When it comes to sharing ideas for analysing library websites, Jennifer Phillips-Bacher of the Wellcome Library has some helpful analogies. She likens the first stage of content auditing to dissection. This is where you look inside to see what’s working – and what’s wrong. Jennifer’s content audit was a detailed and tedious task. Starting with the site map, every link must be clicked and each webpage analysed. Content type, URL, author, metadata, when the page was created/updated and other information was captured. In particular Jennifer recommends you keep an eye out for ROT – content that is redundant, outdated or trivial. The output of this type of content audit is an enormous spreadsheet.
The second phase is diagnosis. You can use the information you have gathered, as well as other tools such as Google analytics to understand exactly how people are using your site. You can see what content is never used and which are your most visited pages. Diagnosis helps you validate exactly what you are going to include, and omit, from your website. You can begin to identify your underserved audiences.
The next phase focuses on strategy. For the team at Wellcome, processes are being built in to ensure that the website is kept healthy and happy. Governance of the new website is critical. Accountability will be built into the website and an editorial strategy and content lifecycle will be developed. The team is consulting with a branding agency and all staff will be trained in writing for the web.
Even if you are not embarking on a full redesign of your website, brief content audit can reveal all kinds of interesting information. Start to explore your site’s analytics and see if you can find unmet needs and other opportunities. Audit and analysis can help make you stronger!
Jennifer was speaking at Internet Librarian International