Do It Yourself Content Audit & Optimization
The project of reviewing, trimming, and optimizing your website’s content can be very daunting and overwhelming. We created this guide to help you work through the process in preparation for a fresh start with the new Apollo 2.0 web template.
This step-by-step guide will walk you through identifying and eliminating content that is not serving any purpose, identifying your most important website goals, and freshening up your most important remaining content so that it better serves those goals.
This guide is designed for content editors making light pruning and adjusting to improve your site. If you are looking to make large scale changes that involve multiple stakeholders, Web Services is available to assist as time and availability permits.
Depending on the size or your website, following the steps of this guide are likely to take you between 4 and 10 hours.
STEP ONE: Review Your Analytics
Taking a look at your google analytics activity is a great first step before making any decisions. Some UF Health sites have their own independent analytics accounts. If you are one of these sites, the following instructions will walk you through exporting an Excel spreadsheet showing basic user activity across your website in the past year:
Look at pages in order of most viewed to least viewed
- Open your google analytics and navigate to:
Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
- In the upper right-hand corner of the screen, change the date period to one calendar year instead of the default one week – this will ensure that you don’t miss any important seasonal information in your review.
- By default, only your top 10 pages will be displayed at a time. To see all the pages in one long line, scroll to the bottom right of the page and increase the Show Rows field from 10 to 5000 – this should ensure all of your pages will display.
- Once all of your pages have loaded, scroll up to the top right and select Export. You will be given 4 options (PDF, Google Sheets, CSV, or XLSX. Any of these options will work, but XLSX will allow you to look at the data in columns and easily delete and add columns for your notes.
- Your new excel spreadsheet will have 3 tabs. Delete the tabs “Summary” and “Dataset1” – For your purposes you will only need the tab “Dataset1”, which should look exactly like the google analytics website information.
- Please save this spreadsheet for use in the upcoming steps.
If you do not have access to a site-specific analytics account, contact UF Health Web Services and
Step Two: Perform a ROT analysis on your content.
ROT stands for redundant, out-of-date and trivial content. Removing this content helps you to focus on the most important content for the site.
Before diving into the ROT analysis, it is a good idea to hone in on what you might consider your core pages to get a sense of the scope of your project. (For example, most sites have many pages that do not need to be part of a review such as tag and category pages, blog posts, and other dynamically generated pages that do not show up in the WordPress dashboard.)
- Create a column for your notes on your google analytics spreadsheet, going through each of your core pages and notating the main purpose for each page.
- Identify which pages might contain redundant, out-of-date and trivial content, following the methods described below.
- If it is possible to correct or delete content on the fly, it might make sense to do that as part of the process. If not, identify the priority in which content needs to be updated in order to build a production calendar.
Identify Redundant Content
- Do you have any pages that are essentially intended to serve the same purpose and that could be combined?
- Do you have information that is repeated across pages without a clear reason for repeating the information?
For example, repeating an application deadline on a few pages related to an academic program might serve as an important warning, but listing program curriculums on multiple pages could confuse users, especially if there is any discrepancy between the duplicate content.
- Identifying redundant content might feel a little bit like a game of memory, and you might not find it all on your first review!
Identify Out-of-Date Content
- Do you have any programs, events, or deadlines that list last year’s dates?
- Are your faculty and staff listings up to date?
- Do you have any content – such as a defunct program or event -that is no longer relevant and can be deleted without a second thought?
- Do you have any content whose purpose is still important but that mentions personnel no longer with the organization, old terminology or otherwise out of date information?
Identify Trivial Content
- Do you have any content that to your naked eye is trivial and can be cut?
If you find yourself asking “well, what’s the harm in having it”? consider that trivial content prevents users from seeing and digesting important content!
- Identify pages that receive less than 10% of the pageviews of your most visited page (not including your homepage) as possibly trivial
- Do any of these pages have a reason justifying low pageviews, such as a niche audience like student volunteers or relevancy for only a short period in the year such as an event page? These pages are clearly not trivial.
- Do any of your low page view pages also show a low avg. time on page? This would be a strong indicator of triviality.
- If you have a strong gut feeling about the importance of very low traffic pages, consider taking the most essential information from the pages and placing it on another page – this will boost its visibility and cut down on your total page
Step Three: Identify Your Audiences and Goals
- Determine your primary and secondary audiences
- Review peer institution sites and evaluate how they approach content and audiences
- Determine your unit’s strategic goals for the upcoming year. Use these goals to evaluate the content on the site to see if it supporting those goals.
- Determine actions you want your audiences to take when using the site
Step Four: Optimize and improve content
- Use your analytics to focus on the most visited pages – use your strategic goals to evaluate the content on these pages and determine if it supports those goals.
- Review the site navigation – are there opportunities to reduce clicks by moving content from subpages to primary pages? Can the navigation be simplified or reorganized based on audiences and site goals.
- Look for opportunities to simplify language – website users often scan content for relevant material, so look for opportunities to use headings and lists to convey information in more easily scannable ways.