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Start Fresh with a Website Content Audit

As we enter another year and you consider your resolve for the next 12 months perhaps it’s time to consider the state of your website. Unless your business is brand new or you’ve just re-launched your site, chances are you could benefit from a content audit. Over time, with multiple generations of administrators and contributors across various departments, websites tend to take on a Frankenstein-esque appearance with outdated content lurking in places you may not even think to look.

A content audit allows you to take stock of the copy, images, video and audio throughout your site, determine the value of your materials, and plan a path for the future of your web strategy. And a new year is the perfect time to start afresh with this new perspective of your site.

Take Stock

The most intimidating step of a content audit is the very first. If your website has hundreds upon hundreds of pages it’s likely you don’t even know where to begin. Lucky for you, many have come before you and left helpful breadcrumbs in their wake.

Begin by listing the URL for each page of your website. You may do all of this manually or you may choose to use a crawling tool such as Win Web Crawler or SiteOrbiter that will create the list for you. These tools will also tell you if any links throughout your site need to be fixed, which will be helpful when you’re ready to plan the next steps for your content.

Once you’ve cultivated a list of every page on your site, you’ll need to record the pieces of information that will help you assess the quality of your content. This content inventory template is a good starting point. You can add or remove columns depending on what you hope to gain from the content audit. For instance, you may also choose to document keywords, social shares, bounce rates, conversions garnered, last update, etc.

Determine Value

After you have all the pieces of relevant information in your content inventory spreadsheet, you’ll be able to determine which pages are effective, which ones can be improved and which ones are unnecessary or even detrimental to your brand.

Consider what you want each page to accomplish. Is it intended to drive people into your sales funnel? Is it meant to provide education that positions your company as an expert in the marketplace? Do you hope it will attract talent to your organization? Keep these goals in mind as you analyze the data and determine whether or not each page is performing as intended. You may find you’re losing people with your calls to actions or they’re coming in from your blog but they aren’t making it over to the product pages.

Plan a Path

Now that you know where you stand, you can decide what next steps are. Share what you’ve found with the stakeholders for each section of the site and decide together what should be done to improve the content within their section. Depending on what you’ve found there are a number of tasks you may need to complete to ensure your site performs well.

Perhaps you need to eliminate pages that contain content that is no longer accurate or relevant. Maybe your marketing department should provide stronger calls to action on certain pages. It could be that your blog team needs to be trained on how to incorporate keywords that will drive people to your site. It’s even possible you’ll have to help human resources set up an application process that doesn’t lead to dead ends.

Each content audit tends to be a unique little snowflake that reveals facets of your website you didn’t know were there. You’ll likely find some good surprises and some room for improvement. But regardless of what you find, you’ll be better equipped to realign your content to support and drive your organization’s goals.

Eliza Green
Eliza Green
Passionate about all aspects of content, Eliza has spent much of her career building an understanding of the nuanced needs of various audiences across nearly every vertical imaginable. She leverages this understanding to bring compelling, engaging content to pages of both the digital and print persuasion.