One of the most basic, and most powerful tools in our content strategy arsenal, is the Content Inventory.
A content inventory is the record of a page-by-page investigation of your website.
If you've never conducted one it might look a little daunting; especially if you have a large website. If you're an old hand at content inventories then you'll understand how valuable they are.
There are plenty of tools out there, or even inside your Content Management System (CMS), that can export a spreadsheet of your site structure to populate your inventory. But the work of actually going through your site, by hand, one page at a time - while time consuming and, at times, tedious - is more valuable than any piece of software can provide.
After your first content inventory, you will understand your site so much better. If you repeat the process a couple of times a year or integrate a regular section-by-section inventory as part of your business-as-usual, your website will be so much better for it and your users will thank you with their returned visits and trust in your content.
When you have completed your content inventory, you will have a spreadsheet documenting every page and reflecting the structure of your website.
Now things get interesting as we turn this list of pages, into the valuable audit. This is the part of the process the machines can't do. Looking at every page, and each piece of content with your own human eyes, means you can make a determination as to whether the content is worthy or not. Noting what is out of date, what is not in line with business objectives, what has breached your style and writing guides, where there are gaps, and where there are opportunities.
All these things are logged against each page to be dealt by the appropriate editor, publisher, or writer as needed.
How to perform a content audit with Paula Land
Paula Land recently participated in a webinar. You can listen in and follow along with her slide deck, thanks to Gather Content - How to perform a content audit