When pitching a project to audit content, one of the first questions you will need to answer is what the return on investment will be.
Talk about team benefits
Content audits don’t just make things easier for the end user. They also help people working across the agency.
A content audit can benefit the team:
- by making it easier for website managers, administrators and content owners to manage content
- by providing clear evidence for prioritising quality over quantity
- by helping website owners develop a content strategy — this sets up the direction for more improvements
Align with agency priorities
Review the strategic priorities in your agency's corporate plan and in ministerial statements. Align your content audit goals with any comments about streamlining information or services. This can help when you are seeking support for the audit.
Show the costs
To prove the benefits of a content audit you should first show how much your agency can save by fixing bad content.
It helps to highlight what it costs your agency:
- to handle calls relating to the clarification or absence of web content
- to double-handle applications that have been completed incorrectly as a result of information on your site being out-of-date or unclear
- to police and prosecute non-compliance that could have been avoided if people had known what to do
- to manage and maintain your current website — and what outcomes your agency is getting for that investment
You could calculate a cost-per-view rate by working out the total yearly cost of managing and maintaining your site. This could include costs for technical development, staffing, and content development. Then divide this total by the number of page views you get from users.
If you have data on user satisfaction rates, you could plot the yearly spend against user satisfaction rates and see if there are any relationships or trends.
If you manage content development and publishing using different processes, you could map these out on a process map. This is one way to identify any inefficiencies or blockages in the current process, and potentially remove them.
To sell your pitch, compare the cost of doing the audit and improving your content with the cost of leaving things as they are.
Baseline your site
Your manager or stakeholders may not know how your website measures up against:
- digital content best practice (for example, user-centred, accessible content written in plain English)
- government requirements (for example, the Digital Service Standard)
Gather any statistics and data that can help you paint a picture of how you are performing against these benchmarks and criteria.
Look at similar sites to get ideas about how you can improve your website. This will be useful when pitching your content audit to stakeholders.
Use feedback to build empathy
Your website is often the first thing that people notice about your agency — and first impressions last.
While expert user research is the preferred method, there are some low-cost ways to get user feedback:
- If you have access to a pool of users, run a small focus group or short interviews. This will help you understand who your users are and how they experience your website.
- You can ask users for feedback via your other channels (for example, contact centres or social media)
To help your stakeholders find empathy with your users, try asking them to find something:
- on your website — using the site's navigation menu, and using Google or another search engine
- on the website of a similar-sized agency — using the site’s navigation menu, and using Google or another search engine