The Content Audit Diet

By Neil Sniffen
4 minute read | Last Updated: April 18, 2016

By limiting your team’s content audit, creation, and revision to top tasks, products, and content you can save yourself a ton of grief while boosting your bottom line. Less work! More Money! Yes, Please!

There is a sense of dread that fills brand teams (and brand managers) when they are faced with the task of auditing, migrating, moving, and shoving the content from an old site over into a new site. Whether it is a content audit spreadsheet with 5,000 lines or 500 products, moving content can be an overwhelming chore.

This process doesn’t have to be quite so daunting or painful because, with an eye on what people are actually viewing, you and your content team can reduce the total amount of work they need to do.

By limiting content audit, creation, and revision to the brand site’s top tasks, products, and content, content creators can greatly reduce the overall scope of their work and focus on improving the most profitable parts of the site—the content consumers are actually using.

Let go of the idea that everything on the site is essential.

To do this, let go of the idea that everything (EVERYTHING!!) on the site is essential. It’s not. It may be important or serve a purpose, but if the site is designed to sell products, then product pages that sell the most products are essential while pages that sell some stuff are not.

To sever this tie with the old way of managing, migrating, and auditing content, consider this analogy; when moving into a mansion, does it make sense to also move in old college furniture? There may be some sentimental items that make the migration, but the Goodwill couch and futon do not need to come too. Same goes for the content on the brand’s new (or revised) site.

Sever the ties with the past and be free for the future. By focusing, first, only on the content of the top viewed pages, will provide a template to follow for the rest of the site. Improve only those pages that time and resources allow. Thus allowing the new site to have content that is refreshed, relevant, and ready to help customers make a purchase decision (and free the brand’s content team time to focus on top content).

In order to determine what this top content is, you’ll need to have a firm grasp of your site’s analytics. Using the data that the site already has, the team can determine what products, pages, and content are actually used and which are not.

This abbreviated to-do list will help prioritize the content that needs immediate revision and improving before (or during) migration and content that can migrate without any revision.

  • Use analytics to uncover top content, tasks, and products
  • Conduct a content audit on the top pages (as determined from analytics)
  • Create a page table for each page type based on existing content and new content needed
  • Revise existing content and create new content for top products, content, and tasks
  • Migrate rest of content as is (this content will be revised later when time and budget allow)

Untouched content that is migrated will be dealt with when there is time (and budget).

Remember, the content you migrate untouched isn’t going to live on like leftovers in the fridge, it will be dealt with in due time. Just don’t worry about it while there are a million tasks to accomplish in order to get the new site launched. Focus on the content that does the most work for the site, making sure it is awesome will immediately improve the new site’s efficiency and productivity.

Having a shorter list of top products, pages, and content to revise or rewrite gives you the power to budget your team’s time efficiently by ensuring the majority of their time is spent on the most profitable content on the site. Where you draw the line is up to you, but we’ve found that following Zipf’s Law will help determine the top 10% of the products that do 90% of the work for the brand’s site. Efficiency and profitability equal a pat instead of a monkey on your back.

Zipf’s Law will help determine the top 10% of the products that do 90% of the work for the brand’s site.

This model of content management is designed to create a more productive department and digital brand team. Content isn’t cheap to produce or easy to maintain, so finding ways to make the content you currently have work harder (and better) is essential. Once you have a template in place for the existing top content, creating content for new products as well as revising older content becomes easier (and cheaper) to do.

We hope this helps alleviate some of the pain associated with content migration, revision, and creation. As with all things digital, if you are curious about how this may specifically apply to your brand’s site or want help, send us an email at hello [at] and we’d be happy to help.