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Writing web content, the ultimate sticky content

Author: Nicky

Twelve PR Co-founder
Writing web content and the internet archive

Working in PR we spend a lot of time thinking about how we communicate effectively for our clients and writing web content.

On the one hand there is the actual web content – the words and what they convey about the business – are they the right words; is it a compelling composition; what key messages does it deliver; is it technically correct; easy to understand? etc.

On the other hand we also spend almost as much time thinking about the words from the point of view of search engine optimization and the web – reviewing search terms, designing the content, engagement, call to action, response options and so on.

It’s not often we consider our writing from the point of view of history. But then I came across a truly arresting article in The New Yorker, which has caused me to stop and think. It’s so interesting that I want to share it with everyone (the perfect web content, from a PR perspective!)

Obviously I think you should read the original article ‘The Cobweb’ by Jill Lepore, but if you haven’t got time here are the ten key points which jumped out at me and which will I hope give you pause to think too:

  1. The average life of a Web page is about a hundred days.
  2. Strelkov’s “We just downed a plane” [about Malaysian Airlines] post lasted barely two hours.
  3.  A 2013 survey of law- and policy-related publications found that, at the end of six years, nearly fifty per cent of the URLs cited in those publications no longer worked.
  4.  “More than 70% of the URLs within the Harvard Law Review and other journals, and 50% of the URLs within United States Supreme Court opinions, do not link to the originally cited information.”
  5.  Last year, BuzzFeed deleted more than four thousand of its staff writers’ early posts, apparently because, as time passed, they looked stupider and stupider.
  6.  The Wayback Machine has archived more than four hundred and thirty billion Web pages.
  7.  It crawls the internet and makes a copy of every Web page it can find every two months.
  8.  When the Conservative Party in Britain deleted ten years’ worth of speeches from its Web site, it also added a robots.txt, which meant that, the next time the Wayback Machine tried to crawl the site, all its captures of those speeches went away, too.
  9.  Anyone who wants to can preserve a Web page, at any time, by going to, typing in a URL, and clicking “Save Page Now.”
  10.  How big is the Web? It’s twenty feet by eight feet by eight feet, or, at least, it was on the day Kuhle measured it. How much did it weigh? Twenty-six thousand pounds.

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