Carefully and thoughtfully analyzing the
content on your current website is among the most important steps
in the DCT process. Knowing what is or is not working on your
website—and what content simply doesn’t need to be
there—will help you gauge the scale of your new website
project. In addition, you’ll learn how to streamline your
messages and content, leveraging them to their fullest
Think of a content audit as the website
version of “cleaning out your closet.” It’s a
process for choosing what to keep, what to update and what has to
- By navigating this process with your department, you’ll
build consensus on what changes should be made to your content,
with clear reasons for why these changes are needed.
- You’ll gain an understanding of what content should be
incorporated into your revamped website.
You may ask, why is it important to analyze
your existing website’s content? Remember, if visitors to
your site don’t find relevant information, or see that it
hasn’t been updated in some time, they form a negative view
of your site and your organization. The consequences are
far-ranging, from losing prospective students or faculty and staff
members, to missing out on a golden opportunity to attract funding
The analysis will take time, but it
helps ensure that the content of your new website reflects the core
messages your department is trying to convey. You don’t want
to simply import everything from your existing website to your new
Performing a content audit and analysis
isn’t for everyone. That’s why it’s important to
employ the services of department members who both have the skills
and understand the value of steps to be taken as you
navigate the process.
A content audit may seem daunting, but your
department and the people who visit your site will benefit from the
The content audit gives your department an
opportunity to review other materials you may want to incorporate
into your new website. Some examples might include a student-made
video on what it means to be a major in your department, or a
brochure developed by a faculty member that best describes who the
department serves, or your overarching purpose as educators.
The information gathered during content audit
and analysis will help establish an orderly, logical transition to
your revamped site by eliminating unnecessary content and
strengthening what already works.
It also will ensure that content on your new
website will have a clear purpose—that every word is helping
your department achieve the desired objectives through the revamped
These are just some of the important questions
you’ll be asked to consider:
- Is there a clear description of the webpage’s purpose? If
not, this should be a red flag.
- Is your page useful and relevant? Does it support your business
strategy and your visitors’ needs?
- Is there information that can be merged with another page?
- Is it written for your users?
- Are the site’s graphics, photos or videos of good
quality, and do they communicate the right message?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a program
that can complete a content audit and analysis for you. The process
takes time and attention to detail. The end result is
definitely worth the time spent, however.
Your diligence in doing a content audit will
go a long way toward helping your department effectively and
efficiently reach the users you’re targeting. More
importantly, it will ensure that they continue to visit your new
website, building a mutually beneficial relationship.