The word “sustainable” brings to mind recycling, renewable resources, and effective, repeatable business processes. In terms of web content, “sustainable” means effectively and efficiently manageable given available resources.
Best practices for sustainable content
- Don’t overcommit. Blogging daily is a lofty goal, but rarely do we have the time available to craft compelling, engaging content in addition to our daily responsibilities. Start small and build out your site, blog, or social media presence slowly and intentionally. Focus on content and activities that move you toward successful outcomes.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Instead of terms like “in her 3rd year as chair”, instead use “has been department chair since 2011.” Cleaning up minor details like this early on prevent content from becoming outdated as quickly.
- Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Content that changes frequently and is broadly applicable, like tuition & fees, lists of available majors, or the PDF campus map, shouldn’t be replicated. Don’t save new copies to your site, instead, link to the correct content elsewhere. There is also a way to pull page content into your site while allowing it to be centrally updated by the department responsible for managing it.
- Stick to standards. Web standards for usability, accessibility, and content development provide not only a framework for compliance in their specific areas, but also a set of prescriptive guidelines for extending the functional life of pages within a site. Document structure, correct use of HTML, and compliance with accessibility requirements will ensure your pages remain technically and structurally appropriate over time and through major events like theme changes or content migrations.