Don’t delete old content.

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Something OldA fellow WordPress designer/developer recently asked (in one of my LinkedIn WordPress groups) how to automatically remove “old” blog posts. Her client wants certain blog posts to run for specific lengths of time and doesn’t want to have to keep track and remove them manually.


My fist reaction was Why?

Why would a content publisher throw away the marketing and SEO value of posts just because they’re old?

I couldn’t (and can’t) understand it. (It turns out I’m not alone. David Meerman Scott chimed in on the same topic in his blog a few days later. His article, entitled Do not delete your content because it should live forever, does a great job making the case for keeping content around.)

But I kept my mouth shut. For a while.

After three group members offered a variety of solutions, most of which involved plugins, I spoke up.

Why? I asked. What kinds of content does your client want to throw away?

The original poster responded. It turns out the client is a radio station that blogs about upcoming concerts. They want these posts to drop off the site once the concert is over.

Still, Why?

There’s the answer. But I’m still left wondering Why?

I still don’t get it. The deleted old posts will soon be removed from search engines. When that happens, the radio station’s search engine mojo will take an unnecessary hit. Until then, people finding links to those deleted posts in search engines and clicking on them will be greeted with lovely “Not Found 404” pages. The same goes for anyone who might have bookmarked/favorited one of those deleted posts.

It’s not just about SEO and 404 pages.

But let’s put SEO and 404 pages aside for a moment.

Surely it’s not crazy to imagine someone surfing the radio station’s Web site and thinking (upon reading old posts about past concerts), Hey, look at all the cool concerts this radio station has sponsored in the past! I should subscribe to their mailing list! I should listen to their Internet radio station!

Old things can still have value. So don’t delete old content. Old content is your friend.

I’m just saying.

What do you think? Please join the conversation below.

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The nSiteful Tech Blog (the official blog of nSiteful Web Builders, Inc. since January of 2013) is where I (Jeff Cohan) and (occasionally) associates will be posting articles of potential interest to like-minded techies, nSiteful clients who are playing active roles in the maintenance of their own Web sites and blogs, and pretty much anyone interested in how Web strategies and tools can help them reach their goals.

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About Jeff Cohan

Jeff and his wife, Margie, are the proud parents of Sarah and Jake. Jeff is the founder, president and chief cook and bottle washer of nSiteful Web Builders, Inc., a Web development and Internet Consulting firm. In his spare time, Jeff builds Web sites and Web applications, plays guitar, putters around in his basement woodworking shop, mercilessly spoils his grandchildren, and creates videos from more than two decades of home movies. His current video project is an extended montage of people (mainly family members) asking him to stop filming them.

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