work while an automatic take-down of content is a bit like ripping off a bandaid. 

The automatic process allows your content to be taken down without you being present and that might actually be a good thing. Often when managing businesses or creating content we don’t have time to take care of things like these. 

Wrapping up

Analyzing when your content dies is hard, and taking it down might be even harder. But for us to create a sustainable internet, we need to be able to remove redundant data so that only relevant data is left. The internet is growing every second and one day we might be overrun with useless data unless we start sorting the garbage from the gold. 

We hope that you now have an idea of why removing outdated from the internet is important and how you should do it. Please share your perspective with us in the comment section below and please share the article with your friends, family, and colleagues. Only together can we make the internet more sustainable.

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Michael Andersen
Michael Andersen

Michael Andersen is the author of Sustainable Web Design In 20 Lessons and the co-founder of Sustainable WWW (World-wide-web), an organization teaching sustainable practices. With a passion for web design and the environment, Michael solves puzzles to make the internet more sustainable.

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