A website content audit might sound intimidating, but it’s actually a straightforward resource for keeping your website in top shape. A content audit helps you collect and evaluate every piece of content that currently exists on your site: what it is, where it lives, and what it’s for. Once you’ve got everything in one place, the content audit template helps you decide what you should archive, repurpose, and create in the future.
According to Nonprofit Source, 66% of charities are worried that they’re missing out on ways to fundraise online. However, they commonly overlook an opportunity that already exists: improving the fundraising channels that already exist. And, for most, their website is a great place to focus. Here’s how to make it happen:
So, what can a website content audit do for you? We’ll walk you through the benefits.
Improve Your SEO
If your site’s SEO (search engine optimization) isn’t up to speed, you’re leaving money on the table. If donors can’t find you, how will they know how or why to donate to you?
Search engines exist to help internet users find the most relevant information as quickly as possible, and they’re getting better at their jobs. That means that if your content isn’t easily connected to your key search terms, you’ll be nudged out of search results by other websites who have taken the time to optimize their content.
Luckily, it’s never too late to improve your search engine rankings, and it’s not as complicated as it might seem. Our content audit worksheet can help you analyze and organize your content; once you’ve got everything accounted for, you can make decisions about which well-performing pieces to keep and improve, and which low-performing pieces could stand to retire.
Re-align Your Content With Your Organization
Just like issues, sectors, and human beings, organizations evolve over time. That’s usually a good thing—it reflects growth and perspective!—but it can also mean that your website becomes outdated before you know it. Knowing how to do a content audit can help you stay current.
As you’ll see, the content audit worksheet includes different columns to help you assess the alignment of each piece of content on your site.
As you perform your audit, notice the key messages column. Do they speak to who you are today? If so, use the accuracy, quality and relevance columns to further assess whether a page is useful. They’ll provide some insight that will help you decide whether it should be updated, recycled or deleted.
- Accuracy: Is the content up-to-date, on-message, and factually correct?
- Quality: Does the content follow best practices for writing for the web? Does it apply your brand voice, follow your style guide, and include user-centric language?
- Relevance: Is this content relevant to the organization’s current strategic and business objectives? Is the content useful to the reader?
When to Update Content
Page views are important, but the timing of the spikes in page views is equally important. Take a look at the Google Analytics for one of your best-performing pages. Are there any noticeable spikes in traffic? If so, when did they occur? What kind of traffic is it getting now?
There are many possible explanations for why a page might perform well over one period and not another. But, since the simplest answer is often correct, the first question to ask yourself should be “Is this page no longer performing because it’s just outdated?” Your visitors want content that’s new and relevant; sometimes, a simple update is all that’s needed to make a page fresh and inviting again.
When to Recycle Content
Do you have a report, guide or long-form blog post that’s performing well? If so, we have good news: there’s probably a way to give that existing content new life! That’s because most content can be reimagined and adapted to multiple formats:
- Blog post
- Slide deck
- Template or worksheet
- Social media post
As an example, consider how you could recycle content from your annual report. Turn your impact statistics into an infographic, write some social media posts about your featured case studies, or use standout achievements to support calls-to-action throughout your website! You’ll increase engagement—which not only builds relationships with your supporters, but also helps boost online donations.
When to Delete Content
Sometimes, content isn’t just unhelpful—it can actually be harmful. Duplicate pages, hopelessly outdated content, or content that just isn’t purposeful can actually be penalized by search engines, so make sure to use the content audit process to weed out anything that isn’t improving your site’s relevance to your audience. If you’re having trouble parting with your content, make use of redirects.
Be Content-Ready for a Website Redesign
As you progress through your content edit, you’ll have a clearer picture of just how much content you have on your website. (We’ll bet that it’s more than you expected!)
Maybe your current goal is simply to improve your existing website—and the content audit is a foundational tool for that. But there’s more good news: your content audit will also be a crucial part of any website overhaul that might be on the horizon.
Choosing which content to migrate over to a new site is rarely an easy task, and juggling it while you’re also managing every other aspect of the process can be overwhelming! By taking the time to organize and assess your content ahead of time, you’ll be even more prepared for the process of a website redesign when the time comes—saving you time, money, and a lot of potential confusion.
In other words: whether you’re approaching a redesign, in the midst of one, or might take one on someday (and we’d argue that everyone with a website falls into one of these categories), the content audit is your trusty BFF. In fact, we suggest performing a new edit regularly—bi-annually is ideal—to make sure you’re seeing your content clearly.