Make a clean sweep! How to archive old, outdated content

Old, outdated web content can have an negative impact on your site's SEO, create unnecessary maintenance work for your team and confuse your visitors.
Image by Photo by Brooks Rice on Unsplash..

Why it's important to remove old content

  • Search engines may rank an old page with outdated content above a newer page with current content.
  • Some work may be required to keep outdated content aligned with evolving standards and best practices.
  • Though you may have reasons to keep an archive - e.g. as a record of past events - your visitors won't necessarily understand the details aren't current.

How to archive old content

WMS revisions

Every time you edit and save your webpages, the WMS  automatically generates an archived version of your old content called a revision. You can view and restore revisions by logging into your site, accessing a webpage, and clicking the moderate tab. This will allow you to view or revert to (i.e. republish) any revision of your webpage since your page was created.

This means there's no need to worry about what could happen if you need information that's been deleted from a page. You'll always have the option to view and share past revisions. You can even republish old content if necessary.

...but what if an entire webpage, or even a complete website, needs to be deleted?

How to make a back-up copy of a web page or website

There are many options that can be used to create archived versions of webpages and websites that you can store in your local files.

  • Saving an offline version of a webpage - The simplest way to create a local copy of a webpage is to go to the File menu in your browser and select the Save page as option. Storing archived versions of pages in department folders will ensure they're accessible to everyone on your team.
  • The Way Back Machine - The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is a non-profit, online library of websites and other digital artifacts. To archive a webpage, go to the Wayback Machine, and enter the URL into the Save Page Now field click the Save page button. The Wayback Machine occasionally archives webpages without being prompted. If you accidentally delete a page that you need to restore, you might check to see if an archived version of the page exists in the Wayback machine.
  • OneNote Web Clipper - OneNote Web Clipper works with most web browsers and can be used to easily capture, edit, annotate, and share web pages. You can learn more about OneNote Web Clipper on the Microsoft support site.
  • Applications for downloading entire websites - There are a number of applications available for downloading and saving a complete website. I'm not aware of any that are currently supported by McGill ITS, but if you're exploring options, you might consider sending an inquiry to the IT Service Portal. The (non-McGill-supported) tool I've used for years is SiteSucker (available for Mac).

Now that you know how to archive (and delete!) old web content you're all set to make a clean sweep! Think of how much easier it'll be to manage your website!

Back to top