How we create and manage content on our website

Publishing and maintaining your content

Once you have drafted, reviewed, tested and iterated your content, you can ask the Web Team to publish it.

But this is not the end. Good content is never 'finished'. There are always opportunities to review and improve.

Before you publish

Agree with your team:

  • who is responsible for keeping content up to date (product owner)
  • when you plan to update and review content (looking at analytics, reviewing with the service)
  • how you will know that the content is meeting the identified need (for example, an increase in the rate of people applying for the correct planning permission at the first attempt)
  • when you plan to remove and archive content (and how you will decide if it needs to be removed)

If you change or remove content

Make sure you talk to the service area and any other stakeholders about:

  • why you are changing or removing it
  • how you will meet the original user need (if still relevant)
  • whether you need to make any changes to other content within that user journey
  • any links or references that need to be updated once your content is removed

Keeping track of content changes

The Web Team keep a changelog to keep track of all content on our website. For every piece of content, the changelog details:

  • the URL (address)
  • date of publication or removal
  • when changes are made
  • any redirects (when users are sent to a different page than the one they requested)
  • who is responsible for the content (product owner)

When you plan your content, think about who should be responsible for keeping content up to date. Make sure this person is named in the changelog. If user needs change, the Web Team and the product owner can discuss how best to adapt or improve content to meet those needs.

The changelog can help you to:

  • find out who wrote content
  • check the history of the content and when changes were made
  • find archived content

Unpublishing and removing a page

You may sometimes need to unpublish a page if it's no longer needed or if a service has requested it's removed.

When you unpublish a page, you should:

  • search for it as a promoted search result and remove it if it exists
  • update the internal changelog with notes on why it's being removed and who, if anyone, requested it
  • notify the customer service centre and IT when a large number of pages are unpublished in 1 go

You should also consider:

  • hiding the page from Google's indexing in Google Search Console
  • looking to see if unpublishing breaks any short URLs that may have been created
  • adding in a redirect from the unpublished page

To keep our content management system clutter free, we should delete unpublished pages once we're sure they're no longer needed. If you're unsure, you can always save a Word copy of the page content as a backup.

Help and support

Contact the webteam via Service Now if you need help with:

  • planning and creating content
  • understanding user needs
  • making decisions about when to change or remove content
  • checking the changelog

Let us know if you have any suggestions for improving this guidance.