Don’t Procrastinate Your Content Audit
You’ve spent all this money and time on a stellar website. You use it everyday as a vital marketing and communications tool and the welfare of your business depends upon it. So why won’t you maintain and operate it to the fullest with a content audit?
Conducting a content audit is like changing your car’s oil and servicing it every three thousand miles. You want to respect its value and get the most out of it. That is why content audits are critical.
A Content Audit is a process that reviews all of the content on your site, lending insight into better configuration. This system allows you to scrutinize your web’s existing traits and maximize how you are effectively meeting your business goals. It facilitates improvement strategically, creatively, aesthetically and interactively. Many businesses adopt the traditional website maintenance mindset, “Now that we have it built, we are good to go!” There are too many opportunities attached to content audits to overlook them anymore.
Even if you can figure it out and you assign this to a company employee, a content audit halts daily work rhythm. And companies exhibit group think. An outside perspective is imperative. You are not just hiring an auditor, you are getting a knowledgeable consultant that can collaborate with outside the lines. Many companies are contending with tens of thousands of items. Thus, a firm is likely deployed for the task which represents a cost. Depending on the scope, costs range from $3,000 to $30,000. And you thought that $50 oil change was a hit to your pocket!
How to Conduct a Content Audit:
- Define your goals
Why are we doing this? Committed to revolutionizing your website, what is it you wish to accomplish? Define your intention. Obvious ones are discovering opportunities, optimizing the customer communication experience, editing outdated material, upgrading what is “converting” and reconsidering aesthetics.
What else? You want to organize it, track it and optimize it for better performance moving forward. And most important it shows you key areas where your customer is either satisfied or not. Living in the new age of customer centricity, super service is paramount. The competition is fierce. Every inch of your site must be on point.
- Understand the benefits
With a content audit, you may discover site attributes that you either forgot or did not realize, learn about content gaps, check content quality, troubleshoot issues, rethink your infrastructure, identify leverageable assets, reconfigure content complexion and save on future manpower that unwittingly crafts redundant material. It can also make you consider a relaunch, develop new features, add/subtract pages and realign your employees’ understanding of what your website, from top to bottom, is all about.
- Research inventory of content
Inventory is usually mammoth, filled with text, images, applications and documents. Most organizations exist with partial inventory, tarrying their efforts. Comprehensively identifying the content affords a streamlined, cognizant operation. Make sure you use a spreadsheet to log every bit of information. According to usability.gov, with a content audit, inventories must include the following raw data:
- Unique Content ID
- File Format (HTML, PDF, DOC, TXT…)
- Author or Provider
- Physical location (in the content management system, on the server, etc)
- Meta Description
- Meta Keywords
- Categories/ Tags
- Dates (created, revised, accessed)
- Create categories
This is important to keep things in order. Categorize your data for your content audit. Take a SWOT analysts approach to categorization. What are the website’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats? Aside from those four modules, it is a good idea to group by content, author, date, title, format (text, audio, video) contact page, metrics and more. This whole process is a headache, even with an expert performing on your behalf. Breaking it out into sets will make your analysis go smoother. Ultimately, ensure that everything sits in the correct location.
In concert with Google Analytics, a great website content analysis tool, delve into content audit tools. A content audit template, available online, will help. Systematically assess content pages, customer interaction, backlinks, articles, graphs, social media interface, documents, interviews and everything else associated with the website. Is there any content that is missing? Is your target searching for something you provide, but you are not presenting effectively? How about the blog posts? Are they still relevant? Are you “off the mark” on certain promotional items? Do you effectively define every aspect of your business to the consumer in a user-friendly tone? Also, do not forget to prioritize actionable content that necessitates poignancy and timeliness. Google Analytics is a great tool in a website content audit.
- Focus Group
Myopia runs rampant in just about every organization. Although data doesn’t lie and gleaning insights from content audits would seem obvious, that perspective should not be exclusive to the producer. In the process of creating refinements to the site, consider augmenting your content audit process by investing in focus group research as a parallel to your invigorated website rebuild. You may think a set of blogs derails your planning, but they might resonate with the customer. Doing away with something or innovating somewhere else is prudent, given what the audit reveals. Understanding your customer while gleaning the sites might work well in concert.
- Refine your strategic planning
Corporate agility has accelerated remarkably in the last five years. A content audit is an excellent example of how a business can pivot. Last year’s content marketing strategy may seem rock solid in the present, but a content audit illuminates greater opportunity. No longer can a company take their site for granted because the never ending race for product/service awareness never ceases. Not often does a business take a big step back and objectively review themselves. Strategic planning is incumbent upon it.
An add-on option to your content audit is a SEO content audit. This analysis is prudent in that it propels performance. An SEO audit points out which page needs a boost or must go. This assessment elicits more organic traffic to your page. This audit is much less expensive, costing between $1,000 to $15,000.
Given this exercise, reinforce your content strategy. Take on the audit of all other company collateral material, from pamphlet email blasts to social media posts to personal marketing modes. From a branding perspective, take inventory of everything to make sure the customer experience is synergistic. Eliminate any confusion about “what you do” and “what you stand for”. Time has a way of making us stray. Vigilance such as content inventory and audit is absolutely necessary to keep your business running full bore!
If you would like assistance with your site’s content audit from seasoned pros, click or tap HERE.