How to review your website content
15 April 2014 by Tips and Tricksin
I've written a couple of posts about adding content to your website, for example Four Reasons why you Must Update Your Website and Ideas for Updating Your Website, but it's equally important to take stock and review your website content regularly.
I call this a website review but Content Inventory and Audit are related terms. A review will give you a better idea of the website organisation and page structure, how the content meets your website objectives (or not) and is a powerful way of getting started with refocusing or redefining your site. I've done a review of this site and it helped me decide what parts of the site were important and what should be scrapped.
Info: Be careful when you delete or reorganise your pages and content. For example, make sure that you have appropriate search engine redirects in place if you are removing pages.
Let's get started
The first thing I did was create a spreadsheet where I could add details about each page. Here's my Content Inventory spreadsheet on Google Drive. I started with Relly Annett-Baker's Content Inventory and added items and columns that were important to me. You may well want to amend either document to meet your own requirements - please do so!
The next step is to go through your site and complete the spreadsheet as fully as possible. This is not particularly time-consuming for a small site of, say, 10 - 20 pages but will take longer for larger sites, sometimes a lot longer. That's where a tool like Screaming Frog SEO Spider is useful. The software has a crazy name but it will scan a site and extract a lot of information, for example page titles and page meta descriptions, and find broken links. Additionally, you can export the data into your own spreadsheet.
Info: Another software tool that's useful for finding broken links is Xenu Link Sleuth. It will scan your site and I recommend using it monthly; you may be surprised at what you find!
With your spreadsheet and data, take some time to go through it and think about the content. Does it work for you, is it still relevant? Does the site have any gaps? Are there pages with the same information?
Think about the information that your customers ask for. Is it on your site? Perhaps colour highlight your spreadsheet rows to help define section of your site.
Decide on the actions that you will take and allocate time in your schedule to do them.
For me, I decided that my site was covering too much for a single freelancer and I focussed it on core web design and development activity by removing pages that described less important work. This was work that I had not done for years, work that I no longer wanted to do, and areas where I wasn't able to keep up to date. I also revised several sections of text that, whilst accurate, needed updating.
A website review or content audit/inventory like this can be the first step of a more comprehensive content strategy. Many websites don't have a strategy, formal or otherwise, in place but a website assessment and review can kick-start this. Go for it!