Web archiving is simply the act of collecting and preserving websites in an archive. It's the best way to capture website content in an immutable and time-stamped form that facilitates compliance, litigation, and overall information governance.
Companies and organizations archive website content for various reasons; it could be to comply with industry standards, protect themselves from intellectual property theft and false claims, or simply preserve their history as they make changes to their existing website or implement a brand-new one.
There are numerous ways of saving websites; for instance, you can simply save pages to a hard drive or use online tools like Wayback Machine or HTTrack, or even depend on a CMS backup.
But the best method for preserving a website is to use an automatic archiving solution. Web archiving guarantees the long-term accessibility of data for reference and analysis.
Here are six website archiving benefits for businesses.
1. Legal Requirements
Many businesses have to archive websites for legal reasons. Unfortunately, many companies dispose of information that they should be legally keeping, including details of their web pages. With this in mind, many regulators impose severe penalties on businesses to caution against ignoring set policies.
The food and beverage industry is one of the most regulated sectors. It also records high litigation numbers. Many leading brands have faced lawsuits due to nutritional and product content on their social media accounts and websites. Therefore, it's crucial to capture and preserve this online information to prove compliance with set regulations and have adequate litigation evidence.
The healthcare sector is also highly regulated since it deals with critical medical products, devices, medicines, and nutritional products. Such companies can be easily exposed to compliance violations and costly legal battles due to their online content.
The financial sector isn't left out, either. Entities like SEC, FINRA, and FCA have released regulations regarding web and social media content. These requirements demand that financial institutions preserve all details related to electronic communications to comply with the regulations. Businesses that fail to comply with these regulations may suffer hefty penalties, lose business, and find themselves faced with costly lawsuits.
That's why businesses, especially those in the heavily-regulated sectors, must archive their website content and make it easy to monitor any changes, including additions or deletions on specific web pages. It's also vital to archive their social media accounts in real-time to ensure each deleted, added or edited post is captured.
2. Creating a Reliable Backup
Many businesses choose to preserve their website content for ten years, or even longer. This ensures that they have access to this information, no matter what happens to their websites—the storage acts as a backup. Archived web pages are safely stored from any hazards. In this regard, it's essential that businesses contract the services of reliable archivists to ensure their information is safe and can be retrieved when needed.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that website archives are different from simple website backups. While backups ensure your site is safe, even if files get cleared from a server or get corrupted, archiving gives a company much more insight and control over old content. Good archiving software allows you to replay old web pages exactly as if they were still live, including navigational items and videos. They also index, present, and offer access to archived information in a way that doesn’t necessitate a trawl through massive amounts of data on the IT department’s side.
Most business websites contain unique and original information. When the site is being updated, this information may get lost. Web archiving is a robust solution for maintaining seamless historical web records and ensuring that data is viewable in its original format, offering the same user experience and meeting the regulatory conditions for authentic copies.
3. Safeguarding Businesses from False Claims
Web content is a crucial part of modern business communications. It is also often part of essential legal documentation, including offers, promotions, purchase orders, and online transactions. So it's imperative that businesses keep such documentation to support lawsuits when they arise.
Website archiving is pivotal for e-commerce sites. Take the example of a food or pharmaceutical company dealing with a customer who claims that a page had provided incorrect information about a product's ingredients. How does a company go about proving that website information on a particular date was correct? Without complete and defensible website archives, the matter can turn into a fierce legal battle. But with a detailed archive, it’s easy to show exactly what had been stated at the time.
4. Protection of Intellectual Property
Old web pages can be used as evidence for breach of intellectual property rights. With web archiving, you're able to protect your company's online content from others.
For instance, if a person copied your content, logos, images, or any other information on your site — even if it was content from years ago — you can use your website archive to easily identify and illustrate instances of intellectual property theft.
5. Boosting Your Marketing Strategy
An archive can help your marketing team know exactly what was live on your site on a specific date and make more informed decisions about website content. If, during a quarterly review, they note a great conversion rate for a particular week, they can use their website archive to quickly identify the content that resonated so well. A good archiving solution will even allow them to compare different pages to see how content was adjusted over time — and then cross-reference that with conversion rates and overall funnel performance.
6. Institutional Memory
As the world becomes increasingly digital, archiving data sources like websites and social media accounts becomes crucial for large companies who want to document their history. Just like old products, brochures, photos and newspaper articles relating to the company need to be preserved for future generations, digital records also need to be kept. Preserving website content is crucial for documenting a company’s history because it offers insight into major moments and milestones.
Web Archiving Services
Web archiving solution providers, like Pagefreezer, use crawling technology, similar to that of Google, to take snapshots of your website. Archiving is an automated process that saves you time and requires no software installation.
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