What’s the state of your healthcare organization’s content right now? How do you know?
Each piece of your content tells readers a story about your healthcare organization. And if you’re not regularly taking stock of your content, those old webpages, blog articles and other items may be telling a story that drives potential patients away from you — and into the waiting arms of your competitors.
The best way to create a record of your content and understand what revisions it might need is to complete a content audit. This can be a complex undertaking, but it’s critical for continually evaluating and improving your digital content. Whether you’re looking at a service line, a blog or your entire website, these six reasons illustrate why your first step should be to conduct a content audit:
1. Content Audits Tell You What You Have and Where It Is
Your organization’s website may include thousands of pages, and many of those pages may have been created and published by your colleagues, other teams or long-departed predecessors. What’s more, pages published by others may not conform to your organization’s requirements for URLs, which can make tracking down all the pages you have even more of a challenge.
If you’re evaluating a small service line or even a small blog or website, you might be able to keep track of your URLs manually. For larger content audits, however, you should consider using a web crawler program to create a list of all the URLs for your audit. These programs will find all the URLs under a particular page you choose to start from — or all the pages in your site if you start from your homepage. You can then export your results into a spreadsheet for tracking and categorization.
2. Content Audits Ensure Your Content Meets Current Best Practices
You likely take time to ensure your new content is in line with the latest guidelines for readability, accessibility, and search engine optimization (SEO). But there’s probably content on your organization’s website that hasn’t been meticulously checked and vetted to ensure the optimal experience for modern users, either because of its age or because it was created by colleagues who don’t know what to watch for.
A thorough content audit gives you a chance to review all your content to ensure it aligns with best practices for user experience, including:
- Ability for users to scan the page, such as bulleted lists where appropriate, as well as accessibility for users with disabilities in line with current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
- Nested headings (H1 > H2 > H3 > H4, etc.)
- Readability, including reading levels appropriate to help consumers understand complex medical terminology
3. Content Audits Help You Identify Your Content’s Purpose
Each piece of your organization’s web content should do something — or, more importantly, help the reader do something. Some blog articles, press releases, webpages, etc., may simply be for brand awareness. Most of your content, however, likely exists because you want the reader to convert, to take the logical next step after having read the content. That next step may include:
- Calling or emailing for more information
- Making an appointment
- Signing up for a class or event
A content audit lets you determine the reason each piece of your content exists. If that reason is clear and easily identified, great! If not, the content might need to be updated or eliminated.
4. Content Audits Help You Update or Eliminate Outdated Content
Ideally, your healthcare organization wouldn’t have any outdated content on its website. In the real world, that’s rarely the case. There may be pages that were migrated from two content management systems (CMSs) ago, a service line may include a treatment only offered by one physician who has since moved on, or a department may have completely revamped its approach to care since the last time someone touched its content.
Completing a content audit gives you the chance to dive into these neglected pages on your site. Maybe you just need to take the time to spruce them up with a few modern touches. Or maybe they’re hopelessly out of date, and you just need to write them off. Either way, without an audit, these old pages are representing your organization in a way that could create mistrust with your current or potential patients.
5. Content Audits Identify Ways to Optimize Current Content
Not every page noted in a content audit will need drastic rewrites or deletion. Even so, a content audit can still be valuable for you to evaluate pages that could use some small tweaks or additions to improve the user experience.
Perhaps a service-line page contains good information, but it was written by a physician who has included too much medical jargon and technical language. Or maybe you have a blog article that details a growing specialty but doesn’t include a clear call to action (CTA) for the reader to make an appointment or call for more details. Documenting areas that need small adjustments can lead to major improvements in your content’s overall quality and performance.
6. Content Audits Establish Gaps in Your Content
Completing a content audit will give you vital information about the content your organization currently has. However, this documentation will also give you insights into the kind of content you’re missing.
You might find a need to create a new landing page to accommodate the merging of two sections of your site, or maybe patients would benefit from a page explaining a complicated procedure in easy-to-understand language. There might also be value in adding patient stories to help illustrate the great outcomes patients can expect and build trust in your team. A detailed content audit can help you see where your organization can benefit from additional content and what that content should include.
Get Help From the Content Auditing Experts
Depending on the scope and size of the content you want to survey, a content audit can be a complicated, time-consuming process. If your team’s priorities mean you don’t have time to spare for this type of project, Perficient is ready to help.
For more information on how we can help you better understand your content through a content audit, contact us.