A content inventory is a list of all the content on your site. Your inventory will typically include text, images, documents, and applications. To gain insight from your inventory, you will need to assess each piece of content. Doing so will help you understand what is on the site, if it is located properly, and whether content is up-to-date.
What to Include in an Inventory
Prior to pulling an inventory, it’s important to note your:
- Goals: Understanding why you’re doing the audit and what you intend to do with the results can help focus this activity and make it less overwhelming.
- Scope: Determining which areas of the site or particular date ranges should be captured is important.
Once goals and scope are determined, you’ll be able to note what information to include. Although inventories vary in what they capture, most include the following raw data for each piece of site content:
- Unique Content ID
- File Format (HTML, PDF, DOC, TXT…)
- Author or Provider
- Physical location (in the content management system, on the server, etc)
- Meta Description
- Meta Keywords
- Categories/ Tags
- Dates (created, revised, accessed)
Often you can leverage your content management system or a crawler to pull this raw data. This information can be dropped into a spreadsheet so that it can be sorted and edited more easily.
It’s also important to find out if there are any existing redirects in place.
Turning an Inventory into an Meaningful Audit
Turning the raw data in your inventory into something useful requires someone to actually go through each piece and perform an assessment. The type of assessment you choose to conduct depends on what you are hoping to learn.
Once goals and scope are understood, you can choose which audit makes sense for you. Often audits are used to track:
- What pages should be removed
- Whether content need to be revised
- Which content needs to be written due to gaps
- Where content should be mapped to if being moved or if it requires redirects
Depending on your goals related to the inventory, you may also choose to add columns related to your editorial process noting if something is being fact-checked, edited, approved, or sent for development.