If you don’t clean your house from time to time, it’ll transform into a mess. The same thing goes for websites (even if it’s not as evident). Over time, posts become outdated, images stop loading, links get broken, and much more. If you don’t carry out a website content audit from time to time, things can get out of hand.
The idea of a site audit is to catch all those previously mentioned issues and fix them promptly. It can be a lot of work, depending on how large your website is, but it’ll also improve your visitor’s experience – which should always be your primary goal.
In this article, we’re going to talk a bit more about what content reviews are and why they’re so important. Then we’ll go over four steps to a basic website content audit. Let’s get the ball rolling!
What is a content review (and how can it help you)?
The idea of a content review or audit for your website is to give it an inspection from top to bottom, to check if anything is out of place. When it comes to sites, this can mean elements such as:
- Outdated posts
- Broken links and images
- Pages in need of a redesign
- Duplicate content that could be merged together
For example, let’s say you published a blog post about the best WordPress web hosts in 2018. The problem is, these types of rankings shift constantly, so if you want to provide your visitors with the most accurate information, you’d need to update the post annually.
A website content audit would help you identify the issue, so you can take steps to correct it. Ideally, it’s a process you’ll revisit every few months, just to make sure your website’s content is up to date and everything’s working as it should. It can take a while, depending on how extensive your content library is, but it can also help you keep visitors happy – so it’s a necessity.
How to perform a website content audit (in 4 steps)
The idea of a website content audit can sound intimidating, so let’s break it down into four simple steps you can tackle when it comes time for your audit.
1. Look for broken links on your website
Links are a key component of every site. Without them, you can’t navigate from page to page, link visitors to the information they need, or work on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Of course, websites change over time, which can cause problems. For example, you could be linking to an external site that went offline, or you delete a page and forget to update the links. In any case, when a visitor finds a broken link, it reflects negatively on you.
Updating a link only takes seconds. The difficult part is figuring out if there are any broken links within your site in the first place. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools you can use to help you spot broken links. For WordPress users, the easiest option is the Broken Link Checker plugin:
2. Identify repetitive content and merge it
After running a site for a while, you’ll likely end up publishing content that treads ground you’ve previously covered.
To build on our earlier example, imagine that instead of updating our post about the best budget WordPress web hosts, we published a new one. Technically, this would also ‘work’. However, visitors may get confused if you publish more than one article dealing with the exact same topic.
Given this, take a look at your WordPress post library and check for duplicate content. However, when you find some, don’t just delete one of the posts – instead, look for a way to merge their content into a single publication.
With this approach, you can try and build an ultimate resource for a specific topic (much like the Skyscraper Technique recommends). If you play your cards right, you can end up with a blog post that gets a lot more traffic than its two parents combined.
Whenever you “merge” two posts, you’ll want to use a 301 redirect to send traffic from the weaker post to the new version.
3. Check your posts for incorrect information and update them
Consider publishing a post about how to use the WordPress editor, including detailed instructions. For years, the editor worked much the same way:
The takeaway is, no matter how well-written and researched your posts are, they can become outdated. It’s your job to keep an eye on information that’s no longer correct and update it within your content. This way, visitors who browse your website won’t become misinformed.
Also, it’s important to remember that sharing incorrect information can make you look unprofessional. To make sure this doesn’t happen, work your way through old posts from time to time, stopping to check if you think any of them need to get an update.
4. Review your post and page taxonomies
As you might know, WordPress lets you use categories and tags to organize your site’s content. The larger your library grows, the more complex these organization options can become.
In our experience, it’s all too common to end up with a mess of tags and categories, of which many don’t get much use. The problem is, categories and tags can impact your SEO, so you want to make sure they are as accurate as possible.
For starters, head to your dashboard’s Categories and Tags tabs, within the Posts section. Inside, you’ll find lists of all the categories and tags you’ve created. To the right, you can see a section called Count, which shows you how many posts fall under each category.
Generally speaking, if a category or a tag has a low or non-existent count, you probably can delete it and move those posts to a broader category that gets more use.
If an alternative isn’t readily available, you might need to merge tags or categories – which you can do by creating new ones, and reassigning posts to them.
A lot of people think that running a website is all about publishing new content and reaping the rewards. However, there’s much more to the process. To keep your site from becoming a mess, you need to take the time to regularly check that all of your content is up to date, and everything’s working as it should.
This process is a website content audit, and a basic one involves at least the following four steps:
- Look for broken links within your website.
- Identify repetitive content and merge it.
- Check your posts for out-of-date (or incorrect) information.
- Review your categories and tags.
Do you have any questions about how to perform a website content audit? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!