If your company is like most, the answer is probably both.  

Chances are that your website is missing some content that would help further your business objectives. At the same time, it also likely has some outdated, redundant or poor-quality content. 

The Opportunity Cost of Too Little 

Often people go to a company website with a goal in mind — they want a question answered, or to learn something about a specific topic. If the information they seek isn’t there, you miss out on a valuable opportunity to deepen engagement with a client or prospect, to alleviate some of their concerns or demonstrate your expertise.  

The Risk of Too Much  

Most website content managers, keenly aware of those opportunity costs of too little content, usually focus on creating content. They establish a target quantity of new pieces to develop over a period of time and use that as their measure of success. But if you’re not also periodically purging what’s no longer timely or valuable to your audience, the marginal benefit of creating new content starts to decrease. That’s because the bigger your content inventory, the harder it may be for your audience to find what they need, especially if it’s buried under older, outdated information that is no longer relevant.   

The problem with leaving old content on your site isn’t just clutter. It can also damage your brand by making you appear out of touch with reality or tone-deaf to your audience’s current needs. For example, imagine how people would react today to guidance about leveraging stretch IRAs or other retirement account options estate that were eliminated under the SECURE Act. As laws regarding estate and other tax exemptions regularly change under each administration, what was formerly useful guidance becomes bad information. 

Find Out What’s Just Right  

A content audit can help you determine how much and what type of content would be ideal, and how you measure up. It entails matching your audience’s needs for information with your existing content, so you know where to beef up and where to clear out. 

At its most simple, a content audit consists of a few basic steps: 

  1. Define content goals. Determine a set of performance metrics that reflect what you’re looking to accomplish with your content. For example, if your goal is to improve SEO, your metrics should include the number of visitors from organic search. If your goal is to increase audience engagement, you might include time per page or bounce rate. 
  1. Inventory your content. Create a comprehensive catalog of all the content on your website, along with the relevant performance metrics. You may also want to categorize each piece by topic and intended audience.  
  1. Identify audience information needs. Map out a decision-making journey for each of your target audiences, identifying the type of information they need at each stage. It may be helpful to consult with your sales and client service teams to get a comprehensive understanding of the questions they hear early on in prospecting, later in the sales process, during onboarding and even from long-time clients. 
  1. Match needs to (quality) content. Determine whether you have content that meets each of the information needs you identified. And, just as importantly, evaluate the quality of that content, as measured by your performance metrics.  

Armed with insight about how well your current content supports your goals, you can make highly strategic decisions about what to create, what to improve and what to purge. However, keep in mind that addressing low-quality or outdated or superfluous content may be harder than it sounds. Humans have a tendency to develop an emotional attachment to content they created, especially if they invested a lot of time in it and may resist your efforts to clean house. For that reason, it may also be helpful to establish agreed-upon thresholds upfront, so that everyone is on board with deleting or replacing content that falls short of objective measures. 

Finally, although a one-time audit can be valuable, maintaining the right amount and types of content on your site requires an ongoing effort. Consider assigning a team to review on a regular schedule as well as in response to specific developments, such as new regulations and laws, that might affect the value of your content.