Websites are stomping grounds for all sorts of content. Sometimes that content has purpose and proper placement. That’s good! Other times that content becomes undirected. The content strategy starts to unravel, becoming a free-for-all, post it and go platform, with pages and pages of unrelated and unorganized content. And then there’s the thought to just dump the whole thing and start fresh.
Think of it this way:
Your parents have a storage room full of goodies. In the front are items they grab and use a lot, such as extra blankets, the cooler and the folding card table. Towards the middle are items that they use from time to time, like various snow boots, whistles and extra silverware. And way in the back are items that they clearly don’t touch anymore. There’s the numerous hamster cages, the collection of tag-less Beanie Babies and the many, many decorative wreaths. Wreaths for every season, all in-tact and pristinely preserved. Never put on for show, all waiting for that moment to shine. What good is a wreath without proper visibility? Whose agenda are you slacking off on? Careful, there may be a wasp’s nest in one of them…
Bring this back to your website. Having lots of content is great; it means you have a lot to work with. But storing content that has no value to your users, or is difficult to find, isn’t doing any good. Instead of just dumping the whole thing, it’s time to take inventory and do some clean-up.
A content audit is a review of all the content on your site, page by page, evaluating its quality and quantity. A score is given to every page to rate its quality, as well as a note of its relevance for the site. Doing a content audit every year helps you discover places for improvement and brings up the question, “How did this get here?” It’s a proactive measure to keep your site up-to-date and organized and all in all, better for your site visitors.
The results of a content audit typically come in an Excel spreadsheet along with a summary of recommendations. After it’s complete, the next course of action is typically to strategize and start writing content. It may be a little or a lot—just make sure it helps achieve your website and user interaction goals.
When should I do a content audit?
- Before a site redesign
- Annually as part of a web maintenance plan
- Coincide with other site changes, such as navigation changes or other kinds of reorganization
Before starting a content audit, decide on the overall direction for the audit, or what you’re hoping to achieve. For instance, you can look to audit specific search engine optimization (SEO) performance metrics or evaluate engagement of your content with your audience. Maybe it’s to whip up new ideas for future blog posts. No matter your goal, take time to grade your website content and see if it is working optimally for your brand and your customers.