Auditing the King of Content

by LaurenTivnan on June 20, 2013

We all know content is King. But what exactly does the King of your website look like these days? Has he gotten older? A little out of date perhaps?

Performing a content audit on your website is a necessary tool to help your organization take stock of one of the most important marketing tools your organization has today: your corporate website.

What is a Content Audit?

While it sounds daunting, performing a content audit on your website is basically compiling certain data points from every page into a big list. There are generally three types of content audits you can perform:

  1. Full Content Inventory: This is a complete inventory of every single page on your website—including any downloads, .pdf files and videos.
  2. Partial Content Inventory: A smaller listing of a certain subset of your website’s content. This partial inventory may include items such as the top few levels of the hierarchy or just the past few months of articles.
  3. Content Sample: The smallest type of audit you can do—usually just one level of the hierarchy or possibly just one page of inventoried items (think video or print libraries on your website).

Why do you need a Content Audit?

If you are about to revamp your website—even a section of your website—you’ll want to know what “inventory” of pages you have before you get to work. By performing a content audit before you begin, you’ll know which pages you no longer need, which pages of content are out of date and contain old or even wrong information and you may even spot some duplicate pages.

How to get started with a Content Audit

While it may take some time, performing a content audit of your website does not have to be complicated. I recommend organizing all of the information in a simple excel spreadsheet. Start by collecting the following:

  • Navigation Title/Link Title: The obvious starting point, yet an important one.
  • Page Name: The page name may not reflect the content on the page—keep an eye out for this.
  • Page URL: For easy reference for anyone else in your organization who wants to see the audit.
  • Content Hierarchy: Top-tier pages should get the more prominence in your audit. However, the bottom-tier pages should not be ignored. That’s where you are likely to find outdated information.
  • Content Type: What type of content is located on the page? Videos? White Papers? Feature Articles?
  • Content Quality: How is the tone? Is the content branded correctly? Does the content adhere to your organization’s brand standards?
  • Content Manager: Who in your organization is responsible for updating the content on this page/section?
  • Date Last Updated: An easy way t tell which pages are old or possibly out of date and need to be deleted from your website.
  • Topic Tags: Include meta tags for each page and note whether they need to be updated or not.

How to Get Started

You’ll first need a listing of every single page on your website and trust me, you’ll be surprised to see just how big most websites can get!

If your website runs on a Content Management System (CMS), you should be able to get access to a list of all the pages—and if you’re lucky, the CMS may be able to run an initial audit of your website.

If your organization does not have a CMS, you can access your website’s sitemap which will normally live at yoursite.com/sitemap.xml. The sitemap will list every single page on your website. The good news: Converting your sitemap to an excel file is relatively simple and can be done through a free online tool known as a XML to Excel Converter.

Now get started…you won’t be sorry you did!

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