An optimized, intuitively designed website is essential to a healthy business. But, it unfortunately doesn’t update itself. Businesses face the frequent need to redesign their websites to keep their platform current and ensure it serves their user’s needs.
For marketing teams asked to do more with less amid tight budgets and widespread economic uncertainty, your regularly scheduled website revamp faces indefinite delays. And, in the meantime, your organization keeps missing critical opportunities as a result of an underwhelming digital presence.
But refreshing your website doesn’t always mean an expensive redesign. The reason people are coming to your site is because of what your organization has to offer, and that’s reflected in your content. Every organization recognizes the value of publishing new content to reflect your latest offerings and satisfy SEO best practices.
If a redesign isn’t feasible, a comprehensive content audit offers a way to ensure users are finding your site and the best it has to offer.
Encompassing four key steps, a content audit costs far less than a comprehensive website redesign. Your biggest investment comes down to time, especially on the part of experts within your organization. But from providing a more positive user experience to better reflecting the current state of your organization, the rewards of a comprehensive content audit run just as deep.
How to avoid an expensive website redesign
1. Organize your site by cleaning up outdated or redundant content
The first step in a content audit stands as a continuation of that oft-repeated budgetary maxim: You really can do more with less. Many organizations focus on keeping their website looking fresh by consistent publication, which drives SEO rankings. Consequently, as your website team continues looking forward to new content, they easily lose track of where your site has already been.
Delivering a wealth of content to your website users doesn’t deliver the best experience. Instead, optimize what’s already been published with an emphasis on quality over quantity. If you ensure that your website is presenting a smaller haystack, your users will find the needle they’re looking for that much faster.
Plus, if your organization often addresses similar topics depending on the time of year, your content may grow repetitive. In one recent example, Four Kitchens worked with a university that produced seasonal content about important ecological happenings in its region. Consequently, a similar batch of information was published each year. As a result, the department’s website included three articles about a topic that were virtually the same. This isn’t just an inefficient use of resources; it also can negatively impact search rankings.
In addition to prioritizing more evergreen content, the university’s team had multiple options to avoid a duplication of effort by its content team. Maybe the team can create a video on the subject to avoid future repetition, or maybe consolidate the information from previous years into a single, readily updated article.
Through a content audit, your organization better understands what it needs by recognizing and organizing what it already has.
2. Improve UX and SEO efforts by updating existing website content
Search traffic is a critical tool to drive new users to your organization’s website. But as much as Google values new content, it reindexes your site when it finds updated pages as well.
Your team should ideally review existing content each month and select a few articles and pages for rephrasing, simplifying, or restructuring to make them more scannable. Apps like Hemingway and Grammarly provide effective means to refresh your content for stronger SEO.
Google places a premium on websites that are updated frequently. That emphasis applies to existing pages as well. At a time when budgets are under scrutiny, your ability to generate more value from existing efforts is critical. Ultimately, it’s expensive to create content. It’s important to maximize your return on that investment by keeping all your site pages current and relevant. The benefits won’t just be reflected in SEO, but also in your users finding the accurate information they need.
3. Boost your SEO rankings by aligning your site’s taxonomy with habits
For providing insights into user behavior, Google Analytics is maybe the most vital tool in your marketing arsenal. By recognizing the terms users apply for both the search engine and your internal site searches, you can update the language of your site to be consistent with your users.
Your site’s taxonomy establishes a classification system for how your website is organized. A clear structure helps ensure your users are finding the information they need. Often, websites will miss valuable traffic from their target audience simply by using the wrong phrase.
Universities or professional organizations may refer to their educational offerings as courses, classes, or seminars. But if Google Analytics shows that their audience prefers “trainings” instead, they’ll never find the content they need.
Your organization may have a long history using a specific nomenclature. But if that doesn’t match the terms your audience prefers, you won’t receive the traffic you deserve.
4. Resolve website navigation difficulties through Google Analytics
Evaluating how users behave on your site also allows you to improve its functionality without the cost of a redesign. Search logs not only reveal what your users want to find; they also illustrate where your site navigation is failing to properly deliver.
Google Analytics allows you to observe instances where users have come to your site through a search term but quickly left (your bounce rate). Then, the same visitor may come back again through a different search and find what they need. This “pogo-sticking” behavior illustrates how your navigation fails to reflect the search term that brings users to your site.
Assuming that your site features a flexible backend design, your team can quickly update headings and navigation to reflect your user interests. If visit times still don’t improve, then you can test a different iteration. Through small, incremental changes, your team impacts your site traffic while not alienating existing users with a jarring, large-scale redesign.
Updating your site’s content to improve your SEO results and deliver a stronger user experience takes far less investment than a redesign. But it’s also not necessarily easy or fast to accomplish. By teaming with your organization’s experts, Four Kitchens will work with you to analyze your existing content and deliver the improvements you need. Contact us to find out more.