If you’ve been in business for a while now, you may have lots of content living on your website. And even though it seems like you wrote that blog post about how to work with a graphic designer last month, it was actually five years ago!
This is the boat I’m in. I have been blogging since 2010, and amassed 125 blog posts since then. (This is how I’ve blogged consistently for almost 10 years.) Though I’ve revamped my website and its main-page-content several times in the last few years, I just let the blog posts float.
Since we’re entering a new decade, I’m going to do a content audit to:
- get a handle on all my posts
- make sure they are still relevant and reflecting my business the way I want them to
What exactly is a web content audit?
I was inspired from this article from Yoast. Here’s what to expect:
Some content might be evergreen, meaning it worked then and it works now like my post about saying goodbye to your “info” email address.
Some content might need a refresh like this post originally published in 2016 on how to evaluate your web content. This post is still useful, and it would be good to add newer findings to it. The same is true for my Tools I Love post originally published in 2014.
Maybe you’ve got older stuff that was applicable at the time but less-so now, or your opinion has changed (yes, that’s allowed!). Perhaps you have deeper insight now, or maybe the technology or landscape has evolved.
If you make minor changes to a post, just updating the post will suffice (the Last-Modified date in WordPress will change and the Publish date will stay the same).
If you’ve completely overhauled and revised the content, you may consider changing the Publish date to the current date. Just be sure to delete any old comments if you don’t mention that the post has been updated. Otherwise, it may seem strange that comments are much older than the post date.
Some content might just be plain-old-obsolete! If a page is no longer useful, it can be a good idea to delete it. This chart tells you when to delete (or republish) and provides some smart tips on how to do it most efficiently.
Deleting or updating URLs is something to pay attention to as you always want to keep Google apprised of where pages lives on your website. Plus, you don’t want your visitors hitting a 404 page if you can help it. You can use the free Redirection WordPress plugin to assist with this.
For me, I had an old post with a Shutterfly slideshow I made when my son turned one. That was nine years ago! Having this content on my site wasn’t providing value to my readers, so I removed it. I had another post about a photo shoot for a client in 2011 that included a funny photo but no real value. This content wasn’t providing any useful information so into the trash it went.
Since I had no alternative posts or pages on my site to redirect these posts, Yoast says to use a 410 content deleted header to tell Google that I removed the URL on purpose. This should make Google remove that URL from its index much sooner than a 404 would.
Some content might benefit from being combined. Maybe there are posts over the years that were separate, but now it makes sense to combine them.
I had a series of blog posts about website calls-to-action. These posts were all decked out with Santa-themed graphics because they were published in December. Thinking about them now, this content would be more valuable in one longer post with an illustration that works all year long.
Content should get to evolve just like our businesses and websites do!
The thing about business is that it’s always changing, and if we are just leaving our content stuck where it was, it might not be serving us as well as it could (from an information perspective, or from an SEO perspective).
Another benefit of a content audit? If you’re running out of new ideas, you can tweak old content and re-release it. Your reader may not have even seen that original post from 2012!
I’m excited to make sure that all of my past posts are aligning with my current goals and beliefs—and step into 2020 fresh.
Who’s joining me?