Introduction to Content Inventories and Audits


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Introduction to the what, when, why, where, and who of conducting website content inventories and audits, with tips on auditing for content quality, performance, and competitive advantage.

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Introduction to Content Inventories and Audits

  1. 1. Introduction to Content Inventories and Audits Paula Land Content Insight
  2. 2. Introduction Paula Land Co-founder and CEO of Content Insight Owner and Principal Consultant at Strategic Content
  3. 3. What we’re going to talk about The Who What When Where Why* How *Not quite in that order
  4. 4. What?
  5. 5. Content inventories and audits Early steps in a content project Form the foundation for the larger initiative Strategy Gap Analysis AuditInventory
  6. 6. Inventory vs. audit Inventory - Quantity Audit - Quality
  7. 7. Another way to think of it Inventory - Data Audit - Analysis
  8. 8. Yet another way to think of it Some rights reserved by phil_g "Not doing an inventory is like starting to bake when you don't know what ingredients you have in the house.― – Rahel Bailie
  9. 9. How do we create a content inventory? Crtl+C, Ctrl+V The manual way The automated way
  10. 10. What goes into a content inventory? • URLs — How many pages are there on the site? • File types — What are all of the formats? • File size — How large are the files? • Level — How deep does the site go? • Images — How many of them, what format, where do they live? • Media — How many audio and video files exist, what format, where do they live? • Documents —How many, what format, where do they live? • Metadata — What title, description, and keyword metadata is on each page? • Links in and out — What links to and from each page? • H1s — What is the H1 text (matters for SEO) • Analytics — What traffic is each page getting?
  11. 11. Why inventory? • Assess as-is landscape of a site or content set • Scope a project for resource estimation • Identify patterns in content structure • Set a baseline to measure to-be site against • Establish a basis for migration tracking
  12. 12. What is a content audit? • Qualitative assessment of content against a set of criteria Goals Standards User tasks Competitors • Set of recommendations
  13. 13. Why audit? • Assess current state of content to inform strategy • Identify whether content consistently follows brand, template, editorial, style and metadata guidelines • Assess whether content supports business and user goals • Establish a basis for gap analysis between content you have and content you need • Prepare content for revision, removal and migration • Uncover patterns in content to support structured content initiatives • Understand content lifecycle and workflows Business Goals User Goals Content
  14. 14. Organizational value of audits Become the content expert Be the content advocate Drive change forward Image by Thibault fr (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia
  15. 15. When do we inventory and audit? • Planning a content strategy initiative • Website redesign • CMS implementation • Ongoing
  16. 16. Audits aren’t just for content strategists Content strategists Information architects Project managers Site managers Everyone who interacts with your content
  17. 17. Audit across all content touchpoints
  18. 18. Turning an inventory into an audit Scope the audit Gather information Analyze content against criteria
  19. 19. Scoping the audit Why are you auditing? • Scoping a project • Content strategy initiative and/or site redesign • CMS implementation • Ongoing What do you need to learn? Who is your audience? How much time do you have? What’s your project timeline?
  20. 20. Assembling the audit ingredients Information to gather before beginning: • Inventory data • Business requirements • Analytics data and other metrics • Editorial and brand guidelines • Personas • Customer journey maps • Customer feedback • Search logs
  21. 21. What we audit for Quality Breadth and depth Performance and effectiveness Competition
  22. 22. Auditing for content quality What to assess: • Content is relevant • Content is current • Content is accurate • It is easy-to-read/scan • Tone is audience-appropriate • Content communicates key messages • Content facilitates key user activities • Content is engaging • Content presentation is consistent • Nomenclature is clear and consistent What to assess against: • Editorial style guide • Brand guidelines • Voice / tone guidelines • User research • Personas • Customer tasks
  23. 23. Auditing for structure and function What to assess: • What content elements and interactions exist on the site? • How well do they perform? • What are the implications for redesign or migration? What to assess against: • Customer journey maps • Analytics goals • Business requirements for CMS
  24. 24. Auditing for breadth and depth What to assess: • Range of subjects covered • Comprehensiveness of coverage • Format What to assess against: • Competitor sites • Business requirements • Personas • Customer journey map
  25. 25. Auditing for content performance What to assess: • Analytics data • Site metrics • Search data What to assess against: • Business goals • Personas • Key performance indicators (KPIs) • Search rankings
  26. 26. Auditing against competitors What to assess: • Audience(s) • Type and quantity of content • Formats • Language (tone and voice) • Contributors (numbers, names) • Community features • Frequency of publication • Overall impression • Stand-out or differentiating features What to assess for: • Breadth and depth • Consistency • Completeness • Currency and frequency • Findability
  27. 27. Auditing against competitors What to assess: • Audience(s) • Type and quantity of content • Formats • Language (tone and voice) • Contributors (numbers, names) • Community features • Frequency of publication • Overall impression • Stand-out or differentiating features What to assess for: • Breadth and depth • Consistency • Completeness • Currency and frequency • Findability
  28. 28. Gathering insights Review your goals Look for patterns Draw conclusions Assemble evidence
  29. 29. Presenting audit findings Contex t Content Users
  30. 30. Presenting audit findings – context What decisions need to be made? What change are you trying to drive?
  31. 31. Presenting audit findings – content What are the most compelling data points? What is the call to action? Minimize surprises
  32. 32. Presenting audit findings – users Think about your audience:  Who are they?  How much background do they have?  What will be most persuasive to them?  What format is appropriate for the type of information you are sharing?
  33. 33. Presenting audit findings – format Presentation deck – high level overview, summary of findings, recommendations, Document – detailed results, section-by-section, examples, illustrations Graphics – present visuals to quickly illustrate data points Data – spreadsheet or other data sets
  34. 34. Summary Begin your audit with an inventory Understand the business context Immerse yourself in the available information Set goals and scope your audit Look for patterns to identify areas of focus Present your findings in an effective way
  35. 35. Try CAT Automate your content inventories for fast, easy data gathering! Free trial available Sign up at