A thorough audit of your web content should provide you with a detailed review of your content measured against your organizational goals. Typically, the audit is conducted in painstaking detail, with evaluation captured in a massive spreadsheet. The spreadsheet provides great insight at the page-level, but there’s also immense value when you zoom out and look at the data as a whole. If your content team or agency is conducting an audit, they should be providing holistic observations that answer, at a minimum, these five questions:
1.) What content is dated, inaccurate, duplicate or irrelevant?
Hidden three pages deep in your website lurk versions of your old logo, defunct phone numbers and content for a product you discontinued last year. One of the primary objectives of the content audit is to identify and flag content that is just plain wrong.
2.) Does the content on my website support my brand?
Your website is designed in your brand colors and has your logo in the left-hand corner. But how well do other elements of your site reflect your brand? Do you purport to put the customer first, but talk only about yourself? Do you say you value diversity, but only feature your key demographic in photographs? Content on your website should deliver a consistent experience of your brand mission values and position. Even if your brand standards are followed to the letter, with many different authors and influencers, it’s possible for content to run amok. Rein it in by flagging problem pages and photos and identifying trends that send an off-brand message to your users.
3.) Is my content up to current best practices?
Change is constant. The internet is a dynamic, ever-evolving marketplace with its own set of rules. Every time technology changes, best practices shift. Take SEO for instance: once it was just about massive keyword volume, then it was about relevance, and now you should be optimized for voice. Look at device usage: interfaces get small (mobile), smaller (watches) and then disappear altogether (smart speakers). Every time Google releases a new product, there may be an opportunity for you to improve your page rankings or conversions rates. While it’s never a good strategy to chase every new, shiny thing, it is a good strategy to identify new technology that has the capacity to help you reach your goals. Determine the best practices that align with your business goals, then evaluate your content against them.
4.) What content gaps do I have?
As your business grows, your business goals may change. Your product lines contract and expand, and your customer’s needs and expectations shift. But, has your content remained static? A thorough review of your content should not only flag flaws in existing content, but also identify content gaps. How do you know what you don’t know? Here are a few ways to map content gaps:
- By persona: As you review a piece of content, determine the intended audience persona and color code it in your audit spreadsheet. When you are done, you’ll have a visual map that quickly surfaces content deficits, as well as over-saturation.
- By topic: This is especially useful when reviewing blog content, and especially easy if you’ve tagged your content on the back end. Tally up the total pieces of content for each topic and look for areas that are bloated or lagging. Also, step back and considerat the breadth of your topics and think about your business goals – are you missing opportunities to position yourself?
- By performance: Look at the best performing pages on your site, in terms of session time, page visits, and/or other metrics that align with your goals. What can you understand about user intent or preference? Are there ways to capitalize on a heavily trafficked page, like adding a call to action? Is it worth building out additional content, like video, to frequently visited pages?
5.) Does my website serve my overall content strategy?
Once you’ve reviewed your website, you should have an idea of what it does well and how it can be improved. Now take another giant step back and look at your digital content ecosystem and ask: what content is in place to address customer needs at each point in their journey? Review your other marketing efforts, including paid, owned and earned media, and examine the role of the website. Your site probably isn’t, and shouldn’t be, designed to meet all your content needs. Update your content strategy as you plan changes based on your audit findings.
Performing a content audit is undertaking the proverbial heavy lifting. But like all hard work, there is significant pay-off. Make sure you get the most from your efforts – and if you’re unable to answer the above questions, keep digging until you can. Or call Bluespire and we’ll dig in for you.