Learn how to conduct a full website content audit when you start your website redesign, from what tools to use to ranking and rewriting. More on our blog.

Diary of a Redesign: How to Conduct a Full Website Content Audit in 4 Simple Steps

Wed Jul 16, 2014

Use the steps outlined in this blog post to help you get started with conducting a full website content audit.

Step 1: Scan and Catalog Your Existing Website Content

When planning for a successful website redesign project, it’s important to account for the existing content currently on your website. This is your opportunity to assess whether you can move forward with what’s there, or need to build creating or revising content into your project plan. You can use a tool like Screaming Frog, which scans your website to find all URLs, Title Tags, Alt Tags, Image URLs, style sheets, and all files required to keep your site up and running. You can export this output as an excel spreadsheet and then sort by HTML pages to isolate the pages you need to review and have a complete and accurate list.

Step 2: Review Your Content for Gaps and Quality

Once you have your excel document cleaned up and ready to go, create a column to rank your content. I prefer ranking each page with an A, B, or C. Use A for content that doesn’t need to be edited, B for content that needs some cleanup, and C for content that needs drastic revisions or a complete rewrite. If something is identified as a C, make sure you add notes for what needs improvement.

Some reasons to revise:

  • the content is obviously outdated

  • the content is inaccurate

  • the existing content was created without a documented content strategy

  • it isn’t written in your brand voice or consistent with other content

  • you see web metrics indicative of poor engagement or conversions and know it’s not effective

  • there’s not enough information on a particular topic

  • there is no discernible content optimization for search engines

This ranking process is important because it helps you see the full scope of work that needs to be done on your website beyond just the redesign, and gives you a way to start prioritizing.

Step 3: Prioritize Your Content Revisions

Now that you have ranked your content, you can decide which content should be edited first over what to just to spend little time touching up. I recommend adding columns in your spreadsheet for page bounce rates and number of pageviews. This will help you assess content effectiveness, and understand which updates are most critical, regardless of their size or complexity.

Structure your website redesign project plan to include a few different waves of content edits to allow you to target the most challenging content first. Once your content manager has the first round of content edited, it can enter review phase by the remainder of the team, and while he/she moves onto the next wave of content.

If you are on an aggressive project timeline, prioritizing can also allow you to defer specific areas of content until after launch if they are in good enough condition.

Step 4: Make It Great

Now for the fun part. Figure out what you want the new website information architecture and navigation to look like. Pull out all of the content you want to use for the new navigation and start editing based on your A,B, or C ranking. Just remember to do this piece by piece and in waves to keep from going crazy.

Stopping to catalog, review, and revise your website content sounds daunting, but if you are going to pull the rug out from under you, pull the whole rug not just part of it. As creating fresh web content continues to become increasingly important, getting ahead of the game is going to be more beneficial in the long run.

Finally,  make sure you take the time to record web analytics benchmarks so you can track the success of your changes, and ensure they are meeting your business goals for the website redesign.  

This post is the part of our weekly Diary of a Redesign series, which covers every stage of the website redesign process, from planning, to design, to implementation, to launch. New posts published every Wednesday. 

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