Image Credit: Expresswriters.com
We’ve been talking about content this month on the Square 1 Group blog, and today we’re serving up some tips on how to conduct a content audit – and why your company should consider one. Why are content audits so crucial?
Avoiding a Content-tastrophe
Let’s say you’re trying to market yourself as a “full-service” real estate agency for clients who may feel intimidated by the buying or selling process. You want to attract residential clients who need a lot of support, including referrals to vendors. To demonstrate your expertise and strong professional network, you’ve published a list of local vendors on your website.
So far so good, right? A retiree looking to sell a property in need of some fixing up can find the perfect mix of renovation and repair experts. A married couple hoping to purchase their first home can find a mortgage lender to walk them through the process.
Unfortunately, you created that list a few years ago, and half a dozen of your hand-picked vendors have moved their websites. When prospective clients click through, they see dead ends. Instead of coming across as helpful and professional, you seem negligent and disorganized. An opportunity to gain professional capital has been transformed into a liability.
So, what are the elements of an effective content audit? Let’s take it step by step:
Create a Content Inventory
The first step is to figure out exactly what you’ve got on your website. Create a simple spreadsheet or text document and list content in outline form, including sections, subsections, and pages. It might also be helpful to assign a unique number (1.2, 3.1) to each page. Content type – video, audio, text – as well as date of creation and source are useful details to include.
Not sure what kinds of content you should incorporate? Read our guide to finding the right balance of features for your real estate website!
Grade Your Content
Now that you’ve got a comprehensive list of all content on your site, it’s time to review and rate your content. These are some basic elements of content evaluation:
What topics does this content cover? Where can it be expanded or trimmed? How does it relate to other pieces of content on your site? What kind of customer demand is it designed to meet? What was your objective in creating this piece of content?
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Is every piece of information on the site accurate – not only facts and figures but also as it relates to your sense of your business? A few aspects of accuracy go beyond mere factual information. For example, does your contact info page include a photograph of your business location, so you seem like a solid prospect to clients based in another state or country?
Even if it was accurate when it was posted, it may not be accurate now. Does your staff profiles page include entries for newer employees? Is your contact information completely up-to-date? Have you added social media links for all accounts on all platforms? Are headshots and graphics recent? Does all information about your business activities – revenue, geographical foci, number of employees and offices – reflect your current status, or is it missing changes that have happened over the past few years?
This question is a bit more complicated. A good way to shed some light is to consider your target audience. Do your clients skew younger or older? Do you have a specialty, such as properties with historical interest or vacation homes? Can you claim special financial, architectural, or investment expertise? Accessibility is another concern – make sure that information on your site is easy for readers to comprehend, whether or not they know much about real estate.
Photo Credit: Videohive.net
A successful digital marketing strategy will tend to employ a mix of media and tools – videos, photos, quick updates, long-form posts, pdf brochures, slideshow presentations, plugins – but you also need to make sure that the website as a whole employs a consistent tone and layout. Strengthen organization with consistent use of headings, captions and tags. Many companies will shift these formats over time, or use tags and archives only intermittently, with confusing results.
Looking to add a blog to your website to boost SEO? Read our guide to writing blog posts!
If you want to maximize the value of your content, it’s important to make sure prospective clients can find it all. Do all links on your website function properly? Do your blog posts and site updates contain internal links to other relevant posts and web pages? Is it easy for a visitor to navigate between sections on your site? Do you take time to promote relevant content, so that your clients understand how useful your mortgage calculator plug-in or neighborhood events calendar can be?
This basic checklist should simplify your content audit – but as with any “routine maintenance,” you shouldn’t consider your content audit a one-time thing. Schedule routine checks so that you can ensure that all your content stays accurate and current. To head off any style and branding issues, consider creating a short “style guide” with templates your team can use to ensure matching format and similar components.
Content audits do require attention to detail – as well as a commitment to consistent review going forward. However, a content audit will pay off, ensuring that your website is an effective interface between your company and your clients.
Are you interested in learning more about content audits and other components of successful real estate web design? At Square 1 Group, we make it our business to create multilayered technology and marketing solutions for our clients, tailoring our approach to your resources and needs. Contact us for a consultation today!