How often do you add updates to your wardrobe? How often do you update your smartphone? Why shouldn’t you be just as proactive to regularly update your website content? After all, your website is likely the primary lead generating machine for your business. Therefore, you should ensure it is operating at an optimum level.
I know, a website content audit sounds like a cumbersome chore. But it doesn’t have to be like that. If the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, then the most effective way to audit and update your website content is to take each step one at a time. Why not plan the steps and carry them out over the next several weeks moving into the new year?
Here’s a handy guide to follow that will suggest actions and how to schedule them. Implement this and by the end of January, you could have a completely revamped website operating at maximum effectiveness.
Week 1: Perform a Content Review
Spend some time this week and review your content. Look at your tracking data to see which pages and blog posts performed the highest over the past year. Also look for those older, non-performing pages and posts. Then, create a list of pages and posts that need updating. Some may have started out on fire, then petered out. Others may have never done well.
On your list, record the keywords for each page and post. Make a note to research data for newer, updated content on the subjects your material covers. Stats can be out of date, as well as some procedures or best practices. New laws can change how subjects or topics are addressed. Make extensive notes about any changes you find.
Remember, this week you are gathering data. Don’t make changes to anything yet. If you invest an hour per day, this gives you 5-7 hours to invest in auditing your content to discover its relevancy. Prepare yourself to be surprised.
Week 2: Obtain User Feedback
Week one’s chores may even run into week two, and if so, don’t sweat it. You want to make your updates based on solid data. A part of that involves gathering user feedback, too. What do your website and/or blog users like about your site and its content? What do they not like? What do they wish you provided? Why?
Prepare a brief questionnaire for website users to complete. Send it to your email list and offer some small incentive for users to complete the survey. Make it as easy as possible for users to participate. You may even consider implementing a pop-up box containing a brief survey on each page of your site or blog. These can be great for gathering data.
Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions or receive harsh responses. This is the time to look at your site’s content with a critical eye. Only when you admit what is broken or needing improvement can you make the necessary changes. Put on your big boy/girl pants and accept the comments and suggestions from users.
I would also suggest asking a few close friends or business associates to review your site content and share their insights. This can be valuable, and you know their responses will be given in the right spirit, to help you elevate your content to premium levels.
Week 3: Begin Updating Content – Keyword Research
You should have completed your own audit by now, and user feedback will continue to roll in for weeks, so it’s time to begin updates. You already listed keywords for each page and post. Now, perform some research and see if the existing keywords are still relevant. Times change and so do popular keywords in searches, even for the same information.
This is also a great time to optimize your content for voice searches. Many consumers now use electronic assistants at home or the voice search feature on their smartphones. These searches tend to look very different from typical typed Google searches. Brush up on your voice search techniques and optimize every page and post for voice search.
Remember, it’s usually not wise to choose expensive keywords that large companies are trending with. You may do better choosing keywords that are less popular and not being used by your competitors. And remember to include local references in your content, if you have a physical location where consumers can shop or obtain your services.
Week 4: Continue Updating Content – Update Keywords & Content
Depending on how many web pages and blog posts make up your site, this process may take some time. As you update keywords, be sure to add new or updated content that is current and relevant. New stats, new laws, new storytelling or conversational paragraphs that illustrate your points all vastly improve your content. Google and your site users will appreciate these changes.
Here are some other suggestions:
- Update your on-page SEO
- Remove irrelevant content
- Update meta descriptions using the new keywords
- Update images or screenshots, including meta data with keywords
- Check and replace internal and external links if necessary, with newer, better references
- Update the page or post CTA with newer, better, or more relevant offers or actions
Always place a disclaimer on updated pages and posts letting users know that the data is new. This is especially important if the post date is older, or the page contains comments from users that are dated. I recommend placing a brief update notice including the date at the top and bottom of your pages.
Also, if you include click-to-tweets or share buttons, be sure to update them to include the fact that your page or post now includes updated information.
Week 5: Continue Updating Content – Add New Elements
In addition to beefing up the content of your pages and posts, what new elements can you add to take them to the next level? Spend this week adding images, infographics, audio, and video to your content. This can also be a long-term process that includes an assistant or another creative professional creating content for your material.
Audio and video are crazy popular and will keep users on the page longer, improving your bounce rate and helping users better connect with your content. Build a schedule and determine which new elements would best enhance each piece of content. Even if it takes months, you will realize the benefits of adding some creative elements to your content.
Week 6: Polish Your Changes and Alert Your Audience
I’ve outlined six weeks of steps, but you may take longer to complete these updates. That is perfectly fine. Make a schedule that fits you and stick to it. Keep making changes and polishing the final results until you are satisfied. Don’t settle for mediocre; keep going until your content is as polished, informative, and engaging as it can possibly become.
After updating the major web pages and most popular blog posts, prepare an exciting announcement email for your mailing list and share the news. Highlight a few links but challenge your users to explore the entire site and share with you their thoughts on your changes. You may even glean some new insight for further changes.
Begin a social media campaign highlighting the changed pages and posts and inviting users to visit and check out the newly updated content. Include new quotes, highlights, images, and more to entice users to click and visit.
What other changes can you make to kick start your content for the new year? We’d love to share your thoughts with our readers. Record your ideas in the comments below.