I’ve written a few posts on how to start a blog, new blog checklists, and so on, but I’ve never talked about how to do a blog content audit. In fact, I’ve never even talked about what a blog audit is and why you might need one!
The truth is, if you’ve been blogging for a while, you might need to take a step back and make sure you’re progressing at the right pace. That doesn’t mean you need to throw all of your old content out the window, but it does mean thinking critically about where you are on your blogging journey and where you want to go.
Who better to explain a blog content audit than Charlotte of This Girl Knows It? She’s rebranded her blog a whopping 2 times, so I’d say she’s figured it out by now. She even has a 3-part guide to rebranding your blog! Other than reading through this super helpful post, check out her feature on my podcast where we chat about blogging rebrands.
When I first started blogging, my website was a mess. The site theme was terrible, my writing was sub-par, the Pinterest graphics weren’t designed well, and I had absolutely no clue what words like “SEO”, “optimization”, or “keyphrase” meant. I was just along for the ride, and 2 ½ years later, I’m still learning. After 2 re-brands, 70+ posts, and a whole lot of practice, I guess you could say my blog has improved quite a bit since it first launched in 2017.
However, there was just one problem: while my newer content was optimized from everything I have learned over the past 2 years, my old content was floundering. I was afraid that visitors to these posts would see the lower-quality work and quickly click away, causing a higher bounce rate and the loss of a blog reader, who may no longer click on any of my posts because they assumed my entire site was like this.
There was only one thing I could do: audit my blog content ASAP.
Would you rather listen to this info? Check out the podcast all about blog content audits below!
What is a Blog Content Audit?
A blog content audit is an in-depth analysis of the content on your website while looking for weak areas that need improvement. In more vague terms, your blog audit could be focused entirely on one area (such as improving site speed), or it could be focused on multiple areas, such as updating old content, enhancing SEO, and optimizing your site’s theme.
For the sake of this post, we’ll just be focusing on auditing your blog content. This means taking a closer look at all of the written content on your website and making sure it’s readable, functional, and optimized.
Why Audit Your Blog Content?
Auditing your blog content is a time-consuming process. It can take weeks or even months to complete. It may feel like the better option is to just leave these posts as they are and focus on newer content, especially if you’ve re-branded into a new niche.
However, this is exactly what you don’t want to do.
Your old content is as much a part of your blog as your current content. Plus, since Pinterest constantly circulates the pins linking to your old content, your older posts are still subject to receiving traffic, even if the post no longer aligns with your current brand.
So what do you do?
The best thing to do is audit these old blog posts, note what needs to be added to them, and then update them. That way, your old posts are the same level of quality as your newer posts. This will round out your branding as a whole, and (depending on what you audit on each post), can lead to higher traffic, better SEO, and new, loyal blog readers.
Essentially, your older posts can be just as important to growing your blog as your newer posts if you give them the right attention.
5 Steps You Must Take When Auditing Your Blog Content
Now, let’s breakdown the different steps you need to do in order to successfully audit your blog content. Don’t worry about doing all of these things at once! They can feel really overwhelming to handle, but once you go step-by-step, you’ll realize it’s much more doable. The 5 blog content audit steps are:
- Update your old content with relevant information
- Fix any broken or outdated links
- Optimize your posts for search engines
- Increase readability
- Re-market your newly updated content
You can either go post-by-post, or you can go step-by-step. There’s no single best way, just make sure it’s something that works for you. I highly recommend starting with your most popular posts first. This way, your best content gets highlighted first since it’s already bringing you the most traffic.
1. Update Old Content
When auditing your blog, the first step is to go through your older posts and identify what content needs to be updated to fit with your current brand.
Some examples of old content includes:
- The article itself
What should you look for? Search for spelling errors, updating information, or anything that’s getting in the way of the post’s accuracy. You might need to add words to get your point across, and now’s the time to really even out a post.
Once you’ve cleaned up the original post, look for ways to add additional value. You might add additional downloadables, freebies, or more to make your post more engaging and value-driven. If you have any existing graphics, you might consider redoing these to fit new branding, if needed.
2. Fix Old Links
Another major step is to fix any old links in your post.
As you audit each blog post, be sure to click on each link to verify that it is correct and that the page is still available. A quick way to check for broken links is through BrokenLinkCheck.com.
If you have any affiliate links, be sure that they have been set up as a “nofollow” link. There are plugins available that will add the nofollow code for you, but it is something you must include for each affiliate link throughout your posts.
(Sam’s note: What’s a nofollow link, you ask? It’s a link that has a special attribute letting Google know this link shouldn’t count towards SEO pagerank. It’s usually indicative of a sponsored link, and it won’t change the appearance for users in any way.)
When auditing old links, make sure that the link is also set to open up in a new tab. This will help your site readers stay on your page, especially if you’re linking to an external site.
3. Optimize for SEO
A major step in auditing your blog is enhancing the SEO, aka Search Engine Optimization. For most new bloggers, they don’t know (or only have a vague idea) what SEO is, much less how to implement it when they are writing their first posts. Now that you’re an experienced blogger, you can go back to these old posts and optimize the SEO, fix/add keywords, write a snippet, and all of the other SEO essentials.
I won’t pretend to be an SEO expert. In fact, I’m far from completely understanding it myself. But when auditing my blog, a major help in enhancing each post’s SEO was the Yoast SEO plugin. The plugin allowed me to insert a keyphrase and identify areas of my post that I needed to improve for my SEO automatically.
Here are some additional SEO resources to get you started:
- SEO: Myths vs Reality (Offbeat Grad Podcast)
- Real Blogging SEO You Can Actually Do Today (Offbeat Grad Podcast)
- Controversial Blogging Opinions: 5 Tired Trends
- Search Engine Optimization Tips All Beginner Bloggers Need to Know
4. Increase readability
Besides editing the post itself, fixing the links, and improving your SEO, there are several other steps you’ll want to take to optimize each blog post:
Add photos to each post. Photos can be a powerful, if not essential, visual tool for each blog post. They help convey what the blog post is about, provide examples or a visual step-by-step guide, and can even improve SEO.
Add captions and alternate text to each photo. Adding captions to each photo gives you the opportunity to explain the photo in more depth. Alternate text (alt text) can also help with search engine marketing and Pinterest marketing.
Edit tags and categories. When most bloggers start out, elements like “Tags” and “Categories” are just two more confusing elements to an already overwhelming blogging platform. You may have created multiple categories that should have been combined into one, or inserted multiple tags that didn’t provide any purpose and were only used once or twice.
(Sam’s note: A word of warning: make sure your page slugs (URLS) aren’t related to your categories. If so, changing them might lead to broken URLS!)
Improve readability on your blog. Each blog post should be easy to read and divided into sections so that readers can quickly find the information they’re looking for. The Yoast SEO plugin can help you with this by providing each post with a readability ranking and how to improve it. Some great increase your readability is to use headings, use numerical lists and bullet points, and to avoid run-on sentences or fragments.
Interlink your own content. Finally, auditing old posts gives you a great opportunity to link to some of your newer posts. This can help decrease your bounce rate and will give Google the opportunity to crawl your website. Plus, it keeps users engaged with your site.
5. Re-Market Your Newly Updated Content
After you’ve finished editing each post, the next major step is to begin re-marketing them as the updated version. This will bring back readers who may have read the post before (but want to see the updated version), as well as draw in new blog readers. These are some steps you’ll want to follow:
Create new Pinterest graphics. A great way to drive new traffic to your newly audited blog/blog post is to create and promote some new Pinterest graphics; this is especially true if your branding style has changed since you originally published the blog post, so your graphics may look different and draw in a new audience. For more Pinterest tips, check out this guide to auditing your Pinterest.
Announce your new content on social media. Another great way to re-market your newly-audited content is to announce it on social media. You can do this in an Instagram caption, in your Instagram story, in a tweet, in a Facebook post, etc. On Facebook, you can even do it as a round-up post, linking to all of the newly audited content in a single post. This is especially helpful if each of the audited posts are in the same category or about the same topic.
What Happens When You Audit Your Blog Content?
Your results will depend on just how much or how little of your content you audit, but you can expect to see a lot of big changes. Mainly, you’ll see the following:
- Enhanced content – Fresh, relevant content is good content! A major goal of auditing my own blog was to enhance my old blog content. After auditing old posts, each article became longer, more in-depth, and was a much better fit for my audience.
- Improved user experience (UX) – Since your newly audited posts are easier to read, they’re also a better experience for your users.
- New content to promote – The promotion of old content as newly updated content will bring old and new readers alike, as some of your newer readers may not have known about this content before. Previous readers may look to see what new information has been provided in the updated post.
- Increased revenue – Finally, updating and promoting old content is a great way to increase revenue if your website is monetized either through ads or affiliate links. As an example, after auditing, updating, and promoting 10 of my older blog posts, I saw not only an increase in pageviews but also an increase in revenue through affiliate links.
How to Successfully Complete a Blog Content Audit
Auditing your blog can be a lengthy process. It can be hard to know what you should and shouldn’t spend time on, especially if you have a lot of old content to go through. I wanted to share some tips on how to identify what elements of posts or content need to be audited.
Ask Your Readers
One way to identify what needs to be improved is to just ask your readers. An easy way to do this is to create a survey on Google Forms to customize and send out.
The feedback will allow you to identify which areas of your site you should focus your audit on and perhaps inform you on some issues that you didn’t even know about!
Ask for Input
Another great way to figure out what to focus your blog audit on is input from friends and family. Since they’re (most likely) not bloggers, they can provide you with great insight into what they see as a reader of your blog, rather than through your own eyes or through the eyes of other content creators.
Critiques From Other Bloggers
When auditing your blog, ask other bloggers for feedback about your site or a specific post. They will give you more input on the blogging side of things, rather than the readers side.
For example, Blogger A may notice that your Pinterest images don’t have alternate text, and therefore aren’t optimized to be seen on Pinterest’s platform. Blogger B may notice that some of your links are broken or don’t open in another tab. A regular reader may not notice these issues, which is why it’s good to have other bloggers critique your work too.
Start with Your Top 10 Posts
When auditing your blog, I highly recommend starting with your top 10 most visited posts. Auditing and updating these posts will allow you to see the results of your efforts quicker than if you start with some of your lower-performing posts, giving you the motivation to continue auditing the rest of your site. They also ensure that more people are seeing your best-quality content!
Do Your Own Blog Content Audit Today
Although blog audits aren’t some quick 10-minute fix, they do have a high impact on your blog and it’s potential success. Even auditing just a few posts on my own site has led me to see enormous growth in my blog traffic and improvement in my brand as a whole.
By following this comprehensive guide, you have the tools you need to successfully perform a blog audit and grow your blog. What are you waiting for?
Charlotte is the travel blogger behind This Girl Knows It. She’s currently a college student studying Interior Design (so you might find more than a little bit of college content on her blog too). You can usually find her talking about blogging or planning her next trip. Follow along with Charlotte on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If you have something to contribute to Samanthability’s blog, check out my guest post guidelines.