In a perfect world, we’d all be be updating and reviewing our web content at regular intervals. In reality, most of us rarely think about a blog post again after clicking “publish”.
If this is your situation, and your website is about to undergo a major redesign, have no fear.
Chances are you’re going to be migrating your content from your old site to your new site as part of the redesign process anyway, so you might as well take the time to check in on your content, clear the deadwood, and revise items that aren’t performing well.
Where do I start with content?
At Forge and Smith, we kick off every website redesign project with a full content audit. That’s when the content strategist takes a deep dive into the content on your old site and evaluates it against the goals you have set for your new website.
This process kickstarts planning for the migration of content to your new website. We work together to decide which content is worth keeping, revising, or deleting, and explore opportunities for the creation of new content.
Website Redesign Content Strategy Checklist
Whether you have access to a content strategist or not, there are some simple questions you can ask yourself about each of your content items before you migrate them to your new site. Behold the content strategy checklist:
Is it current?
Is any information on this content item outdated?
Is it functional?
Is this content item displaying correctly? Are there any broken links or images? Does it have meta description?
Is it correct?
Is any information on this content item incorrect (i.e. addresses, phone numbers, statistics, names, etc.)?
Is it unique?
Is the information on this content item redundant (located in more than one place on the site)?
Is it in the right location?
Is this content easy for the content user to find? Should it be located elsewhere in the site, or at a different phase of the user journey?
Is it relevant?
Will users still care about the information included in this content item?
Is it effective?
Is the content item performing well and contributing to business goals (there are a myriad of ways to measure this, but time spent on page, SEO ranking, and conversions are a great places to start)?
Is it clear?
Take a look at the oldest blog post published on your site and determine how many boxes it checks off in the checklist above. If it’s less than 50%, you may want to consider excluding it from your content migration. Or, you may decide it’s worth spending the time to revise it. If the blog post checks all the boxes, it’s obviously a keeper.
Be ruthless with your content
Some items will be easier to decide on that others, but it’s a good idea to come up with a strategy. Fixing a couple broken links is no big deal if the content checks off most of the other boxes. But fixing broken links and editing for readability and correcting factual errors is a much bigger time investment. It’s up to you and your team to decide if it’s worth the investment.
Our advice? Be ruthless. Don’t hold on to any content that you’re not willing to put a gold star of approval on. It will only detract from the rest of the gold star content on your website.
A content strategy checklist is just the beginning
“High-quality web content that’s useful, usable, and enjoyable is one of the greatest competitive advantages you can create for yourself online.”
Website redesign projects are often catalysts for organizations to revisit their brand strategy, business goals, and target audiences. In these scenarios, content audits have the potential to turn into deep soul searching exercises, and the questions above may only scratch the surface of even deeper content-related questions. In that case, a much different content audit is required to ensure that the content on your new site accurately reflects the shift in your organization’s goals.
Regardless, you’ll want to review your website’s content against this content strategy checklist regularly, even after your website redesign project is complete. An annual or semi-annual content audit is a crucial part of your content’s lifecycle.