How to perform a content audit on your website
Is your website in need of a content audit? Here's how to do it.
Regular readers of this blog might have noticed that my website recently got a mini facelift :)
It had been well over a year since I last touched my website design and the time had to come to make some changes.
The look and feel of my site, particularly the homepage, needed to be revamped and I was ready to revamp the visuals, change up the layout and make my information easier to understand. I was ready to switch to a website that balanced pretty and performance it it's design.
Over the past year or so, my offerings have changed - a lot. There are different services packages, I launched a brand new product line, and have new articles, video tutorials and resources I want to highlight that will help my audience. From the very first moment a visitor arrives on my website, they should know who I am, what I do and how I serve my audience.
This meant that I had to re-design my website and the layout of how that information was presented.
As a result, it also meant that I was forced to review and update the copy of my website in order to communicate all that goodness in the easiest way possible.
Here’s where the website content audit comes in!
If you're totally new to website content audits or are interested in doing one on your site but aren't sure where to start, you've come to the right place. I'm going to take you through my process below and show you what steps to take so that you can perform a content audit on your own website too!
Let's take a look, shall we?
What is a website content audit?
A content audit is “the process of evaluating content elements and information assets on some part or all of a website” (source). You take inventory of all the content on your website (think: web pages, blog posts, content upgrades, resources, videos, etc.) but then go a step further and look at it’s relationship with your goals and how you’re using that content strategically.
I’ve written before about how important it is to have clearly outlined goals for your website. These website goals might include:
- lead generation
- increased sales
- promoting and highlighting business information
- growing newsletter
- securing advertising
The content on your website plays a huge role in reaching your goals. If your content is clear and well written, you'll do a better job at serving your audience, showcasing your services, selling your products, and generally growing your website and online business.
During a website content audit, you will look at each section or item of content and evaluate how it supports your goals.
There are a few ways you can do this but I’m going to walk you through my process below.
How to start auditing the content of your website
Before I even started on the redesign project, I first took inventory of all the content on my website and looked at what my offerings are and what I felt was most important and needed to be highlighted.
This first stage is all about having a full understanding of what content you already have and what currently exists on your website, and then figuring out what was most valuable, from a business point of view.
If you want to do a really intense and formal inventory of content, you can use a spreadsheet to keep track of all the content on your website and include links and notes for each entry. I didn’t do a super deep dive and instead had a few blank sheets of paper and wrote down each web page, offering, content upgrade, etc and added notes as needed. I didn’t do a full evaluation of my blog posts (I’ve you’ve ever looked at my Archives page, you’ll see I have a LOT of articles!) but made sure to check my analytics and focused on the top performing and most recent posts instead.
I then classified each bit of content into 1 of 3 categories:
This category is for all the content on your website that performs well, is relevant and doesn’t need to be updated. This could be evergreen content, an FAQ page, basic business information, etc.
In the same way that I hadn’t touched the design of my website in far too long, I also hadn’t looked at the copy of the webpages in ages either! Most of the pages on my website fell into the ‘update’ category - they were generally good but I needed to review the content and see how it could be improved. it was time to update certain information, revise or remove mentions to old or re-named services, add links to new products, etc. I also used the Analytics tab to look at web pages and blog posts that weren’t performing very well and added those to the ‘update’ category, to see if I could improve their performance.
Here’s where I added all the remaining content that was simply not worth improving or would take too much time/effort to get it to the level I wanted. This wasn’t a big category but it did mean that I removed some content from my website entirely - full delete! In some cases, the content was no longer relevant (e.g., services that I no longer offered, mentions to seasonal promos or events that had taken place in the past) or the content no longer suited the focus/goals I have for my website moving forward. I also added duplicate or overlapping content to the ‘delete’ category.
Alright, so once you’ve audited the content on your website and classified it into 1 of the 3 groups outlined above, it’s time to move into the next phase of the project and actually deal with that content.
Next step : take action
Most of this action applies to the ‘update’ category of content and it definitely took the most time to deal with.
For the content on your website that you’ve decided to keep but isn’t up to snuff, you have to go back and improve it, make it more valuable and in line with your goals. There are so many ways you can do this but here are the areas that I focused on :
Rewrite content : I did this a LOT for various web pages and blog posts. I rewrote the existing copy so that it was clearer, included better examples, was formatted in a more effective way, had tips and tricks, and generally spruced it up so that it performed better and was more helpful.
Refresh content : Sometimes the content didn’t require a full rewrite, instead it just needed to be jazzed up little bit. In these cases, I added mentions and links to new or current products/services/offerings, linked to other related blog posts within existing articles, etc.
Reuse content : If you have good content, think about ways that you can repurpose it in a different format. This could mean new blog posts, infographics, ebook, email course, etc. In some cases, I recorded video tutorials to add to old blog posts (covering the exact same content outlined in the post, nothing new or extra) and was able to present the same info in a different format and add extra value to my audience.
Add images and videos : Videos and images drive lots of organic traffic to a website and content that includes images and videos ranks higher in search results, so I knew I should make an effort to update this content. Not only do images and videos keep people on your website longer, thus reducing the bounce rate, they also make the content more engaging. I recorded several new video tutorials and added them to existing blog posts, but also added third-party images and videos to provide more value as well.
Update CTAs : CTA = call to action. Think about what action you want website visitors to take and direct them appropriately. In many cases, my blog posts had outdated CTAs so I replaced or reworded them with current/relevant offers, or directed people to check out my new products or services instead. I added newsletter opt-ins around my site and made clear CTAs for readers to join that too. I updated the CTAs on my site by adding strategic buttons and also clearly written text directions.
Website content and SEO
I should also mention that my website content was already pretty well set up for SEO so this audit didn't prompt a major overhaul on the SEO front. But if it wasn’t, I would add those updates here as well.
If the website content audit showed that SEO needed improvement, here are ways you can get started:
- optimize metadata
- inform Google via Google Search Console and other search engines of the updates
- properly name website images
- use correct titles, headers and text formatting, especially in blog posts
SEO is an art, not a science, and it’s one of the most popular topics on my blog. There’s so much to learn about Squarespace SEO which is why I have written about it a lot. Check out my Squarespace SEO Series for more blog posts & video tutorials and get your free copy of my (very popular) Squarespace SEO Checklist below!
What started out as a website redesign project ended up becoming a much larger process when I took my content audit seriously and started making big changes to the content of my website. I knew that in order to meet my website goals and grow my business, I had to make sure that the content of my website was setting me up for success.
I had to take inventory of all the content on my site and figure out what to do with it and how it could be improved. This took a lot of time and creativity but totally paid off! Plus, it was fun to look back through my old content and see how my business has changed an evolved over the past year and a bit!
Doing a content audit of your website is something I strongly recommend, especially if it’s been a while since you have touched your site. You will surprise yourself by how a few changes can make such a big impact, improve the experience of visitors on your website, and even grow your business and increase conversions as a result. Totally worth it!
Now it's your turn to tell me, have you ever done a website content audit? How did you find the experience? What did you notice? Has in been ages since you last looked at the content of your website? Have I convinced you to start one today? I’d love to know so leave me a note in the comments below!
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