Keep Your Website Content Fresh and Relevant Forever
Keeping your website content up-to-date is like going to the dentist: you know you should do it, but it’s hard to get enthused about it. This guide will show you how to stay on top of your website content and keep it updated with minimal effort.
PS: if you're not up for managing the whole process yourself, contact us to see how we can help!
What is a content audit?
Content audits are the gold standard for assessing the state of your content. A content audit involves looking at each page on your website and reviewing it for clarity and accuracy.
It may sound tedious, but content audits help you identify:
- Content that is out-of-date, not useful to a user, or duplicative
- Content that should be rewritten
- Content that is missing
Rolling audits help you assess your content by breaking the site into manageable chunks— it's easier to complete audits on a continuous basis rather than in one big annual push. If you choose rolling audits, simply start with the first couple sections of your site and assess one or two sections a month. Keep track of your audit findings in a spreadsheet. Next month, open your spreadsheet and do the next few sections, glancing at the previous month to make sure all pertinent tasks have been done.
Eventually, you’ll have a running tally of every monthly audit and a record of when the work was completed.
To start your audit, go to each page and read the content, top to bottom. Make notes about how to improve the content in your spreadsheet.
What am I looking for, though?
Does the title of the page make sense, given the actual content of the page? Imagine yourself as a website visitor. If you saw a page with that title, what would you expect to find there? If the title doesn’t match the content, try to find a more accurate title or see if the information really belongs on another existing page.
Is there missing information? Can the user find everything they need to know on this page to complete their task?
Who is the reader that needs the information on this page? Is the information helpful to that reader?
Eliminate padding and happy talk like, “Welcome to the science department’s page!”
Are there a lot of really long paragraphs of text? (Bad.)
Does the page make good use of descriptive headers? (Good!)
Are there any long lists that would work better as web-friendly bullet points?
Are all dates, statistics, and examples still accurate?
Tone and Voice
Does the content abide by your voice and tone guidelines? Website copy should always be conversational and to-the-point.
Are all links within the page still valid? Click through to check for dead links. Remember that link text should be descriptive: “NASA Website,” not “Click here for NASA’s website."
As you’re making your notes for each page, write down the action you’ll need to take next.
- If there is quick information that needs to be updated, do it and mark it completed!
- If you need to assign a rewrite to a staff member, decide who should do it.
Don’t forget to request input from stakeholders within your company. In fact, it’s great to have a “point person” for each department who is authorized to approve content for the website. For example, when you’re auditing the “Donate” section, let the fundraising department review and sign off on their content. There may have been changes in that department you’re not aware of, and it’s good to make sure everyone is working with the same information!
Now assign the work and update your spreadsheet when it is completed.
By looking at your content regularly, you’ll stay on top of improvements that need to be made and catch errors earlier.
Good luck with your audit!