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.[Wedge]
A depressing start to the day as I work out the score for my own blog, but your points are valid and I suppose I must either give up or get blogging.
I do love my blog, and my website, and you’d think it would be oh so easy to keep it all up-to-date and lovely. It should be, and I’ve no valid excuse for my failure to do so. I think I just leave it for so long that it becomes something to be afraid of and I just want to cry thinking about it, so I avoid thinking about it, and more time passes by.
Maybe this article will give me the push I need…
Very amusing, but spot on Wedge. I’ve become incredibly snooty about blogs that aren’t updated frequently and junk any from my newsreader that haven’t updated in a week each Monday. It’s surprising how many go.
Hmm. Scrape a 5 this week. My blog is really a description of what I see and find interesting though – not so much aimed at an audience. [Am I allowed to admit I’m unsure why people do follow me?]
I need to follow some more of Chris Brogan’s advice and start jotting down more blog post titles.
Excellent article, and I love the quiz, which made it easy for me to measure my blog’s value. I’ve never seen a similar quiz, either. Thanks for yet another though-provoking post!
Thanks for this score-system, it really encourages me to go on with what I started (seen that I get to a 5 too).
I would add a note at the end: if you have come to the decision to delete your blog (for whatever reason) don’t do it at once. If you work with wordpress (don’t know about other systems) you can still set it to private for a while instead of deleting it. I didn’t know that when I had my first blog so I deleted it too fast and now I regret it…
Thank *.deity that I’m Chris Brogan. That gave me an extra 3 points. : )
Fun post, and an interesting topic, Wedge.
Really great to see you all here, thanks ever so for stopping by and commenting.
When you’ve neglected your blog for a few weeks, there can be a build up of fear – we can literally ‘lock up’ and the worry about what we’re saying and why we’re saying it can be immense. Just getting started can seem like a monumental task.
My advice to to write a 200 word post. Just two hundred words. Just get it done and to hell with the quality. You can write a *better* post tomorrow, but for today, just frelling publish and be damned!
Tomorrow’s article will then be easier to write as you’ll have broken through the fear and assuaged the guilt.
I read your blog Jules; well done for getting back in to it. Would love to see more themed photos.
You’re right Jon; I’ve been overly generous with my ‘3 week’ limit. Blogs that don’t get updated at least once a week quickly lose value and impact.
Writing for yourself is a great way to ‘find your voice’ Steve (not that you need to). We don’t *have* to consider the audience, but I will half the time!
Hi Charlene; well, my little quiz wasn’t very scientific (I may improve it one day) but it’s just there to get us thinking. We can do better yes? We can offer more quality at a more frequent rate; well most of us can. Chris B is probably at his limit already :)
Taking content offline is a good idea Annette, rather than deleting it permanently. We should always keep a ‘portfolio’ of our work – it may well inspire us in the future.
Thanks for swinging round Chris.
I think I made a deliberate mistake making the ‘unique visitors’ scores a ‘100’ or a ‘1000’ – I think anyone should be thrilled with 200 readers a day, and 1000 isn’t reachable by every blog.
Thanks again guys – what do you think of today’s article? (Criticism and praise)