If your business brochure went to print with two or three spelling mistakes, you would probably reprint to save yourself the embarrassment. However, we tend not to take digital publishing polish as seriously. We all stumble upon web pages and blog posts with typos and broken links daily.
A content review, or “audit”, is a great way of improving your business website performance. Reasons to perform an audit on an annual basis, include updating new board members, news you keep on your site or awards you might be celebrating. Also renewing your events calendar, new services, pricing, or portfolio pieces to show off your work…And, of course, to make sure all spelling and grammar is sound. It’s also a chance to find out where most or your users are spending their time on your website, and make some valuable changes.
Wondering where to begin?
Start by creating your webpage inventory
Most content strategy companies suggest beginning a content review with a webpage inventory, to ensure no corner of your website is neglected or forgotten. Webstruxture , a solutions-based web applications designer, suggests using an Excel spreadsheet to create a map. Columns might include:
- Name of the web page
- Content Owner
- Date the content was reviewed
- Date it was approved
- Next review date
Webstruxture also recommends project management program, Asana, to help stay on top of your content review plan and create a manageable schedule.
Assign Roles and Responsibilities
Like any internal project, making sure your team is clear on who “owns” what task and responsibility sets them up for success. GatherContent , a platform on which a team can plan and organize content at any scale, suggests getting the following people involved:
- Subject Matter Expert (SME)
- Marketing Manager
Wondering where you are going to fit this into your tight schedule? A content review doesn’t have to be finished in a day. Break it off into bite-size chunks and give your team a reasonable deadline.
Create a content review housekeeping list (But don’t be afraid to think outside its parameters!)
There are obvious things to look for in a content review, such as bad spelling and grammar, but there are many steps to testing your site. A thorough check-list used by web strategist and designer, Intechnic includes the following:
- Click on all links to make sure they are still working
- Fact-check to ensure accuracy of the information on your site
- Assess white space: is the page too content heavy? Do you need more images?
- Evaluate the validity of the existing content. Does it still accurately depict the services or products you are offering. Is the message aligned with your brand, your core values?
- Check load time of each page
- Check for inconsistent formatting
- Ensure all meta-tags and page titles are in place
Invite a third-party to help you review
Some of the most important questions you might ask when performing a website content review is:
“Am I satisfying the needs of my user? Are they finding the information they came to find?” How do I know my content is engaging?
Expertise can make it hard to know what people don’t know. A third-party content writer or strategist is a great resource to have on board to offer an outsider’s perspective and address some questions that might be essential to improving your user experience.
Evaluate your analytics
Knowing where your users are spending most of their time on your website can also inform your content review. If there are pages that are getting no traffic, maybe that content can be archived, or the right search terms do not appear in headings, subheadings, and body of the content.
What can be gained?
The outcome of a content review can be very rewarding and might lead to your renewing customer and potential client engagement, a renewed confidence in your business message, and turning more site visits into leads and conversions.
A first content review might seem like a mountain of work, however, once you have an inventory in place and assign roles, it gets simpler with every calendar year. Whether your content review is part of a content strategy for a new website or an annual review of your existing site, it’s always worth spending time improving one of your business’ greatest assets.