How to find stale (old) content on your site

The World Wide Web has been around for 30 years, and the University of Maine has had a website for most of that time. For a decade now, has used WordPress for publishing web content. This means that some websites have content that has been in place in WordPress since 2009.

While there may be perfectly legitimate reasons to retain web content that is a decade old (or older), that content should be reviewed regularly for accuracy. The best case scenario for a web page that has not been updated in years is that the content does not get updated because it is unchanging and still accurate as-is. The pitfalls of ignoring that old content is that your audience is presented with incorrect, outdated information or given a perception that your website is not a trustworthy source for current information.

Using your WordPress dashboard to view all pages

The WordPress dashboard can help you identify old content. If you access the dashboard and select “Pages” from the left column of links, the default view of content is sorted alphabetically in a table, with additional information in columns to the right of each page name. You can re-sort this list of pages into a list that displays chronologically by clicking the “Last Modified” heading in that table. Clicking once will bring the oldest content to the top of your list, and clicking a second time will reverse that chronology to display the most recently updated content first.

If an old page of content has redundant information, move it to your “trash.” If an old page of content has inaccurate information, ask yourself if it is significant enough to warrant an update. If it is not important to your website today, move it to your trash. Even if that old page of content is still accurate, you should consider removing it from your website if it is not supporting your current goals.

Won’t links break when pages are deleted?

An old, inaccurate page of content should be removed regardless of whether there are links to it or not. If this results in broken links on your website, those will be identified when the website is scanned by the Monsido service that is used to monitor the website for quality and accessibility. We encourage you to request an account with Monsido to monitor your broken links and find misspellings in your content, and we are happy to review your Monsido reports with you at one of our training sessions.