A content inventory is a list of all the content on your site. Web content can include text, images, documents, and applications.
If you are revising a Web site, create a content inventory of the current site. Then, use your site requirements to create a planned content inventory for the updated site.
Your content is what your site offers users. You have to know you have on your site and decide if it is still:
- Written with the right level of detail, tone, and language for your users
Websites typically grow over time. People add pages to the site as needed, but it is rare to remove a page. If you don’t maintain a content inventory, after awhile, it can be difficult to remember exactly what is on your site.
If you are developing a new site, set up a content inventory at the beginning. If you maintain the inventory as the site matures, you will know:
- What is on the site
- How old each page is
- When each page was last revised
- When to review each page for freshness and accuracy
Create a spreadsheet or use a database to categorize and describe the information on each page of your site. This allows you to sort the inventory by any category.
For each page on your site, your inventory should include:
- The overall topic
- The page title and URL
- A short description of the information on the page
- Its creation date, date of last revision, and when the next page review is due
- Who wrote it, who is responsible for it now, and that person's contact information
- Its expiration date (if there is one)
- Other pages that it links to
- Page status – keep, delete, revise, in revision process, planned, being written, being edited, in review, ready for posting, or posted
Use your content inventory to keep track of what is on your site and manage your editorial calendar.
When developing a new site, use the inventory to track your content in a controlled and methodical way. For a large site, have a team of people work with the content inventory. You can assign sections of it to different team members.
You can also use the content inventory to maintain your site. Work with page owners to decide:
- What pages should be dropped
- If pages need to be revised
- When content is missing and needs to be written
A content inventory must be dynamic. Someone must be in charge of keeping it up to date. If you are using spreadsheet or database, you must assign someone to maintain it and have a process to submit changes and updates.
If you are working with a content management system, you may be able to set privileges so that specific people keep up specific parts of the inventory. You may also be able to set the system to notify content owners when they need to review their pages.