Don’t Delete Content Blocks: Reuse Them

  • Before Deleting, Do a Link Search

    Make sure that no other content on the IUP site are quicklinked to this page.

  • Once we delete a content block, we can never get that URL back. So try to repurpose rather than delete.

    This best practice is a frustrating side effect of the way our CMS assigns URLs to content. Every content block has an ID number, and that number forms part of the URL for that content (check the URL of this page for an example). These ID numbers are never reused, so once a content block is deleted, that URL goes dead for good.

    Of course, you can create a new page with the same content—but it will have a different URL. And anyone who linked to or bookmarked the old URL is going to get a “Page Not Found” error.

    The Workaround

    The workaround is to avoid deleting content blocks. If you worked on the old website, you may have updated your site by creating a new file, then replacing the old one. Try that on the CMS and you’ll end up with a new URL.

    Instead, revise the old version. Because nothing gets published until it goes through the approval process, you can take as much time as you need to make your revisions. Until the new version is submitted and approved, the previous version will continue to be what the public sees.

    Even when you have content that will be leaving the website for good, it can be useful to recycle those content blocks for new content. If users do follow a link looking for the old content, they won’t get exactly what they wanted, but they will at least be on the right website reading content that is probably more useful than “Page Not Found.”