You may have heard of the book The life-changing magic of tidying. Tidying is that not-so-fun but incredibly satisfying (and apparently now life-changing) thing to do.
The idea behind the book is by getting your stuff in order, finding a place for everything, and discarding the things that don’t spark joy, your life will run be improved and run smoother. (I love the book, by the way, my draws and cupboards are seriously transformed).
The same is widely true for website content. Keeping a whole lot of stuff on your website that’s no longer useful or relevant can stop it from reaching its full potential. By going through and removing the things you don’t need on there any more, your website will be significantly improved and you’ll have the best chance of reaching the goals you have for your site. It might not be truly life-changing, but it’s a really good idea, and this is why…
3 reasons you should tidy your web content
Much like how people don’t know what they have in the back of their draws, people frequently forget what content is dotted throughout their website. Go through it afresh and you could discover some gems you forgot you had, plus you’ll probably find some old things you have no idea why you left on there.
It will read and work better
Going back over your content after a period of time will give you the fresh perspective you need to make everything flow as smoothly as possible, spot typos and nix sentences that just don’t make sense.
Plus, reducing the amount of stuff that’s not up to standard on your website will actually help it perform better. By removing the clutter, your content becomes clearer and easier to navigate, and your visitors will find the information they are looking for quicker.
You’ll be left with only really good stuff
You know how it is, you put something on your website and two years later it’s still there, but completely out of date. Or, perhaps you put a half-hearted blog post together and now you realise it’s dull or just not good enough.
A thorough review is an excellent way to spot and remove the things that don’t represent you best. You’ll be left with only really awesome stuff and your whole website will be elevated because of it.
It will help you spot what’s missing
Now that I can actually see what’s in my draws, it’s much easier to spot what I need more of. Likewise, the same is true of doing a content review. Suddenly you’ll realise all of your content focuses on a one topic, when you should really have more about that other thing. Or, you’ll spot that there’s nothing for a segment of your audience that you really want to concentrate on.
It could help you get more visitors from search
A review of your content is an excellent time to sort out any issues that could be stopping you getting visitors from search engines – little things like missing meta descriptions and page titles that are too long can be the difference between getting a click and not.
It can also help you spot duplicate content (a no-no for search) or distributed content that could work better collated into one, stronger page.
How to do it
This process of tidying web content is often called a content audit, but let’s go with content review, because it sounds altogether more achievable and less arduous!
Doing a content review on your website is actually very easy, it’s just a matter of methodically going through all your pages, and checking that everything is up to date, still relevant and as good as it can be.
The easiest way is to use a spreadsheet, like mine…
Get my content review spreadsheet
To get my template just click File > Make a copy…
There’s two tabs, a simple version and a more in-depth review. Choose which to use then delete any columns that aren’t relevant to your website.
To use the spreadsheet, go through each page in turn, add the details to a new line, then decide if it can stay as it is, needs updating, or should be deleted.
When you are reviewing each page, consider:
- Images – are they relevant and good quality?
- Copy – does it read well? Does it need to be rewritten for optimal reading on the web?
- Content – is the content still relevant and correct? Is it unique or is it duplicated somewhere else on the site?
Depending how much time you have, you might also want to look at things like:
- Meta tags (Page title and page description) – Are these the right length (see the SEO guide for details) and do they describe the content of the page in a compelling way?
- Page views and social shares – how popular is the content? Stuff that’s popular gives you a good insight into the kind of content your audience like.
Once you’ve been through all your pages you’ll be left with a list of pages to update and delete, plus you’ll probably have loads of ideas for new content based on pages that have done well, and things you thought you had put on your website but actually never got round to adding.
All that remains is to take the actions you’ve listed. One thing to bear in mind – if you decide to delete content, you may need to update any links to the page from elsewhere on your site, plus consider redirecting the page to another if required, especially if external pages link into it.
- Your website can’t help you reach your goals if your content is out of date and neglected.
- Tidying your content can help your website look better, work better and even perform better in search engines.
- Content reviews involve a simple (but slightly laborious) process of going through every page on your website and checking if it could be improved or should be deleted.
- Depending on the size of your site, after a few hours work you’ll have a slick website that’s full of only the best content you have to offer – ready to wow your visitors and better-placed to achieve your goals.
- As well as better content, you’ll probably end up with loads of great ideas for new content, as a review is a great way to spot what’s missing.