A content audit gives you an independent review and a chance to see things from the customers’ point of view so you know how well your website is serving your visitors.
Your website is probably your most important marketing asset. And if you have an e-commerce site, then it is even more crucial that it is the best it can be.
Having a website that is responsive i.e. it automatically resizes when viewed on mobile devices; that loads quickly and that has fresh, relevant content is vital if you are to attract visitors and keep them on your site long enough to transact.
Whilst you need content that interests your target audience, the way you write your text also needs to be in keeping with your overall brand image. Doing that takes skill.
When was the last time you audited the content on your website?
Last week? Last month? Never?
What do I mean by audited?
I think all websites should be refreshed regularly. You don’t have to make wholesale changes to every page but it does mean adding a new blog or news story as a minimum. Whilst experts debate the pros and cons of whether doing so improves your SEO, your visitors will thank you for fresh copy and keeping your site up-to-date. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than seeing that a site hasn’t been updated for months. That tells me the owner doesn’t care.
However, to me, an audit or review is a much more thorough and most importantly, independent assessment of your website.
As the site owner, you are too close to it to experience it like your customers or potential customers do. That is why it pays to have an unbiased third party look over your site.
What does the 6As content audit do?
There are different approaches to conducting a content audit, depending on the objective.
For example, if the website belongs to an organisation that has hundreds of employees, with multiple authors creating and editing pages of content, the approach will be different from auditing the work of one person.
In this article, I am focusing on the latter. However, if you would like more information about how to conduct a review of a large site, with multiple authors, please contact me to discuss.
The 6As approach is a system I have created for helping you to determine if your website is:
- Adding value to your business
- Accessible to your target market
- Asking your audience to take action
When you commission a 6As content audit I review your home page and landing pages (other pages by arrangement) against these six criteria. I then prepare a report which outlines how well your website is performing in each area, along with recommendations for improvements.
Adding value to your business
The most important question to answer is whether your website is adding value to your business. Is it working hard enough? Is it having the desired effect i.e. bringing in the leads or sales you are looking for?
Do you receive comments on your site from customers and do they leave you positive reviews?
This part of the audit looks both at navigation and how accessible the content is.
Customers want to find their way around your site. Labels should be clear and intuitive. If a visitor moves off one page, it should be clear how they can navigate backwards and where they are within the site at all times. Accessibility also looks at how well your site meets the needs of a diverse audience.
You should have a clear idea of who you are targeting with your website. The more specific you are, the better you will be able to tailor the content and the style of writing on your webpages.
If you want to attract a young male audience, then you would use a very different vocabulary to what you would use to speak to middle-aged women.
The 6As content audit will assess the suitability of your content and writing style for your chosen audience.
Following on from the above point, appropriateness analyses how well your content, tone and brand image is serving your audience and your business.
Part of developing your brand identity is defining your tone of voice. This means that the way you write should be consistent across everything that you do. If a customer reads your social media posts, a blog, the words on your webpages or an article in a newsletter, they should portray a consistent image of your company.
The way to do that is to define your brand values and create a style of writing that reflects them. For example, if you value fun and creativity, then you want the way you write to be fun and creative, rather than formal. The important thing is to be consistent. You don’t want to have a quirky personality on Instagram and then a serious website. This would alienate your followers and confuse them.
For further help on defining your brand values see my previous blog “How are you making a difference in the world?”.
The next part of the content audit is to look at the accuracy of the information on your website. You may well be the technical expert on your subject but the review will take an holistic view of the quality of the content on your site and comment on the overall impression it gives the visitor.
When a visitor lands on a page on your website, there should be a clear call to action. Why are they there? What do you want them to do? The content audit will review how well you engage with your web traffic and the extent to which you guide them to fulfil an action or transaction.
The next step
Following the content audit, I will give you a report of my findings along with a set of recommendations for improvements. These will be steps you can take yourself or if you wish, I can make the changes for you. The important thing is that you take that next step. Your customers and your business will thank you for it.
Book your content audit and be confident that your website is showing your company in its best light.