Simple Content Audits

When starting any redesign of a current website, you need to know the existing content you have to work with. It's the building blocks of starting a lessons learned about what worked on the current site and what didn't so you can build a better site moving forward. Complete documentation always helps when you're not exactly sure what you need moving forward.

Grabbing all the content

I ran iStrategyLabs.com through the Content Analysis Tool, which crawls through the site grabbing all the pages and providing data including how many images, media and documents are on a page. This was a lot more thorough than going through the istrategylabs.com site by hand and listing the pages in a spreadsheet.

After I imported the information from the Content Analysis Tool into a Google spreadsheet, I organized the pages to reflect our existing sitemap. This was just to confirm that the tool worked as I intended and I had all the information necessary to move forward.

Gathering Observations

Doing an audit on existing pages, images, media and documents is great, but it isn't enough. After you have all the content, you need to go through and identify the good and not so great parts about your current content. These are the things I looked for after all the pages on the site were listed and organized into a format reflecting our current sitemap.

  1. Duplicate information

    This ones pretty straightforward. We found several instances of pages created for the intention of redirects. Also, several blog posts were created as project recaps when they really should've been work case studies.

  2. Pages that were created as a temporary solution.

    As mentioned above, project recap posts would be created in addition to work pages. Since our work section couldn't accommodate an explanation of our process, or more than a couple of paragraphs and a dozen images, blog posts were used to supplement. On our new site, we're planning on doing only case studies for all new work, solving the disconnect between work and blog posts.

    Another outlier was the link to the case study deck underneath work. I flagged that as another place where new pages were being adapted to suit needs instead of the site working for us.

  3. Understanding the breadth of existing content

    I had initially thought our site would have a lot of hidden and superfluous pages, but it ended up being straightforward. Our biggest content, not surprisingly, came from blog posts and work, followed by team bios, author pages and categories. Our blog is a HUGE deal. Just imagine if all the teams wrote regularly, and not just strategy & clever girl.

  4. Content in wrong areas

    As mentioned before, our work content also existed on our blog, along with a huge amount of physical experiments that could've been more highlighted.

  5. Keep/Kill

    If you removed this section, could the site still exist and make sense?

    We had a lengthy debate in our kickoff meeting on whether we should keep or kill individual team bios. The real question you should be asking when doing a content audit is what value that content is added to a site overall.

Evaluating the quality of content

After the types of content to trim from the site and reorganizing similar content into more sensible areas, you still need to evaluate if the content on the site is any good. Simply having these pages and content on the pages isn't enough. The content and types of content have to be great enough to keep users on the site and get them interested. Is the about page written in the best way to attract clients and potential hires? Does the work section present information in a way that entices users to keep looking or get in content with us?

As a designer, one of my primary goals in evaluating content is to help create a design that supports the copy and the audience it was written for. Creating a solid, cohesive experience depends entirely on the content working alongside the targeted design.

What next?

Now that there's great base documented, new content can be written to fill gaps and ux design can easily get started with wireframes based on identified content types needed on existing and new pages.