As the amount of content on websites and web applications grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a clear and organized structure. This is where content audit and content inventory come in as important components of information architecture. While these two terms are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to distinct processes that serve different purposes.
A content inventory is essentially a list of all the content on a website or web application, including individual pages, blog posts, images, videos, and other media. This list should be comprehensive and include information such as the title, URL, author, date published, and other relevant metadata.
A content audit, on the other hand, goes beyond just listing the content and involves analyzing it to assess its quality, relevance, and effectiveness. This process can help identify areas of the website or application that need improvement, such as outdated or redundant content, missing information, or content that is not meeting its intended goals.
Why content audit?
There are several reasons why a content audit is important. For one, it can help improve the user experience of a website or application by ensuring that the content is relevant, up-to-date, and easy to navigate. It can also help with search engine optimization (SEO) by identifying areas where content can be improved to rank better in search results.
Another benefit of a content audit is that it can help identify content that is no longer needed or that can be repurposed or consolidated. This can lead to more efficient use of resources and help reduce the overall amount of content on the website or application.
Scope of content
Before beginning a content audit, it’s important to define the scope of the content. This includes identifying all the pages, blog posts, images, videos, and other media that need to be included in the inventory. It’s also important to consider any user-generated content or content that is pulled from other sources, such as social media feeds or news feeds.
Once the scope of the content has been defined, and a content inventory has been created, it’s time to begin the audit process. One of the first steps is to define the criteria for evaluating the content. This could include factors such as relevance, accuracy, timeliness, engagement, and conversion.
As the audit progresses, it’s important to look for patterns in the data. For example, are there certain types of content that are consistently performing better than others? Are there certain topics or themes that are resonating with users? These patterns can help guide decisions about what content to keep, what to improve, and what to remove.
Structure of the pages
Another important aspect of the content audit is to evaluate the structure of the website or application. This includes looking at the navigation, the hierarchy of content, and the layout of individual pages. Are there areas where the structure could be improved to make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for? Are there pages that are cluttered or difficult to read?
In addition to evaluating the structure of the website or application, it’s important to assess how well the structure works for users. This includes analyzing metrics such as bounce rate, time on page, and conversion rates. By understanding how users interact with the content and structure, it’s possible to make informed decisions about what changes need to be made.
Content audit deliverables
The deliverables of a content audit will vary depending on the specific goals of the project but typically include a report summarizing the findings of the audit, as well as recommendations for how to improve the content and structure of the website or application. This could include suggestions for removing outdated or redundant content, consolidating pages, improving navigation, and updating the design and layout of individual pages. The report may also include a content plan for moving forward, outlining the steps that need to be taken to implement the recommendations.
There are a number of best practices to keep in mind when conducting a content audit. One of the most important is ensuring that the inventory is comprehensive and accurate so that the audit can be based on a complete and reliable dataset. It’s also important to define clear criteria for evaluating the content and to ensure that these criteria are aligned with the overall goals of the project. We will dedicate another article discussing how you should define clear criteria.
Another key best practice is to involve stakeholders from across the organization in the audit process. This can include content creators, designers, developers, and others who have a stake in the success of the website or application. By working collaboratively, it’s possible to ensure that everyone’s needs and perspectives are taken into account and to build a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities involved.
Content audit and content inventory are both important components of information architecture that can help improve the user experience and search engine optimization of a website or web application. While content inventory involves listing all the content on a website or application, a content audit involves analyzing this content to identify areas for improvement.
By conducting a content audit, it’s possible to improve the relevance, accuracy, and effectiveness of the content, as well as the overall structure and design of the website or application. Best practices for conducting a content audit include defining clear criteria, involving stakeholders from across the organization, and creating a comprehensive and accurate inventory. With these best practices in mind, a content audit can be a valuable tool for optimizing the content and structure of a website or application and ensuring that it meets the needs of users and stakeholders.