Performing a Content Audit — A deep dive into Spreedly.com
I came on-board in April of 2016. Post on-boarding process and adjustment to the new role, preliminary design research began. Payments was a new industry and so was Spreedly. Managing the marketing website became a responsibility. It was time to learn a few things. After speaking with colleagues the path was clear: perform a content audit . And so I did.
If you’ve never heard of a content audit before, or have but don’t know what one is, no biggie; it’s pretty simple. A content audit is literally an audit of your content. What that means can vary but in most cases it’s how many pages of a site, what keywords it ranks for, usage of
h1/h2 tags, how many images, etc. Why you would perform a content audit depends upon your role and goals. Marketers may look at keyword performance, content creators may need to develop a content strategy, or designers may be improving the user’s experience.
Being as a content audit can be performed by different people for a variety of reasons, I decided I would look at things deemed beneficial to the role of designer at Spreedly. I needed to learn the nuts and bolts of the system I was working with and get an understanding of what I would/could do moving forward. Up-front there weren’t any initial assumptions of what I would find; I kept that open since this was to be an exploratory process.
Diving Into The Work
Here we go! The fun is ahead of us. I say that with sarcasm only because a content audit is like walking through a jungle without a path or a map. Thankfully in this instance that was not the case. Spreedly’s marketing website content audit went smoothly. But, be forewarned. Establish clear goals to know what you want to find and stay on track. It’s very easy to stray off course and start focusing on items you initially were not interested in.
Since this isn’t a task that requires fancy layouts or complex recordings of information it was easiest to use Google Docs. I created a spreadsheet where I captured all the relevant info and organized my findings. There were a variety of things I considered when I set forth on this adventure: the relationships of pages and content, groupings and informational hierarchy, on-page SEO, site structure, and an overall assessment of the site.
So what happens now? I go through each page of the site one by one, as well as the back-end, to see how the code is built and the folder structure was created.
To give you a better understanding of what I tried to uncover and what kind of information I gathered, here is a more in-depth look at what was recorded.
Navigation was a main point of interest and a starting point. It was important for me to know how users access pages and content, the main navigation paths, secondary or tertiary methods of navigation, and how they can be improved. During that process I also recorded each page’s
<title> , and
meta description. Each for similar reasons. What they were, how they were being used in the context of SEO and keyword optimization, and if they could be improved. I also looked for possible uses of existing keywords and how they were being used if any.
Once I dove into the page content I focused on aspects like
h tag usage, specifically
h2 tags in relation to SEO and whether they contained the keywords being optimized for. I looked at the purpose of each page. I created a brief description of the page and recorded if there were any attachments to it such as image files, PDF’s, etc. I analyzed instances of
<img> from the perspective of page speed performance, and if they could be optimized.
Being as websites should be responsive, a critical aspect of this audit was to make sure content was viewable on different sized screens. Did the pages content respond to breakpoints, screen widths, and devices? I also captured screenshots in desktop view of the pages for reference.
Beyond these points, I did an overall page review and a general analysis of what I was up against. What was the nature of the content on each page? How was the page structured? Is the content unique or duplicate? What are the calls to action, if any? Where do users go when they click links or buttons? And finally I made notes if there were any action steps I could take moving forward.
In defense of Spreedly prior to our growth and hiring this year, there was not anyone to manage marketing or design directly, so what I found was not shocking or a polished representation of Spreedly. It was merely the establishment of a benchmark and a concept of strategy moving forward. With that being said let’s take a look at what I uncovered based upon the constraints listed above.
The navigational structure was a little fragmentary as I found some pages that seemed critical, but where not listed in obvious places. One of them being product features. I found that the site was not being optimized for any keywords or on-page SEO, therefore my observations of
meta descriptions, or
<title> would prove to return a value of
null . There weren’t a lot of
<img> on the site and most of them were
svg. Which is good for page load.
Responsiveness was not a problem overall, but there were some cases where breakpoints were missing, causing the
nav to disappear and the
body to have a few odd instances of
padding issues. Most of which were later taken care of with a few simple fixes. In a couple spots, content was duplicated. And in some instances there were what I call “rogue pages”, pages that didn’t really have a home. At the end of the day, the existing site wasn’t terrible and there were clear signs towards areas of improvement.
With all of this newly gathered information I now had a starting point from where I could begin to brainstorm about what it is I would do to improve the site. I had a good understanding of how it was built. And I was able to give our marketing guy, Greg, some insight as to the current state of affairs when he came on-board.
Any efforts moving forward will be geared toward increasing the site’s performance based on the goals of the business and how we intend to serve and reach customers. My overall plans are to create a new visual design that would match a consistent design style for all of Spreedly’s online entities, as well as focusing on how I could improve the site from a UX standpoint. Data will be gathered from various tools and sources to be used as further reference points and methods of understanding.
With all of that, there was one thing for sure. Changes and improvements would need to be addressed slowly, over time, and based on priority. Taking this approach allows us to gather insightful data about our users and their behavioral patterns when interacting with our site. As well as assist in making informed decisions around what areas we need/want to make changes to in order to improve the site.