Content Audit 103: The Qualitative Audit

Posted by Guillermo Mazier on Jun 18, 2010 5:19:38 AM

The Qualitative Audit is designed to identify issues with your existing content and answer the question: is this content accomplishing what it needs to? During this portion of the audit, you should go through your content page by page and ask yourself a few key questions. If the answers to the second round of questions below are a resounding Yes! you're probably in good shape. If the answer is no, you've got some work to do.

Qualitative Audit Questions:
First, let's identify what this page is trying to do.

  1. Who is the audience for this page? (Who is it designed for and who is going to click on it to read the content?)
  2. What is that audience looking for when they click on this page?

For example: a page about economic development services may attract an audience of site selectors or business owners considering a move to your area. When they get onto the services page, they may be looking for a list of services your organization offers, what each service entails, who is eligible and what are the next steps.

Next, let's ask ourselves whether this page is accomplishing its purpose:

  1. Is this page content talking specifically to the audience you've identified?
  2. Is this page providing answers to the questions that your audience is asking (from the example above: what services are available? Who is eligible to receive this help or benefit from this service?)?

And, finally, let's ask ourselves whether the information on this page is easy to consume (your web users will leave if it's hard):

  1. Does the headline (and sub-headlines) tell the user exactly what they'll find on the page?
  2. When the user gets to this page, do they feel like they're in the right place--like they'll find what they're looking for?
  3. Is the page easy to scan for information?
  4. Can the user download or print information to take away and read later?

Hopefully the answers to these questions are Yes! If not, the next step in your content process will be to fix the problems you've identified: if the page has no clear audience, identify one and edit the content to speak to this group. If the page is wordy and hard to read, it's time to edit and make it scannable (79% of web users scan before reading). If the page doesn't address the questions of your audience, it's time to add content that will answer those questions.

And thus the audit has prepared you for what comes next. Now you can allot the appropriate funds or internal resources needed to prepare content, fix content or fill in the holes.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, please drop us a line. Let's talk about what we can do to help.

    Topics: Content & Writing

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