When you have a blog, or a writing website of any kind, and you come back from sabbatical, one of the first things you need to do is complete a content audit. In order to complete a content audit, you’ll need to understand it. What this idea boils down to is going through the process of evaluating content elements.
Now I know what you’re thinking, audits are horrible, but I promise that this isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Besides, it’s all your own creation right? If you can’t enjoy reading your own posts, you shouldn’t post it for someone else to read. But reading every post you have to find the less than decent ones would be extremely time consuming, not to mention hard to organize.
So here’s my method of tackling this huge, yet crucial, task.
The first thing you need to do is make sure you know what your website is about. If you have a business, you already know. If like me you just have a website for a blog, think about your theme. I started my blog originally for creative writing, but after a year off for a new job, I realized I could be putting my site to better use with the knowledge I have that could be helping others. For me, I added a page and a category that will separate my more professional writing from my creative outlet.
Secondly, you need to do a thorough check of your content stats. There are a few steps to the second checklist. The key factors you should look for are the following:
- Run traffic stats for each post. But what is website traffic? Website traffic just tells you how many visitors your pages are getting. Thankfully WordPress has tools to show you this kind of information. It even tells you where in the world your visitors are coming from! I have yet to find a use for that information, but it’s really cool to see where my page is popping up. These stats will let you know which topics are doing well and which aren’t so hot.
- Reevaluate target keywords where needed. Your keywords are the very words that bring people to your website from places like Google, and Bing. This factor falls under the SEM umbrella. The definition of Search Engine Marketing has evolved over the years, so it really depends on how you want to view things, or how your hired marketing agency views things. Most of the things I’ve found seem to lump in paid search and organic search into the same SEM group. So figure out which keywords are drawing people in more, and maybe edit the ones that aren’t.
- How much engagement does each post have? You can check the number of visitors on each post, but you can also look at your stats and see how many people have liked, commented, or shared your post. During this process you want to make sure you have social share buttons on each of your posts. If you’re not getting a lot of interaction and you have all your sharing features turned on, you need to take a closer look at the content on that page.
Ok, now what? I know which posts and pages are ranking better than others, what do I do with that? Simple, you move to the third stage of the audit and put it them in categories. It’s just like cleaning out your closet. There’s things you keep, things that can’t be saved, and things that someone else could use. Your content is the same. Can you keep it, improve it, or does it just need to go? This is also where you have to keep your website theme in mind, is there something that’s so left field it doesn’t fit? Probably time to trash it. Or start a new blog?
The forth stage of the audit is to inspect your media. Do you have any old images or videos that need to be switched out? Have you used the same image multiple times? Do all of your images seem to be of the same style? How many pictures of laptops do you have? People on their cell phones? Yeah, I’m guilty of it too. This could be the time to update your photos too. How old is that picture of you? Do you need to update it? Yeah, me too.
And the last thing to do for the content audit is by far the most tedious. The URL dump. WordPress has a business level for their site subscriptions that seem to have a feature to do this for you, but if you’re like me, you have to opt for manual. Take every link to ever page, post, or reference to your website, and stick it in a Google doc.
- How many links do you have that point away from your site? Do you need this link? If it’s a reference to avoid plagiarism or stealing of any kind, definitely keep it. But maybe add it as a footnote for those who are interested? Can any be replaced to route to another of your own articles? This is how you keep people on your site, by leading them to your site.
- How many links do you have that keep your users internal? Any time you can point back to your own website, do it. You don’t want your whole page to be covered in hyperlinks, but if you have another article that would support what you’re saying, you could link it!
- Are all of your links functional? If you have broken links, they need to be replaced or deleted. That drives me crazy when I go to a website and I click on a link and get that 404 error, website not found message. On the same wave length, do your links lead where they are supposed to? If I click a link that says I’m going to get redirected to a page with character profile worksheets and really get directed to a page that has a long post about this tv show I’ve never heard of, I’ll be mad. I will be far less likely to come back to that site in the future.
So there you have it. A content audit in a nutshell. Questions? Concerns? Wanna chat more about this? Need a hand? Subscribe, or like, or fill out the contact form here. And good luck!