Over the last few months, we've been posting every few weeks to share information from the Communication Standards, to encourage a little conversation, and to share pearls of wisdom from Brian Lamb and Ginny Redish, two usability specialists who have shared their lessons with EERE. It's time now for our last post in this series, which is about one of the last things people think about for their sites: Maintenance.

Do you write maintenance plans or develop maintenance schedules for your sites? How do you maintain content that was posted in a hurry?

Maintenance is one of those crucial tasks that people often forget about when a page goes up, especially when that page was posted as part of a fire drill. But unmaintained sites suffer from a legion of problems: their content may be outdated, incorrect, or duplicative of other EERE pages.

Maintenance should be a part of every EERE Web site's daily schedule, and every page should be touched, ideally, once a year. Maintenance plans, available on Communication Standards, are part of EERE's Process and Approvals and should be submitted for every site.

As always, Brian Lamb and Ginny Redish offered advice to EERE about how to handle this tricky situation.

Brian Lamb suggested keeping maintenance in mind, even when you're handling rush projects. When content is posted in a huge rush, you still have to think about how you're going to maintain it later on. Give consideration to how you will handle these rush initiatives after the panic has passed. And even when you do have rush initiatives, focus on maintaining your top tasks.

Ginny Redish, meanwhile, suggested keeping close tabs on what is on your site, and recommended that all sites:

  • Use maintenance schedules to ensure page quality
  • Update frequently and remove out of date information
  • Develop and update content inventories to keep track of what is on your site.

What do you think? How do you handle maintenance on your sites, and why? Please be sure to comment and share with us what you think about this issue. And check back occasionally to see what everyone else had to say!