The Benefits of a Website Content Audit

The Benefits of a Website Content Audit
Posted on 08/20/2018
CivicLive Blog - The Benefits of a Website Content Audit

One thing that is common across all websites is that they require maintenance. Even new websites require upkeep to prevent them from slowing down or being overwhelmed with pages, links and content. One of the best ways to maintain your website is to perform a yearly content audit. While a content audit is not as comprehensive as a website redesign, it is a great way to maintain website organization, or reorganize a website that may be difficult to navigate.

What is a Content Audit?

A content audit is a review of all the existing content on your website and housed in your content management system (CMS). The audit involves taking inventory of every content asset (documents, web pages, blog posts, videos, images, etc.) on your website and assessing each piece on its own terms.

Why Perform a Content Audit?

A content audit is the ideal way to remove clutter from your website. Over time a website can get weighed down with too much content. New pages, documents and even blog posts can become overwhelming and make navigating your website difficult for both external and internal users.

Content audits can also:

  • Help you determine what content is most important for specific audiences
  • Remove dated or incorrect content
  • Maintain consistency in voice and style throughout your website
  • Ensure content is located in the correct area of your sitemap
  • Address accessibility concerns
  • Improve SEO

Most importantly a content audit can help you to streamline your website operations because it helps you to determine the best way to structure and nest your content for the optimal user experience.

What Do You Need to Perform a Successful Content Audit?

Having the right staff is vital to performing a successful content audit. Every content audit requires:

  1. A Subject Matter Expert (SME)
  2. A Content Author
  3. A Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Expert

Each of these experts will help in determining the importance of each piece of content you evaluate. SMEs will help improve content that may be outdated. Content Authors will help re-write and edit content that requires updating. And SEO experts will help improve your website’s overall visibility by ensuring the content is optimized with keywords for search engines.

How to Perform a Content Audit

The content audit process requires keen attention to detail and time. Once you’ve put your team together it’s time to divide and conquer.

  1. Divide your content—you can divide content by pages, tabs or sections
  2. List your website's inventory—i.e. list every asset you have on your site (links, images, videos, articles, pages, etc.)
  3. Perform a page review checklist—this list should include target audience(s), content relevance, SEO and accessibility formatting

Document content that doesn’t fit or needs updating on one list. Add content that is no longer required to a second list. Always add the URL link to every piece of content that requires editing or updating. Mark the content so that it is clear whether it needs to be updated or removed.

Analyze Your Data

Once you’ve inventoried and assessed every asset, you’ll want to analyze the data you’ve collected. Begin by going through each evaluated asset and assigning a grade or score, (for example, use grades A – F or a five-point system where 5 is excellent and 1 is poor.) This will help you determine what assets/content are your best and worst. A grading or scale system makes it easier to take action.

Make Your Changes

Once you’ve inventoried, audited and evaluated your content you can begin the editing process, removing what you don’t need and updating what needs work. The auditing process may lead you towards changing navigation tabs on your homepage or moving content to a better location to improve website usability. This final step is where you reap the benefits of your hard work. A content audit, while time-consuming, improves your website’s usability, functionality and accessibility, ensuring you’re meeting your audience’s needs.

West offers CivicLive solutions for government website redesign. Contact us today to learn more.

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