How long has it been since you wrote an article, or at least shuffled round some items on your website’s home page to make it look like you’re active?
I recently retired a few of my projects and their associated websites because I never found the time to dedicate to them that they deserved. It hurt to delete them; part of me wanted to resurrect them and relaunch them and go go go!
But realistically I can’t perform any more work than I’m currently managing, so I had to ask myself ‘will I, in reality, make a success of this project’ and the answer was ‘no’. Not if I’m to focus my energies on kilobox communiqué anyway.
Deleting things from the web is evil. Web addresses (the best ones) are supposed to be permanent. Other websites link to you, and it’s very frustrating for surfers to click a link and be shown a blank page or a 404.
We all know link rot exists, and we all need to check our ‘links pages’ are still valid and valuable. Mine are down the right-hand side, over there in the far bar. I must be vigilant and certain that they all work.
So deleting things off the Internet is evil; part of me wanted to ‘archive’ my projects and websites and put a notice up saying ‘back soon’. But in my heart I knew ‘soon’ would never come.
Valuable material should be left online so that all those incoming links work. But what if you haven’t got anything valuable? What if your projects, blogs, websites and product pages were all a bit of a pipedream?
Technorati and Google Blog Search aptly demonstrate that a decarillion blogs are started each nano-second. Most of them use the ‘default template’ and say “Hi, welcome to my first blog post, I’m going to…” and yet we know (apparently) that only seventy-two million blogs are actually kept up to date. One decarillion minus seventy-two million equals a helluva lot of abandoned blogs. Same goes for websites.
When to delete, when to leave up
If Naomi gave up and left the web, I wouldn’t want her to delete her blog. I’d expect such valuable content to have a life-span even without her presence. But how long a life-span? And what if your content isn’t quite as ‘valuable’ as Naomi’s?
Well, value is in the eye of the beholder. If you have a niche website then even if you no longer publish to it, your ageing content may well be incredibly valuable to others. I myself have a little ant website, and as there is so very very little online about the Thai species of ant that I keep, I’m happy for my website to remain online forever. Just search for ‘Crematogaster rogenhoferi‘ and tell me if there’s any content of value out there.
But I deleted my book binding website. I’m not going to provide ‘bespoke book making’ for anyone in the foreseeable future, and the content was not unique. There are plenty of book binders out there on the World Wide Web and no one will mourn the loss of my little offering.
OK, OK, so when should you delete your blog?
Here’s a master plan
How many articles have you got published?
- A few
- Loads of YouTube cat vids
How long has it been since you posted anything?
- 3 weeks or less
- I’d say a month, but it’s actually six and a half weeks
- Dunno, six months?
- A year
How many (unique) visitors do you get each day?
- Less than 100
- Nearly 1000
- I am Chris Brogan
- I own the Register
- I don’t know how to track stats. What does ‘unique’ mean?
|a = 0 points
b = 1 point
c = 3 points
d = 0 points
|i = 3 points
ii = 1 points
iii = 0 points
iv = -3 points
|A = 1 point
B = 2 points
C = 3 points
D = Get advertising on your site now,
or sell It immediately and buy a house in Dubai.
E = 0 points
Add up your points. Here’s mine:
b + i + A = 1 + 3 + 1 = a good solid 5!
If you find that your score is 3 or higher you should seriously consider saving your blog / website. Basically, you should write an article now, this very minute (and don’t write a ‘sorry I’ve been busy‘ post).
If your score is less than three then you need to decide if there’s anything worth salvaging – anything that future generations of Internet archaeologists would find of value.
Got a minus number? Delete your blog; it’s wasting valuable search engine spiders. I need those spiders to crawl and index my site, so get off the information superhighway and get back to suburbia.
I realise there are tools out there that can assess the financial worth of a blog, and I ask that you share them with us! But I’m saying that the frequency of your updates and the number of articles you have published demonstrates how much you love your blog and your audience – and this love might be an important indicator of whether your website / blog is a ‘go’ or whether you should retire it.