Turning a Content Inventory Into a Content Audit

Our last GOVTalks session on content spurred many of you to request a content inventory of your site. But now that you have it, what do you do with it?

Luckily, Paula Ladenburg Land's "Content Audits and Inventories: A Handbook" helps you through the process of turning that spreadsheet of content into a true content audit that will create decisions on not only whether to keep existing content, but whether to modify it as well.

Land, co-founder of the tool we use to create content inventories, argues that there's more to a content audit than just slicing and dicing. An audit, she says, should also look at the quality of the content and create a way to improve on it.

Analytics are a good place to start — seeing what the most popular pages are and getting rid of those collecting cobwebs. But Land advocates the use of personas and user stories to help you find who your content is supposed to be for. If your typical user is a 35-year-old male with a high school education looking for services, and your content is internally focused and written at a college level, you need to make changes.

Looking at the effectiveness of your content can also yield some answers. At GOVTalks, we took a look at ContentWRX, which surveys users on whether your content is effective, authoritative, and customer-centric.

Finally, Land says looking at other competitors' content can help. What competitors, you ask? Go to your counterpart's website in Michigan or Tennessee. You can even conduct a content inventory of their site and see what you may be missing — or what they tend to focus on that you don't.

A content audit is a living, breathing document. You should always be tweaking it, learning from it and improving your content. Land's book is a good start toward making your site's content better — and that ultimately helps your users.

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