A Housekeeping Note on Website Housekeeping!

Aug 9, 2011   //   by admin   //   Web Support  //  No Comments

Greetings, team!

First and foremost, a big thank you to each of you who have been regularly or even semi-regularly accessing the website and providing content out there for the congregation–and the world–to see and interact with. This is the ONLY thing that will make the difference between our website being a relevant, interactive, and faith-building tool to the congregation and being just a list of static information that web surfers might stumble upon while looking for something else.

Second, I have a request! I have noticed that, for those of you who have been publishing regularly, there has been a desire to ‘trash’ older posts as time passes and the event moves further into the past. I would urge you not to do this for the following reasons:

  1. Posts in each category are displayed in reverse chronological order–perhaps just like your emails are. People understand that things at the top of the list are current and that things further down the list may apply to past events. We should not view the information we post on the website the same way that we see information placed on the ligthed marquee out in front of the building; unlike the sign, all posts on the website are stamped with a date and time that is clearly visible on each post’s header; e.g. it’s a reasonable assumption that no one will show up next Monday for VBS at 6:30 because we clearly listed the dates and times and took down the big frontpage spread concerning it.
  2. Past posts still provide useful information! For example, if I was curious as to how many kids attended our last VBS, I could still look up the info on some of Jess’ old posts. If she were to trash her post just because the date had passed, then that information would no longer be available to find.
  3. Removing posts also deletes comments that others had posted on it. This means that if there was a dicussion or conversation occuring in the comments that it would just disappear without anyone able to add anything to it.
  4. Removing older posts ecreases our searchable content to search engines and the outside world, giving web surfers fewer opportunities to find and browse our website.
  5. It is important to remember that search engines (google, yahoo, etc) do not have ‘live’ databases of every webpage in the world. They instead have constantly-running programs that basically go out and index everything they can find as fast as they can find them. This means that if you write a post today, Google finds it tomorrow, and you trash the post next week, Google will still show your page in its search results to websurfers. This means that those who would click on these links would get those annoying “Error 404: page cannot be displayed” errors. (Our analytics engine shows that this has already happened several times). I don’t know about you, but when a website I visit has multiple “page cannot be displayed” errors, I quickly go somewhere else.

Now, that being said, if you have posted something inaccurately or even inappropriately, then the delete button is your friend. I would advise, however, that in most cases if a post has been up for more than a day or so that, instead of deleting it outright, that you update it with new information even if you remove the old. Example: If you post that event XYZ is on September 1 and the event is later cancelled, it may (in most) situations be advisable to update the post that XYZ for September 1 has been cancelled (or postponed or whatever) rather than just delete it. Deleting it outright may make readers simply wonder where the post went and not assume that a post that they cannot locate = a cancelled event.

The plus side is that trashed posts can be restored up to thirty days after being trashed. So you can change your mind and put it back easily! If you have any question as to the value of leaving a specific post up or not, please feel free to ask me!

Finally, just a heads-up not to feel personally attacked if (read: when) I make spelling/grammar edits to content that you post. I will always touch it as little as possible; but because we are publishing to the world here, we need not to hold back any resources at our disposal to make our words as presentable as possible! However, on the flip side of this, if I make a change that you feel was inappropriate or that changed the meaning or intent of your content, then, by all means, let me know and I shall change it back straight away!

Thanks for your time and feel free to let me know your thoughts below if anyone has any additional thoughts. Thanks again!


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