As many of us turn to spring cleaning, maybe you’re thinking about all those resources that you’ve taken off the public side of your site, but are still hanging around your admin side. Or those profiles for organizations that have merged or closed or go by another name. This gives rise to the age-old question (or at least a 12 month old question)- delete or archive?
Some folks archive everything so as not to lose any content. Pro: If you need to repost the content, it is still there. Con: At some point, you will be searching through a lot of archived materials to find the content you want.
Others like to delete- keeping their materials limited to what is actively used on the site. Pro: you will spend less time searching for the relevant information. Con: You may have to recreate some content if it becomes relevant in the future.
The rule of thumb that we suggest is to ask yourself if you are going to use the content again? Is this an organization that may be only temporarily closed, or a clinic that is suspended for the summer? Is this a resource that an organization wants taken down just until they can review it and then put it back up? Or has the law changed and now the resource is no longer relevant?
If the answer is “this information will be relevant in the future-” archive it!
If the answer is “this is now irrelevant content-” delete delete delete.
For many pieces of content, however, the answer won’t be clear. This is where your own judgement and best practices come into play.
It comes down to: where you want to spend your time?
If you don’t mind searching through lots of content to find what you’re looking for, archiving is the name of the game. If you’d rather spend less time searching, but risk having to recreate content in the future, you may be a deletion guru. Either way, having a written policy or best practices about what to archive and what the delete will help you, your partners, and admins in future years.