How To Audit Your Content Strategy For A Website Redesign
If your business goals have shifted or changed recently, or if you’re preparing to enter a new segment of your market, a website redesign is likely to be on your radar. Companies that are trying to maintain their competitive edge and stay on top of trends understand the importance of keeping a fresh image that maintains viewers’ focus.
The look and feel of your website is a vital component when it comes to a brand’s image and the feelings that the brand evokes in its current and potential customers.
After all, that’s what consumers see.
But, in reality, the content matters just as much, if not more, than that fancy banner you designed.
So, where do you start assessing what content stays on the refreshed website, what’s missing that’s holding you back from ranking for your best keywords, and how does your teamwork collaboratively set the right goals and metrics to move your company forward?
Let’s begin with why your content plan is a critical component of your redesign process.
Why You May Need To Audit Your Current Content Strategy For Redesign
The past 18+ months are a perfect example of how everything we know and trust can change on a dime and how websites must continue to evolve and adapt as the world changes.
As the Coronavirus pandemic took the world into unchartered territory, businesses and nonprofits everywhere had to pivot their digital content to fit the growing demands of online meetings, virtual events, and millions of employees looking for resources around remote work.
During the beginning of the pandemic and throughout, think about all the businesses that had to close their doors to physical customers that would come in day in and day out. What would be the smart way to keep these customers coming back even if it meant no face-to-face interaction for a while?
Well, the answer, to state the blindingly obvious, is the use of a user-friendly website. (Duh!)
Integrated Customer Interaction Options
A well-designed site that has options for customer interaction online is a business that is going to stay afloat and thrive. Having online options provided for your customers, whether it is through an online shopping platform, virtual event calendar, or a social media campaign is what keeps your business interesting and still makes you feel like you can conduct business as usual.
As of March 2020, the beginning of lockdowns worldwide, there was a record-breaking download of 62 million video conferencing apps in one week.
So, suppose you’re a business or organization that focuses on remote work, and your website doesn’t reference the option of virtual meetings or provide video conferencing app instructions. In that case, your audience is likely to take notice and find the information elsewhere.
In short, those who took swift action to complete:
- Content inventory
- Assess competitor content
- Identify content gaps where they could outshine the competition
…fared much better than those who stuck with static content that was of little use during the pandemic.
Auditing your current content isn’t reserved for pandemics, however.
Developing digital content is an essential part of any operation. Information is constantly changing, especially in the technology field.
As companies iterate design features, algorithms change, and security concerns grow, the supporting resources from all types of companies must also adapt.
Furthermore, being the go-to resource in your niche or industry is invaluable, and it often requires consistently appearing on page one of search engine results.
Consider the following…
Popular content strategies like educational articles, comparison blog posts evaluating at least two industry products, and editorial content with solid or controversial opinions all perform well in the current algorithms and help to further a company’s online authority.
And, with Google’s system of rewarding sites with quality backlinks, ‘skyscraper’ posts that aim to exceed all other related content with their ability to build quality links and create exceptional content that cannot be found elsewhere, started increasing.
However, these are easily duplicated or subject to becoming out of date quickly.
With all of those options, content inventories or content catalogs help website owners keep a pulse on their content to ensure it remains relevant and authoritative.
This type of audit also means that website redesigns result in creating effective and efficient digital platforms that serve as the center of an organization’s marketing plan.
Otherwise, without an audit, even the best content is likely to become outdated, unlikely to be shared on social media platforms, and result in a static website with declining traffic and dismal conversion rates.
Brainstorm Possible Redesign Ideas
A website redesign is a viable alternative to a complete overhaul when the problem is more about content than structure.
For instance, if you’re a professional speaker and your website has no current mention of virtual speaking rates or opportunities, this is primarily a content issue, not a design issue.
In this case, a complete website overhaul is not likely to be necessary – a simple content catalog exercise, along with creating new website content that addresses the new service, will suffice.
In this particular example, the market trends around reducing in-person events dictate that to be successful in this field (at least in the short-term), meeting the consumer’s need for location flexibility is critical.
This type of redesign is minimal and probably requires only minor adjustments to both the content and its strategy.
Sometimes user feedback also leads to a website redesign, even if the market itself hasn’t shifted. For example, a city website that serves its residents, potential visitors, and prospective new businesses must effectively communicate with each of these unique audiences.
Suppose the city’s leadership receives consistent feedback that information is difficult to find on the website or that specific website functionality like a form is not working correctly. In that case, this can be a catalyst for a redesign of large or small proportions.
It’s also possible that while your messaging hasn’t changed, the marketing channels on which you operate or on which your audience resides are dictating a redesign or refresh of your current content.
Long-form content like blog posts work great when shared in small snippets on Facebook or via email; however, if your business is moving toward Twitter as a primary social media platform, your website content may need to be revised.
— HubSpot (@HubSpot) November 24, 2020
Likewise, social media algorithms continue to change without notice; content strategies must evolve on short notice to remain effective and relevant.
Regardless of the catalyst for change, a content audit is a necessary first step in a website redesign and will save you valuable resources in the long run.
Select Outcome Criteria
Suppose a business is operating inside a silo and not taking advantage of the many digital tools to receive, analyze and measure user feedback. In that case, there’s a significant risk of missing prime opportunities to serve new audiences and grow existing outreach.
Not only do market conditions change over time, but so do consumer preferences and competitor offerings.
For instance, the evolution of online shopping tells the story of how businesses who refused to adapt or pivot became irrelevant or lost massive amounts of business to companies who conformed to customer demands.
Some of the best ways to keep a pulse on what audiences want includes:
- Engage in social listening
- Receive and evaluate customer reviews
- Spend time analyzing data received through customer support calls or chatbots
- Focus on the user-centered design
Use Readily Available Data
For example, suppose the web page you created to target senior adults receives 50% less traffic than the prior year. In that case, it’s possible that the page needs updating with new keywords or that your team needs to re-evaluate the social media channels promoting the site.
Behavioral analytics that respect privacy boundaries are beneficial for companies to understand what consumers want, what they expect to find, and how competitors are using the same information to capture the audience.
A vital component of any content audit must include a process to evaluate current data trends and determine the best outcome criteria for new content strategies.
When you understand what your audience wants and how that information translates into higher conversion rates, the ability to redefine your content strategy dramatically improves.
In addition to the popular suite of tools already mentioned, companies can also use the on-page search results to understand consumer goals and expectations, which helps marketers set key performance indicators (KPI) and other relevant metrics.
Having defined outcome criteria that quantify your content goals and provide a framework for measuring success is critical in the website redesign process.
You may also want to read: 6 Tips to Consider When Updating Your eCommerce Website
In addition to outcome criteria to measure quantitative data, you must set specific, qualitative goals to effectively audit your content strategy and prepare for a website redesign.
Otherwise, you’re likely to spend weeks or even months evaluating the content, curating resources, and making plans that ultimately won’t solve your ideal customers’ problems.
Setting qualitative and customer-focused goals requires well-defined documentation of your ideal customer’s problem, your company’s solution, and how the content you create leads the visitor through the customer journey.
It’s like viewing the business using a wide-angle lens to more accurately see how each outcome metric fits into the larger goals.
Notice the focus here is not on the numbers but on how the content moves the customer toward taking a specific action. The numeric targets support your big-picture goals and help you measure success.
As an example, here’s a look at a few blog content goals for a website design business.
- All posts must relate to one of the primary service areas.
- Every post must include at least one non-paid resource for the customer and one way to work with the business in the next 12 months.
- All content (web page, posts, etc.) must further the customer’s knowledge and build on the business’s topic authority.
Specific goals related to the business’s core functions and services ensure that future content creation strategies will align with the most profitable parts of the company.
Otherwise, without these specific goals, you’ll find yourself right back in the “need to audit” space sooner than you’d like.
Understand How You’ll Record The Process
Like any auditing process, there will likely be surprises along the way and information revealed that will be useful in other aspects of the business. Before undertaking any content audit, it’s imperative to create a system to document:
- What you need to learn
- What needs to be removed due to outdated or irrelevant information
- What needs to be revised or updated
- What content gaps exist and need to be addressed
- Decisions made that may affect future website redesign projects
A successful content audit results in an innovative and fresh look at every aspect of the content marketing strategy and clarifies future steps.
Of course, it’s unrealistic to expect this to be a one-time process, and by documenting the process, future website redesigns will be even more efficient and effective.
A wide range of digital tools is available to simplify this process. For example, you can integrate your CMS website with one of Excel integrations. Or, a simple Google Sheet will suffice in recording your work with columns to reflect publication dates, keywords, calls-to-action, tags or categories, and any outbound or affiliate links.
It’s also helpful to include a reference to which business line the content relates. Then, if that particular business line changes or ceases to exist, the content can easily be removed or edited to reflect the change.
Is Your Team Up To Speed?
If it’s not apparent yet, the work of an effective, robust content audit is not likely to be successful without the collaboration of a diverse team.
From content writers and SEO professionals to developers, designers, salespeople, marketers, and customer support team members, everyone has a role in defining the company’s content strategies and communicating them effectively.
It’s essential that your team, regardless of size or expertise, has access to the data that will drive content changes and understands how the information has been gathered and documented.
Like every team member must understand the company’s overall mission and vision, the team must also embrace the project’s scope, purpose, and goals.
This mindset may require leaders to evaluate:
- The team’s current digital tools
- Communication methods
- Project management skills
…and make necessary changes to foster an environment where collaboration can thrive.
As you might imagine, the larger the project, the more robust tools are required to manage information flow effectively. For example, a shared Google doc might have been great for that small client proposal collaboration.
However, website redesign projects require tools that streamline feedback and enable all users to remain focused on the end goals without distraction.
As the need for online and remote project management has increased, so has the diversity of the tools available.
HubSpot: Best for Large Companies or Organizations
HubSpot’s CRM platform has all the tools and integrations you need for marketing, sales, content management, and customer service. HubSpot’s genius comes in having multiple mechanisms that work together seamlessly to provide information across your entire business.
From marketing and service to customer solutions, operations and sales, HubSpot offers a wide range of services and platforms to integrate all of your solutions and help your team establish workflows and communication frameworks to manage current and future projects.
A comprehensive website redesign project may encompass your marketing team, sales team, and back-office operations staff at different points throughout the project. These particular tools help all of those segments stay organized and keep team members accountable.
If HubSpot is not in your price range, feel free to explore HubSpot alternatives that might make more sense for a smaller team.
Notion: Great for Creatives and Smaller Teams
Notion is redefining what it means to have information at your fingertips. Accessible for personal accounts and affordable for small teams, Notion combines:
- Your style guides
- Company history
- Team projects with workflows
- Customizable tables
- Documents created to work in the ways you define
- Great for visual communication
Instead of forcing you into templates that don’t fit your business, Notion is the perfect place to keep website redesign notes, content ideas, and business goals side-by-side for quick reference and easy sharing.
Avoma: Great for SMBs and Mid-Market teams
Avoma automatically records, transcribes, and analyzes all your internal and customer-facing conversations and helps you understand what resonates with your prospects and customers. Thus all your content can stem from a strong sense of customer understanding and empathy.
- Meeting agenda templates (to speed up meeting preparation)
- Asynchronous feedback loops between your internal teams
- Conversation Intelligence
- Optimization for your workflow
Instead of forcing you to take notes and distracting you from customer conversations, Avoma automates all your low-value tasks and helps you focus on what matters the most.
Asana: Ideal for Visual Learners and Project Managers
Asana can help you forge better relationships with teams, organize assignments, and meet deadlines, especially if you’re a visual learner.
Built to help you manage your team’s work, projects, and tasks and see them in a streamlined, visual chart, Asana is flexible enough for just about any project or any size team to use.
For large website redesign projects and content strategy management, Asana’s project management workflow tools can help you tag assignments, manage deadlines, collaborate on ideas, and encourage real-time feedback.
Recommended Resources For Your Next Website Redesign
There was a time when a website redesign meant swapping out some graphics, adding a few new pages, and maybe refreshing the design.
Today, in a business environment where consumers expect to find the information they need in less time and with less work, those old techniques are no longer valid.
When it comes to redesigning your company’s website, auditing your content strategy is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure that it is optimized to attract your ideal customers.
It’s also wise to stay informed about upcoming website trends and what consumers expect from the companies they trust.
And, once you have your content strategy in place, spend some time exploring the best web development tools to help you master the design process, as well.
When you evaluate your current content, decide on the outcome criteria and specific goals of your new website, and learn how to document the process within team collaboration tools, your website redesign will be poised to see new traffic, higher conversion rates, and be a tool you’re proud to share with others.
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- How To Audit Your Content Strategy For A Website Redesign - January 11, 2022