ROT stands for redundant, out-of-date and trivial [of little significance]. Much of the content on websites falls into one of these three categories and ROT is a huge problem for businesses worldwide.
And it stands to reason, a lot of the content we put online has a limited shelf life. Events that have come and gone, news stories from years ago that clutter up search results and product offers that have expired. The problem is that many businesses don’t have a dedicated staff resource keeping their digital content up to date. And this becomes a significant issue when you take into account that more and more customers prefer to find their information online. Unnecessary content clutter only succeeds in damaging findability and lowering customer satisfaction.
Sooner or later this ROT will need addressing. But how do you do that?
This is a difficult but important challenge and can feel intimidating. In fact, it can feel impossible. But it isn’t. Often it is just a matter of putting some processes in place to deal with it. In the first instance, a content audit should help to identify areas that require the most urgent attention. A set of criteria should be used here that maps business objectives with your target audiences and their information needs.
We also encourage you not to dismiss the clean slate approach out of hand if this is necessary. You may think it will be out of the question in your organisation but you may well be wrong. If you action a trial that gives people a sense of how much better the site could perform, they are often more amenable than you think. Now is not the time to be timid. Now is the time to confront the ROT!
[Source: smashingmagazine.com – abridged]