My supervisor and I are working on the creation of a small website whose main purpose is to inform users about the latest social activities offered by the client, such as trips, concerts, sports activities. This information will be given through posts.

My supervisor thinks that since these activites ends someday, it is better to unpublish the post once the date has passed because the article is no longer relevant. Moreover, he believes that an obsolete article can mislead the user who would fall on it by chance, letting it believe that the content is still relevant.

I disagree with him: for me it is inconceivable to unpublish content except if the content was wrong from the beginning. I have never seen anywhere a site where all the news except the most recent are unpublished. Old content can still be useful for the users, and for the website SEO.

What do you think is the best, and how would you justify this choice?

  • 1
    What does "archive" actually mean? Turning off new comments? Putting a prominent message up for users that the content is outdated? Moving it into an archive download? – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 16 '18 at 22:46
  • The article no longer appears on the home page or in the list of last articles, but only in an "archive" section. – noelno Mar 16 '18 at 22:50
  • It all depends. As a user, going to a page that informs me of an event I cannot attend and has no relevancy otherwise because it no longer applies is a waste of my time. Fool me once, it's not going to happen again! Do what is right for the user and not what you think is right to attract more search users. There is enough pollution in the sea of content out there. Don't make more. If the content has real value, then archive it. Otherwise, delete it. It is as simple as that. – closetnoc Mar 16 '18 at 23:03

I think you should archive the posts.

It's reasonable to have traffic coming to those old posts from Google even after the event has passed. Showcasing all of your past events looks good on your site and is even bragging rights for showing off all of the cool things you have done in the past. This can lead to more customers for future events as they've seen that you've been doing cool things for a while.

You may not want customers on your site spending their time looking at old events and getting confused when they can be looking at new events instead. So it's better to archive the posts where users only see them if they click on a link to view past events that have been completed.


TLDR: Don't unpublish old pages. If users land on past event pages, show them a way for them to get tickets for upcoming events.

Full story --

You are essentially dealing with three objects -- the artist, the event, and the venue. There are two ways to handle URLs for them.

Option 1. Events are treated as attributes of artists and venues pages.

For example: http://example.com/artist/justin-bieber/ is the landing page that lists his upcoming shows. Anytime you land on this page, it will show his upcoming events if any, but never his past events.
Similarly, the venue page (http://example.com/venue/highline-ballroom-new-york/) will contain a list of upcoming events. In this option, you don't have to worry about archiving past event pages, because there are none. The artist and venue pages will always show the most recent info.

This is similar to buying, say, an iPhone. iPhone has its own page, but color, size, and memory are its properties that you select on that page. In other words, there is apple.com/iPhone/ but not apple.com/iphone-silver-16gb-verizon/

A real example: https://www.ticketmaster.com/Justin-Timberlake-tickets/artist/847841. This is the artist page that lists his concerts. Similarly, the venue page is https://www.ticketmaster.com/Madison-Square-Garden-tickets-New-York/venue/483329.

Option 2: Events, artists, and venues, all have their own dedicated pages.

The event page is the main landing page and the artist and the venue are treated as its attributes. It seems this is your architecture.

Example: http://example.com/justin-bieber-live-in-concert-madison-sq-nyc-may-2018/. This is the event page that contains information about the artist and the venue, which are the attributes of the event page. In this situation, you will have to deal with past events' pages.

You should not delete them. Let them remain indexed in search engines. The indexed content is good for SEO. If the user lands on a past event's page, you can either:

a) redirect them to the upcoming event's page for that artist. Or,

b) display the past event's page with a big alert informing the user that this is a past event and how to get tickets for upcoming events. This design covers the use-case in which a user is looking only for information about a past event.

A real example: https://www.ticketweb.com/event/southbound-allman-brothers-tribute-shank-hall-tickets/6908535/. This is a past event page that contains info about the artist.

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