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How to do a content audit

If you can do a financial audit with your eyes closed but your website content is giving you nightmares, it’s time for a content audit.

Like a financial audit, a content audit involves looking at what you’ve got, spotting any errors and finding ways to improve. But that’s probably where the similarities end.

This blog post explains the benefits of a content audit and how to get started.

Why bother?

A content audit gives you a bird’s eye view of your whole website. Gathering information on your content reveals what’s working and what’s not. It’s not about jumping in and fixing problems, but it will give you the data to inform any changes you want to implement.

When?

Redesigning your website is the perfect opportunity to take a look at your content. But it’s not the only time you might want to do an audit. If you have new business goals, have updated your brand guidelines or are struggling to keep your content up to date, you will benefit from a content audit.

What to look for

To keep things focused, decide what you want to achieve. For example, you might be interested in:

  • content quality
  • SEO performance
  • impact of content marketing efforts.

This will determine what you need to look at.

For example, a content quality audit could include:

  • page name
  • URL
  • key message
  • is it right for the audience?
  • writing quality
  • action required (keep, rewrite or delete?)

You might also want to include:

  • content type (blog, case study, news story etc)
  • page views
  • author and/or owner
  • when it was last updated
  • where the particular page lives on your site.

Once you have established what you want to achieve and the metrics you want to measure, I’d recommend setting up a spreadsheet to record your findings.

Google Sheets is perfect for this task because several people can use the same document at the same time and you can access it online. Excel will do the same job, too.

Get auditing

Once you’ve created your spreadsheet, you can begin the audit. Start at the homepage and begin filling in your spreadsheet.

Checking each page might not be possible on big sites so choose a sample instead. You’ll quickly be able to spot patterns in your content without having to go through every page.

Working with others

Got more than one person auditing the content? Great, there’s someone to share the load but you need to make you’re both auditing consistently.

To do this, take 5 pages that are representative of your content and each audit them. Compare your results and discuss any discrepancies.

You could also agree definitions for the qualitative sections. Here’s the criteria we used on a recent project:

  • delete: the content is outdated or is covered sufficiently elsewhere
  • rewrite: we have some information but it might not all be in the right place, be good enough or some details may be missing
  • partial rewrite: reformatting, some editing required
  • no action: it’s perfect, no changes needed.

Finished! What’s next?

You should see patterns emerge and, armed with this information, you can begin to make decisions.

For example you might want to:

  • create new content based on what’s performing well
  • change the structure of your content to make content easier to find
  • delete pages
  • improve what you have (this could be as simple as changing a title).

Once you have a plan, estimate how much time and money you need to do the work.

At this stage, you may need to justify your recommendations to other people in the business.

This is where the data from the audit is really useful as it shows you are not acting on a hunch.

Present your findings (good and bad) and then hopefully you can get to work on improving your content.That’s where the hard work really starts!

Need a hand with your content audit? Get in touch to see how we can help.

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