Do you know exactly what’s on your website? If not, it might be time to audit your content. Here’s a basic guide to doing just that.
Why audit your web content?
Deciding to audit your content often comes after one or more red flags have got you wondering whether the quality of the copy on your site is doing your business any favours.
Unfortunately, the auditing process can be finicky and time consuming. Nevertheless, the results will give you a solid framework for deciding which pages of content are working well for your business, which material you’ll be better off updating or replacing, and where you need to prioritise in the future.
Step 1: Re-visit your business and marketing goals
Your over-arching objective in this process is to ensure that your site and all the content it contains support your business and marketing goals, with that in mind, begin by taking some time to get crystal clear about what those are.
Step 2: Start micro and review each and every page
With your business mission firmly at the forefront of your mind, whip out your microscope and examine each individual page of content (including your web forms and your About and Contact pages) in detail.
For each page, questions to ask yourself might include:
- Is this information up-to-date? (Consider your range of products and services, the latest health research, and logistical information like your contact phone numbers, delivery fees and so forth)
- Is it relevant to my audience?
- Is it relevant to what I’m selling?
- Which of my products and services does this page support?
- Is it written in a way that I’m comfortable with? (Consider spelling, grammar, and whether the language is appropriate for your audience and brand personality)
- Does anything here have the potential to cause regulatory issues?
- Does any of the information appear to be inaccurate or unsafe? (Think about what’s missing as well as what’s included)
- Does the headline engage the reader instantly?
- Is it abundantly clear what the reader should do next? (For example, does the page contain a compelling call to action? And if so, is it still the most appropriate one to use?)
- If changes are required, how urgent/important are they?
I recommend using an Excel spreadsheet for this process. Use one row per web page, with the page URL in the first column, and then a separate column for your responses to each of these questions. (Tip: Rather than making a list of which pages are relevant to which products or services, include a separate column for each of the products in your range, and enter the number 1 to represent ‘Yes’ so you can later tally how many times each product is featured).
Step 3: The big picture - consider your content in its totality
Once you’ve recorded your thoughts on each web page, tally the results and take a macro view of your site content.
When considered in its entirety, does your content:
- Clearly explain who you are and what you do?
- Portray your business the way you want it to come across?
- Showcase each of your products and services, with an emphasis on those that are most important to the business?
- Provide your site visitors with the information and credibility that will help them choose to do business with you?
- Provide them with the type of information they’re most likely to be looking for, in language that’s easy for them to understand and on pages that are easy for them to find?
- Cause you any concerns from a regulatory perspective?
Step 4: Where to from here?
Looking at the quality of your web content from both a micro and a macro perspective will help you determine your current and future priorities, but before you jump into action, you may also need to consider some quantitative data such as your site analytics, SEO reports and the popularity of your content on social media.
Depending on your business objectives and the outcomes of your investigations, I usually recommend the following next steps:
1. Act fast to address urgent issues:
Regulatory issues and any inaccurate or unsafe information on your site are a ticking time bomb and should be addressed as a matter of urgency. While it’s usually less drastic, other information that’s out-of-date or inappropriate may also be costing you sales, so if your audit revealed issues like out-of-date phone numbers, information about products that have been discontinued or web links that no longer work, fix those fast too.
2. Develop or update your content strategy based on your findings:
How do you need to change your approach to content creation to bring your website into line with your marketing objectives or strengthen its existing contribution to those goals? Use the results of your audit to help build or enhance your content strategy.
3. Determine your time frame and resources:
Do you want to create a large volume of content quickly to bring your site up to scratch as fast as possible, or is it preferable to gradually add content on an ongoing basis? Is this a project you can or should run in-house, or is it better to engage an external writer and/or content strategist so you team can focus on their core priorities?
4. Create or revisit your editorial calendar:
Drill down into the nitty-gritty of exactly what needs to be done by when in order to systematically address any gaps in your content and determine who is responsible for each new piece of material. If you haven’t already got one, this is the ideal time to develop your editorial calendar or content plan.
Auditing your website content is sometimes a tedious job – especially if your site contains a large number of pages (in which case, talk to your web team about automating at least some of this process). The results are usually well worth it though, and when viewed strategically, often enable you to take decisive steps towards transforming your content into a hard-working business asset.
If conducting a content audit, reviewing your content strategy or formulating your editorial calendar are jobs that you or your team don’t have the time or experience to tackle, please get in touch to see if I can help.