3 things to do with a website content audit

by / Filed under Web

A year or so ago I posted a guide to carrying out a content audit. At the time I was getting to grips with the Suffolk Libraries website, and the audit was a really useful way to understand the library service and what we were trying to do online.

Now we have a (hopefully) sane IA and most of the redundant content has been stripped away, the audit has a different purpose. I use it to prune pages and make sure everything’s up to date. The original audit took days, now it takes on hour or two.

So here are 3 things you can do with a content audit once you’re happy with your website’s structure:

1. Make sure content is assigned to the right owner

Staff move on, go on paternity leave or get promoted. Your organisation structure changes too. Update your content owners accordingly.

2. Delete pages and files

The Suffolk Libraries website consists of 144 static pages, including redirects. This is manageable for one person.

Fewer pages and files make it easier to:

  • structure your website
  • return relevant results from searches
  • navigate pages

So the first question you need to ask of any page or file is do we need this? If you think the answer’s no, check your analytics and search logs and ask the content owner.

3. Update content

You’ll probably have an idea of what content needs updating, but the audit will force you to review everything. It’ll throw light on those obscure corners of the website you’d forgotten about.

Information ages quite naturally, but sometimes something unpredictable happens. For example, a new government might make changes to the National Curriculum, so your children’s reading advice pages might need updating.

Often content owners will come to you with changes, but it’s ultimately your responsibility to make sure everything’s up to date. And it’s a good thing when you show enough interest in other people’s content to ask questions about it.

The first content audit I did for Suffolk Libraries was a major piece of work, but it was really important to get a handle on the website. Now it’s a relatively painless way to keep the site lean and healthy.