Digital Marketing May 14, 2020
A guide to a digital spring cleaning
Our lives, businesses and work practices have been thoroughly upended in the space of weeks. Some of us are taking stock to see how best to use our time. One idea is to do a spring clean of your website. Why? It clears out the old rubbish and clutter, helps you spot potential issues, can improve workflow and results in a fresh optimised website, ready to do business.
Start with an inventory and audit
Do you know how many pages, PDFs or tools you have on your website? Time to find out. Use an application such as Screaming Frog or something similar to get a detailed inventory of what you have on your website. Syncing it with your Google Analytics account gives you rich data such as page views, engagement rates and so on.
Gather all of the findings into a spreadsheet which you can then use to start the auditing process. When going through the motions, the guiding principle should be to avoid using your website as a storage place for old stuff. Here are a few formatting tips:
- Add columns for the actions you want to assess each item by such as’ Keep’, ‘Update’ and ‘Delete’.
- When assessing your content, take note of any duplicates, 404 pages, blank pages, incorrectly named URLs and old PDFs that nobody accesses or needs. These can all get marked for deletion/redirects. Other common culprits to watch out for are news archives, old press releases, promotional pages and campaigns.
- When browsing your content, try to spot content gaps such as topics or formats which are missing or what you could do more of to satisfy your audience’s needs.
- Ensure someone is responsible for each area of content both maintaining it and developing it further if needed.
Refresh your content
Updating existing content is an easy way to stay relevant while also keeping your content calendar full. So when browsing through old articles, take note of which ones are highly popular and could use a refresh when it comes to, not only the information the article contains but also the tone of voice. Also, be sure to check your content for typos, broken links and grammatical errors. People are less likely to trust websites with amateur errors such as typos, so make sure you don’t have them.
It’s also important that your target audience can understand your content. Consider setting a policy for the readability levels of your content. You can then measure these as a KPI. We recommend the following guidelines:
- Homepage and top-level pages (Grade 6) Age 11-12
- Majority of the site (Grade 8) Age 13-14
- Supporting and accompanying content (Grade 14 +) Age 18+
Updating old, but popular content can improve your Google ranking and boost your SEO. It’s also an easy way to fill your content calendar if you are running low on inspiration while increasing your website traffic.
Sharpen your SEO
That inventory you ran off at the start should highlight any issues with your metadata. Sort them out. Ensure your on-page SEO is spot on – common culprits are missing alt tags and duplicate or missing meta tags. Ensure that the Google meta description is also not too long and properly showcases what an article is about. Perhaps you have no missing tags but your SEO quality is poor. Take the time to do some keyword research and get your website content optimised. By updating your SEO, this will also further boost your website search traffic.
Declutter your CMS
One’s CMS is often overlooked in terms of a tidy up but can get very messy over time. This can make using it time-consuming and prone to error or inconsistencies.
- Start by auditing the users who have access to it. Does the list of users still all work at the company and all need access?
- Are there multiple versions of templates, components, page layouts that could confuse your editors? Audit them and weed out the unnecessary.
- Delete old or out of date documents/images and check that the ones you are keeping are optimised.
- Review your redirects, if they aren’t maintained users can get stuck in loops.
Another idea is to look at your CMS training manual and ensure it is up to date and aligned with the training you offer.
Ready for what’s next
Implementing these basic changes, such as updating old content, revisiting your SEO strategy and updating your CMS system, can not only boost your brand visibility but also potentially speed up your systems. It will also enable your website to be more secure and healthy for whatever comes next.