For 8 days, Jews everywhere celebrate the holiday of Chanukah, or Hannukah; known as the Festival of Lights. The main commandment of the holiday is to publicize the miracle of Chanukah: a small flask of pure oil was found in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, and instead of lasting just 1 day, it lasted eight days.
The other miracle Jews celebrate is that a small band of Jewish rebels was able to win a war against the Greeks and retake their homeland. Now all of this happened a long, long, time ago (2cnd century BCE, to be exact), but we kindle the lights in front of a window so that passersby can see the beautiful lights of the menorah and comment on the wondrous miracles of the oil and the war.
The problem is: most people don’t really know the story of Chanukah. And so the symbol of the menorah has become one associated with Jewish faith, but not necessarily of the miracles that happened so long ago.
Where am I going with this? I think this is a really good metaphor for web content that’s hanging out on your website, doing a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y nothing. The connections are no longer there– just like with the menorah and the publicizing of the miracle. Traditional marketing campaigns used to have a beginning, middle and end. No longer. They just keep going and going. And web content tends to stay up there and stick, even when the connections good content was supposed to make for users are long gone.
Since I’m a big believer in practical solutions, I will offer two:
- Assign ownership in your organization to someone responsible, who will review content at least once a quarter, and decide if it can be sent to digital heaven. You can pick several someones who will divide the content between them.
- Give websites a lifespan: 1 year, 6 months, 3 years. Whatever it is, at the end of the cycle, take it down. Just like you can’t spend money on commercials advertising one seasonal product forever, so too, web content becomes outdated and insignificant. And trust me, people can still find it. So take it down.