PLEASE READ: All website documents have a unique address on the internet.  Their address is their "url".  Look in the location bar of your browser, and you will see the unique address (the "url") of this page on the internet. 

location-bar.png

In the example above, the url is "jmu.edu/index.shtml"

All pages (or emails, social media posts, printed materials, other websites, and google search results) that link to that address depend on that address always existing. This is similar to your home address. If you change your home address without notifying anyone, you will eventually get calls from your bill collectors asking why you are not paying your bills. Page addresses are similar. If there are any links to your page (in emails, social media posts, printed materials, other websites, google search results, etc.), and your page has been deleted, moved, or renamed, that link will break. 

If you are unpublishing, deleting, moving, or renaming a page, you may think that you can find all affected pages by checking a page's relationships, but in many cases, other pages within jmu.edu have set up "External links" to your page, and these will remain broken. More importantly, if any external website has linked to your page, that is breaking a "backlink" to jmu.edu, which can have serious consequences in Domain Authority for jmu.edu. In addition, if a page is unpublished, deleted, renamed, or moved, it takes one month for search engines like Google to update their indexes, thus leading to broken links in search results.

For these reasons, it is suggested never to unpublish, delete, move, or rename a page.  But if it is absolutely essential that you do so, contact marketingemail@jmu.edu to discuss.

Unpublishing Documents

Step 1: Update content

When you are working with your webpages, it is very dangerous to unpublish documents. It will result in broken links on jmu.edu and even worse, on Google.  Instead, please update the content of the page. 

For example, if the page is "seasonal", like a form that students can only fill out at a certain time of year, then when the "off-season" happens, do not unpublish the page.  That will generate a lot of confusion since students will continue to be looking for this form, since it will continue to appear in search results (and often still being linked to from other jmu.edu pages) but instead change the content to say "The deadline for this form has passed.  Please contact John Doe if you have any questions."

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