Content Audit Guide
What it is
A content audit is the activity of checking all of the content on an existing website, and compiling it into a big list (usually in a spreadsheet). There are two kinds of audits: quantitative inventories and qualitative assessments. The inventory answers the question "What content is there?" and the assessment answers the question "Is it any good?"
How to do it
- Quantitative inventory: For each piece of content, an inventory generally lists a:
- format (standard text, video, PDF, etc.),
- URL or other location,
- content type (landing page, article, support page, contact page, etc.), and
- "owner" (person responsible for upkeep)
- When working on a Drupal site, it is helpful to conduct an inventory of existing content types, fields in each content type, and number of nodes for each content type
- Qualitative assessment: ask the following questions (from Erin Kissane, "The Elements of Content Strategy") when evaluating content:
- Is it appropriate?
- Useful and user-centered?
- Clear, consistent, and concise?
- Has it been properly supported, or is it outdated or inaccurate?
See Recommended Reading below for more detailed information about possible approaches.
Why to do it
A content audit is the best way to fully comprehend all existing content and to accurately access current content woes and assets.
Specifically, a content audit and analysis helps us understand:
- How is content currently performing?
- How do users currently view a given agency or department based on viewing their existing website?
- What is the tone, voice and branding for the agency?
- What is the lifecycle history of content?
- Donna Spencer, UX Mastery, "How to conduct a content audit" (October 16, 2014)
- boxes and arrows, "Content Analysis Heuristics" (March 12, 2007)
- University of Minnesota IT, "Moving to Drupal: Content Audit" (includes a content audit worksheet template)
- Kristina Halvorson, Content Strategy for the Web, chapter 5
- Erin Kissane, The Elements of Content Strategy, chapter 3, "Tools and Techniques"
- A quantitative inventory (generated automatically with this auditing tool) for the redesign of dnfsb.gov
- Rethink Media content audit spreadsheet
- Search "content audit" in the CivicActions Google Drive for more
This page was last updated on February 10, 2023.