This Content Audit post was originally published on April 26, 2018. You can skip to the latest updates here.
Sometimes it’s a little crazy to me that I’ve been blogging semi-regularly since 2013. It was June 2013 when I started at myownhungergame. I posted nearly every single day for a year, as I worked to lose weight and understand what was happening to my body. I blogged to process what was going on with me. When I was done processing that phase, I locked it up behind a password-protected wall and that was that.
Almost immediately after, I started emilielimaburke-dot-com (today this takes you to my portfolio site) on Squarespace. I don’t know what I wanted that space to be, but my very first post was on saving money on your groceries and was, specifically, a Target grocery hall. I remember the feeling of writing that while in my college dorm and hitting public in February of 2015.
I graduated in June. My sister and I came to some ideas about what we wanted to do together, including blogging. We were also going to sell handmade things and maybe open an Etsy shop. We rebranded to burkedoes.com in September or October of 2015.
Here we are in March 2018 on shedoesbetter.com, a brand that I could not be more excited about. As I wrote on the about page,
I help women like you who want to do and learn more through productive goal-setting, habit-formation, lifestyle automation, and accountability, allowing you to balance your ambition with the rest of your life.
In order to do that, I need all the content to represent that. I love this site and I love the history it holds, but in order to hit my goal, I need to get rid of things that don’t add value. When I was setting Lenten goals to finish my senior thesis, 🙄- that needs to go; it’s not relevant. It doesn’t add any value to you, me, or anyone.
Now, there’s a difference between a life lately, a slice of life, or a life recap that captures something specific. In many ways, I consider those more detailed walks down memory lane. They’re no different from opening a scrapbook with lots of notes in the pages, except, of course, that it’s digital.
This week, I’m starting a content audit. As Todd Tresidder of FinancialMentor.com put it in his keynote, a content audit is like a macro edit of your site, just as each blog post is a chapter in a book. In his talk at FinCon 2015, Todd outlines the steps of a content audit. After doing a content audit on his site, he saw his traffic double.
The Content Audit Talk
Todd highlights some of the “deadly sins” of blogging, which all bloggers have mostly likely been guilty of at some point or another. Here’s a quick list:
- Outdated Articles
- Old Sponsored Posts
- Old Content that Needs Updating
- Small Posts that need Consolidating
- Messy Menu Structures
- Content in the Wrong Locations (e.g. wrong categories)
- Lack of Interlinking
- Outdated Images
- Content that isn’t structured properly (H1, H2 tags)
- Images without Alt tags & title tags
- Inconsistent SEO
- Off-brand content
In the case Todd makes, all content fits into one of four categories: Keep, Improve, Consolidate, and Remove.
Content that is kept or improved is valid and relevant to the brand, optimized for the appropriate keywords, and complete as-is. These posts will get updated, where relevant, with new information to improve quality, relevant opt-ins, on-brand images, appropriate formatting for skimmability, and updated links.
Content that is consolidated is off-brand or needs seriously reworking; oftentimes it’s a good topic with a bad quality post. These will all be updated with a 301 redirect, where appropriate.
Content that is deleted is out of date, off-brand, OLD or irrelevant.
The process itself seems similarly clear.
- Step 1- to get clear on your brand. After this rebrand, I feel great clarity around exactly what that is. This is a great time to dig into this audit.
- Step 2- to build a spreadsheet with the title, URL, action, and category.
- Step 3- to review each post for brand relevance.
- Step 4- to decide if the post is a Keep, Improve, Consolidate, or Remove. Ideally, if it’s an “improve” or “consolidate”, I will delineate what it is that needs to happen in this process.
- Step 5 – to implement the changes, starting with the easiest first. This means starting with content that is just getting deleted and setting up 301 redirects, then rewriting small posts into pillar posts, and finally reworking everything else that was categorized as a Keeper.
The Content Audit Action Plan
When Matt from Moneylab implemented his own content audit, he took it to the next level and went on to optimize the whole site. While it’s eventually where I’d like to go, for now, I think I’d like to keep this incredibly focused on going through all of the content. This is especially true because some of the plans and goals that I have for later in the year are dependent upon the content audit being successful.
My Step 1 will be to set up the Spreadsheet. You can see that I’ve started it below. WordPress tells me I have 366 published blog posts.
Originally, I had hopes of doing this over the course of a week, but realizing that that would mean 50+ blog posts per day was exactly the shock I needed. The goal will be to review 5 posts per day over the next week.
In this process, I’ll plan to add the blog post’s info to the spreadsheet, decide which category it will fall into, and make a list of any changes that need to be made, if relevant. The list of changes will be stored in a separate Todoist project where each blog post will be the main task and each change that needs to be made to it will be the subtask.
I am totally tracking that doing only 5 pages per day will mean this part of the project will take almost 2.5 months, but I’d rather not set myself up for failure in expecting any more than that.
My Step 2 will be installing and configuring the premium version of Yoast SEO, a tool that will be helpful as I optimize the content for the relevant keywords.
My Step 3 will be acting on the categories that I’ve decided on in Step 1, starting with the deletes and redirects.
Step 4 will be working my way through the Todoist project; in other words, implementing the changes I requested (of myself) in Step 1.
Let’s Do It
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be working on this project and updating this post along the way. What questions do you have as I embark on reviewing the last couple of years of blog posts?
Update #1 – May 16, 2018
Great news! The spreadsheet is done! It includes every post that is published and its direct URL. Going through every post step-by-step was a definite trip down memory lane that I appreciated.
As I reviewed ALL the blog posts, I noticed some posts right away that I wanted to go! I notated those on the spreadsheet in the Action column. Over the next couple of weeks, I will:
- Upgrade to the premium version of Yoast SEO.
- Delete all the posts that have been noted as such in the spreadsheet.
- Delete all sponsored posts greater than a year old.
- Redirect all of the deleted posts to a relevant post OR to the home page using 301 redirects.
- Add NGMS post and Prince Article to the press page.
- Add book reviews to the Bookshelf page.
More progress made! I knocked out all of the things on that list. ✅
There is still a lot more to do, so we should keep moving forward and trying to make more progress! Over the next couple of weeks, I will:
- Sort through and update all 248 errors in my Google Search Console.
- Update the five blog posts I’ve decided will be my only focus over this cycle. These are:
- The criteria for acceptance for these blog posts are:
- Yoast-optimized for the target keyword
- On-brand graphic for Pinterest
- On-brand graphic for Facebook
- A social share message is stored in a spreadsheet
- The Content Audit spreadsheet is kept up-to-date.
How do I stay on track? Using Todoist. Here’s what my task list looks like!
Update #3- January 18, 2019
- I have updated the title of this post to reflect that this is now in its second year.
- I have carved out two hours per week to work on this endeavor. Life will eat at this time, so even if it’s just 20 minutes, that’s fine too.
- I have updated the spreadsheet at the core of this process to reflect all of the posts published since it was created.
- Update 101 in 1001- Six Month Update with a more recent update.
- Convert this post to take advantage of the new WordPress blocks
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Emilie is a data engineer by day, lifestyle blogger by night, CrossFitter by early morning hours, and Army Wife all the time in between. A Jersey girl at heart, she is currently living in Savannah, GA. Her favorite place is cuddling with Bo, their American Bulldog, on the couch with a good read.