Evaluating Your Current Content
A content audit is the cornerstone of your content strategy. It is a qualitative analysis of all of the published content on your website and allows you to catalog and analyze that content on a page-by-page basis. You will use it to complete the content mapping task later in the process.
Why perform a content audit? Simply put: simplify, simplify, simplify. A content audit helps you determine if your content is relevant – both to users and to your departmental goals. It also helps you answer important questions: Is content accurate and consistent? Does it speak in the voice you want to project? Essentially, a content audit helps shape your content by using the data we gathered during stakeholder interviews and user research to help you assess where your website is and where you want it to be. Then, simplify everything down to only what is essential.
A content audit and later content mapping will help you:
- Create an inventory of content
- Prioritize content
- Determine which pages need copywriting / editing
- Determine which pages need to be updated
- Determine which pages should be consolidated
- Determine which pages are no longer needed
- Determine if your content aligns with the needs of your users
Completing Your Content Audit
First things first… There’s nothing sexy about the content audit process. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not critically important to your website’s success. When you think about starting your content audit, it’s easy to find yourself getting overwhelmed and procrastinating. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap! Just take it one step at a time and you will be done in no time.
Step 1: Find your content
- If you have a way to pull up all the published pages on your site, then use this to complete the audit.
- If you do not, go through each page and write down that URL and the URL of every link on the page that goes to a different page on your website.
Step 3: Evaluate the content on each page
When reviewing current content, condsider these questions to help you evaluate your content.
- What type of content is it?
- What topics are covered?
- Who is the page’s primary intended audience?
- What is the purpose of the page?
- Ask yourself what is the set-up of the page - Examples: homepage, informational text page, story page (content that gets added frequently like news or blogs), list of links, staff directory, webform, tables, graphic element, calendar of events, photo gallery, etc.
- Ask yourself what the topic of the information is on the page — this helps us group pages that have related topics.
- Ask yourself who needs this information — Examples: current students, prospective students, faculty, staff, public, alumni, etc.
- Ask yourself why you have this page — Examples: general information, introduction to a program, attend an event, join a group, fill out a form