Let’s face it. Any task that includes the word “audit” sounds a little terrifying, but auditing your web content is completely painless compared to any interaction you might have with the IRS.
The goal of a web audit is to make sure that your site’s design, structure and content are driving traffic, speaking clearly to your customers, and improving conversions.
When it comes down to it, there are a few simple steps that will get you going in the right direction.
1. Decide on the goals of your audit.
Determining a set of goals for your audit is the most essential step as it will guide every step of the process.
What are the big changes you’re hoping will result from your audit? Increased traffic?
More links to your site?
Establishing thought leadership?
Take some time to think about exactly what you hope to accomplish. This clearly defined set of goals will help you determine exactly what information you need to collect from your site and which information you can ignore at this time. Compartmentalizing your content in this way will prevent you from feeling like you’ve taken on an overwhelming task and help you determine what decisions you need to make during the audit.
2. Create a spreadsheet outlining all of your content.
Gathering your list of web pages and collecting information about them is the most time consuming part of the audit. It’s easy to get lost in the enormity of the task, but there are plenty of ways to divide it up into more manageable chunks.
- Assign segments of your site to different members of your team. Collecting this information is something that anyone can do. Distribute these less-strategic tasks among your colleagues to make the work go faster.
- Generate a list of pages from your content management system. Whether you use WordPress, Drupal or another CMS, the system can export a site map and provide you with extra information about each page, including metadata, keywords and dates created.
- Get a directory listing from your web server. Sifting through the list of files will take some time, but a list from your server will give you a good starting place.
So you know to collect the URL, page title and date created, but what other information do you need to know about each page? Here’s a basic list of information you might need, with an example.
- Page ID
- Page title
- Type of page (landing, contact, content, etc.)
- Audience (Who is the customer this page is meant to appeal to?)
- Usage statistics, including traffic and links (You can use information from Google Analytics for this.)
3. Use your business strategy to determine how to create, edit or delete content.
With all of this information collected, now is the time to take a good, honest look at your content. Ask yourself some questions to determine how to proceed.
- Which pages are getting a lot of attention? Can you create more like them?
- Which pages aren’t working for you and why? Do they need to be revised?
- Which business messages are and are not being communicated? Do you have a lot of pages about one segment of your business and not enough about another?
- Do you have a lot of similar pages that are competing with each other? Should you combine them?
- Is it easy to navigate between pages, or does it seem like you can never get back to where you started?
Answers to questions like these will give you a solid plan for moving forward and will make sure the entire procedure has been worthwhile.
Most importantly, take the time to look at your website while putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. While you may know exactly why you chose your content, you need to look at it from the perspective of someone who may not be intimately familiar with your business.
Does the whole process feel overwhelming? We’re here to help! Spot Color Marketing conducts audits for clients all the time. We can facilitate your next web audit so that it is painless, productive and profitable.