It’s very easy to get sleepy when it comes to website content. It’s kind of like catching typos. Your mind fills in the right word, or in the case of a website – the right message. But prospects look at our websites with fresh eyes. They quickly see outdated information, strange formatting, or messaging that may be past the freshness date when they compare it to competitor sites.
Website content should be scrubbed at least twice a year, once a quarter if you have the bandwidth. Here are six steps to getting it done.
Step #1 Check the facts and scrub for typos
It should be assumed that an existing site is already typo clean, but if it has been a while since you’ve looked at your site, you may be surprised at what you find!
• Are there services listed that you no longer offer? Take them off the site.
• Are there events, contests, or special offers that have expired? Remove the dead ones and move any stories to a less prominent place.
• Is your Newsroom really a….Newsroom? This is tricky. Companies are not like CNN where a story can become old news in 12 hours. On the other hand, it doesn’t send a good message to have a “Newsroom” with only year-old news or a total of two stories. Either get focused on some aggressive PR to generate more stories or think about renaming the section “In the Spotlight’” or something that does not promise “news” and then fails to deliver.
• Look closely at the “About Us” section and “Bios”. Are these sections up-to-date? Have there been new divisions opened or closed or a change in focus that is not reflected in the current copy? Have there been promotions or people who have left that are still on the site?
• Read the copy out loud to catch any elusive typos, missing words, or strange spacing.
• Look for inconsistencies in capitalizations or acronyms. This is actually good protocol to follow before posting any new content.
Step #2 Take a hard look at your website analytics
Here’s a chance to dive deep into what the metrics from your Google Analytics and marketing automation platform are revealing about where prospects engage on your website.
• What pages are generating the most views? Are any pages getting little to no views? They should be your highest priority for eliminating, revising or adding new Calls-to-Action (CTAs).
• What search terms are leading prospects to your site?
• What is the bounce rate, or the amount of time prospects stay on a page?
• What CTAs are generating the most activity? If you have CTAs that aren’t generating conversions- they are either improperly placed with mismatched content, or are not compelling enough to spur a visitor to action. Consider revising or moving.
• What blog posts generate the most social media shares, comments, and CTA engagement? This information tells you which topics are of most interest to your visitors - and that should help direct future blog posts.
Step #3 Perform a messaging review
Now that you have cleaned up any factual issues and studied what the website analytics reveal about your site, take some time to do a messaging scrub.
• Has your business moved in a new direction? Is the messaging in alignment with your top business goals? Are there new markets or products that need to be highlighted or others that should be phased out?
• Do your keywords match up to your current focus? And do those keywords reflect how your buyers are searching for information? Perhaps you are not using the right long-tail keywords to get your website content ranked on Google searches.
• Have your buyer personas changed? While buyer personas don’t often change radically, they do evolve. The best way to gauge this is with new customers. Deeply understanding buyer personas will drive the voice you use in communicating, and the way you talk about your buyers’ challenges.
Step #4 Perform a premium content review
It’s a smart strategy to regularly assess what premium content is available and how it is presented. Premium content requires visitors to provide their contact information. This contact information is the key to continuing the conversation with email marketing to provide the right information at the right time to help prospects in their decision-making process.
• Take a look at your white papers, webcasts, and infographics. Are they still adding value? If not, either update them or remove them.
Step #5 Put fresh eyes on the website graphic elements
The danger of continually refreshing website content is that it can degenerate the visual integrity of pages. They can start to look cluttered with too much color one place and not enough in other areas. Individual pages can get too long.
• Examine all CTAs. Are they visually compelling with alluring copy?
• Have there been any recent changes to logos, taglines, or other graphic elements? Scrub the site for old colors and visual elements that are no longer part of your visual brand.
• Are there any spacing issues or confusing layouts that detract from messaging?
• Are your social media buttons prominently displayed? Are you using both follow and share buttons in the appropriate places? Consider reducing the number of buttons displayed to focus on the best social media channels for your audience.
Step #6 Test the functionality
Broken links and slow-loading pages can bounce a prospect off a website in a matter of seconds.
• Test your site on a variety of browsers and devices to make sure it is optimized for mobile.
• Test the shopping cart (if you have one) to make sure it is functioning properly, and that your abandonment rate isn’t out of whack.
• Test all contact forms – where do they go?
• Make sure all links are active.
• Check new landing pages and other content that has been added to ensure that prospects are not led into a dead-end where they cannot get back to the home page.
Performing regular website scrubs brings higher ROI to your digital budget spend. Think of it like brick and mortar maintenance. You wouldn’t allow old signs and outdated brochures in your corporate office. Why should you allow it on your website where your number of visitors is exponentially higher?
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