I recently wrote a blog post on Content Strategy: Content Audits, where I explained how important having a content strategy is to producing high-quality, reusable and consistent English and translated content. I also wrote a blog post on Content Audits Part 3: Marketing Collateral Audits. Your website is a very important part of a marketing content strategy, and so instead of including it with the marketing collateral audit blog post, I’m devoting an entire blog post to website content audits.
A content audit is the first step in the process of putting a website content strategy together. A website content audit consists of an inventory, which is a representation of all the content and the parts that make up a website, and a qualitative analysis, which is an evaluation of that information for a variety of measures depending on your business goals.
There are many business goals that may require a content audit of your website such as SEO strategy, site migration, site redesign, content marketing strategy or globalization. Although the types of data that you capture might vary depending on your business goals, the process is the same. Since it’s relatively easy and quick to make changes to web content, it’s important to have a plan for auditing your website on a routine basis.
Some information on the web such as specifications, product descriptions and contact information is also usually found in technical documents, training materials and marketing collateral, so if possible, you may want to consider expanding the scope of the project to include these materials as well.
First you need to take a content inventory of your website. Depending on your business goals, you may want to capture categories of information like URLs, images, documents, links, videos, file size, word count, metadata (title, keywords, descriptions), analytics, page owners, dates and more.
There are many tools available, some for free and others for a fee. These tools automate the process, providing reports and dashboards. Using one of these tools can be a good option if you have a large website and a budget.
You can also capture the information on a spreadsheet by copying the data for the items that you’re interested in analyzing. This approach can be more time-consuming but it’s cheaper.
Once you have the content inventory, it’s time to evaluate the data. What you evaluate will depend on your business goals.
Here are some suggestions for categories to evaluate based on different business goals:
- SEO strategy: URLs, metatags, keywords, links
- Site migration: content quality and relevancy, webpage structure, assets (images, documents, links, videos), file size, keywords, metatags, links
- Site redesign: website and webpage structure, assets (images, documents, links, videos), content quality and relevancy, links
- Content marketing strategy: branding, messaging, personas and buyers’ journey, content quality and relevancy, dated content, links
- Globalization: website design, webpage structure, word count, terminology, translated assets, content gaps, content, keywords, data formats (e.g., dates, time, telephone numbers, measurements)
You can capture the findings in a spreadsheet, in an automated tool (if it has that feature) or another document type.
Analyze the results of the audit. With your business goals in mind, look at the current and future state. Make actionable, measurable recommendations based on the data along with pros and cons of each one and then present your findings to your key stakeholders.
Given how frequently website content changes, don’t forget about planning for ongoing content audits. These can be done on a regular schedule, after a big content update, after new pages are added or other intervals. Don’t forget to include a recommendation for ongoing audits in your findings to your stakeholders.
Conducting frequent audits will keep your website in good shape.
Your website is a critical marketing tool and your customers should have a good experience with it. Conducting an inventory, auditing different categories and then analyzing the findings is key to an overall marketing and website content strategy.
Resources for Content Localization and Content Strategy
You may gain further insight into content strategy, content localization, translations and related topics by reviewing previous blogs written by GPI: