Web Content Audit OMG

The webteam is grumpy. No sense in hiding it. Every free moment is expected to be spent on this nightmarish thing called a “content audit.” I swing by their workstations and their eyes are crossed, brows moist with stress perspiration, grimacing. One of them looked up at me and wailed, “Is there a lav needs cleaning somewhere?”

What, you might ask, is so gruesome about a web content audit?

Twenty facts need to be determined about all 4,000 pages constituting berea.edu. Here’s the facts list:

1-4 = Name of site, title of page, latest revision date, name of web content manager

5 = Number of links in the left sidebar (when present)

6-14 = Number of other links into this site, number of links to other berea.edu sites, number of links into non-berea sites, number of links to PDFs, number of links to email addresses, number of links to social media sites, number of links to video files, number of links to audio files, broken links.

15-19 = Text review, image review/links, forms review, tables review, lists review (these are subjective answers written out in plain English).

20 = name of the template this page uses.

Answering all these questions about every page inside Berea.edu allows us to discover everything that may be broken or damaged on the page (e.g., we have to actually click on every link to find out where it goes or if it is broken). The more subjective “reviews” give the webteam members an opportunity to think about the efficacy of the element (text, images, forms, tables and lists). While we don’t perform a copywriter’s edit or a graphic artist’s critique, we can suggest when content may be out of date — “It’s a list of events wherein the most recent was December 5th, 2011.”  We need things like images, forms, tables and lists to be described in the audit (even if nothing is wrong with them).

Now you’re asking “Why in the world are you doing this?”

We’re preparing to modernize all of Berea.edu. This means a new “look,” some new functionality, and mobile-friendly technology applied throughout. Unless you are completely satisfied with everything in your current website, you are going to like what’s coming. However, in many cases the conversion WILL NOT BE A PAINLESS PROCESS.

In my next post I will discuss some of the things about current sites that may need to be reconsidered before we convert the site.

Let me conclude this post by saying the web content audit we are undertaking will enable us to bring to your desk the whole list of things that need to be “reconsidered” about your current website. Those among you who are current “online” web content managers (meaning you’ve received credentials to make your own changes) are ahead of the game. In fact, you may be able to handle the conversion yourself simply by rebuilding elements that won’t work in our new “responsive” themes and then just changing out the templates when it’s time.

And if it’s not quite that easy, the webteam will be here to help.