As a content creator, you want your company’s website content to engage and inspire. You likely have a vision of your website as a destination, not just a dropbox. Certainly you want your messages to attract traffic, yet your higher goal is to transform that traffic into relationships.
But what if your site content is not as user-friendly or relevant as your audiences prefer? Even worse — what if your content lives in the Dead Zone?
In ecological terms, a dead zone is a body of water without adequate oxygen levels to support life. In tech terms, I prefer its optional definition, “a place where there is little activity or excitement.” At Zuula, we root out content from places we’ve termed the Dead Zone, so we can help your website to live up to your mission.
Websites, like oceans, are bodies of ebbing and flowing content (images, articles, forms, infographics, and more) that deserve thoughtful monitoring. Similar to how a scientist will collect, analyze, and interpret data to determine environmental health, so too, must you govern your website content.
Don’t risk having a lifeless website with content stuck in the Dead Zone™. Uncover opportunities to improve by conducting a content audit around three key questions:
- Is our content outdated?
- Is our content ineffective?
- Is our content inconsistent?
Focus 1: Find Outdated Content
Every site is particular to the organization that creates and perpetuates it. So, every company’s quest to stay up-to-date will differ.
However, just keeping your content fresh isn’t the only reason to weed out outdated or aging content. In some industries (such as medical, finance, or insurance), inaccuracies can mean potential legal troubles.
You can conduct a content audit by hand — or for expansive websites — use a web crawler like URL Profiler. These tools can reveal if outdated content exists on your site that may no longer be meaningful or accurate, among a ton of other data.
No matter how you choose to wade through your content, consider jumpstarting your audit with questions like these:
- Does our content express who we are and what we stand for?
- Is the guidance in our white papers, PDFs, or reports still relevant and accurate?
- Are old discount codes or offers still viewable but non-redeemable?
- Does the content reflect current SEO best practices?
- Does any outdated information pose a legal or compliance issue?
Focus 2: Identify Ineffective Content
In addition to removing old content, you need to gauge your content’s effectiveness.
You can easily track whether traffic is increasing, but the real litmus test of your content’s vitality is whether it’s earning leads and generating responses.
Seek statistics on whether your offers are creating filled-out forms, consultation requests, or sales. If you’re not seeing these results, you may want to tailor your own version of questions like these:
- Have we followed plain language best practices to create content that’s easy to read?
- How many unique and returning visitors go to our site?
- Do we have embedded links in our content that enable users to easily navigate between pages?
- Does every button and link function correctly?
- Is content getting shares, page views, or likes? If not, why?
Focus 3: Refine Inconsistent Content
So, you’ve pulled out dead content that’s either outdated or ineffective. Now, you can commit to editing and creating content in ways that will keep your brand voice and message consistent.
The downside of too many different tones and messaging is customer confusion — matched with brand dilution. If your website and content pieces aren’t supporting and building each other up, you’re depriving each message of oxygen and sending them to the Dead Zone.
Developing a Verbal Brand Toolkit™can help you identify and share guidance with all your site’s content creators. Further, you can help employees create aligned messaging with tools that analyze for grammar, sentiment, style, and tone — and a content governance tool like Acrolinx can help.
Go digging for answers to consistency issues with your own take on questions like:
- Are we using aligned storytelling themes to support branded messaging?
- Is our style guide automated to correct word usage to avoid in our corporate language?
- Do our words and visuals reflect a unified purpose?
When you’re ready to make an impact on the life of your site, we’re happy to help. Choosing to move your website content out of the Dead Zone and into a thriving ecosystem is a valuable step. By doing so, you re-energize the health of your brand – and give your audiences the oxygen they need for messages to breathe and invigorate.