Content inventory and audit

Last updated: January 16, 2023

An inventory and audit are the first steps to reduce clutter and improve the usability of content. It'll give you a snapshot of the quantity and quality of pages you have. This helps you plan life cycles and prevent duplication.

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Creating a content inventory

Inventories help you manage content and identify missing or duplicate information. It should list all the pages and related online assets you and your team manage. It can also include information such as:

  • Page titles
  • Current URLs
  • File names and types (PDF, XLSX etc.)
  • Page types and level (theme, topic, etc.)
  • Relationship to other pages: what are the parent or child pages
  • The type of record the file or page is 
  • Content type (policy, service, etc.)
  • Content authors or publishers
  • Primary audience
  • Relevant metadata
  • Status (published, unpublished)
  • Key dates (publish, review, update, removal)

They're usually a large table or set of tables built in Excel or Word that are regularly updated. It's helpful to list each page or asset in its own row, with important information in columns. This allows you to easily see everything you have and plan your next steps. Include a column identifying how often you'll review the content and then set reminders in your calendar.

You can use our content inventory template or create your own.

When to create a content inventory

If you do not already have one, you should start one now. It will tell you how much of what you have and how the content works as a whole. Learn more about information architecture

Doing a content audit

A content audit is the process of reviewing each page and asset in your inventory for accuracy, duplication and relevance. It will help you manage content and determine what needs to be updated, replaced, archived, merged or kept as-is. It may also identify where new content is needed.

Use the Web Analytics Guide to learn more about how your content is performing.

Make sure to regularly audit content to confirm it meets Web Content Standards.

When to audit content

Audits should be done at the beginning of a site redesign and included regularly as part of ongoing site maintenance. They're part of maintaining healthy content life cycles.

Audit high impact content more often than low impact content. High impact content has the most value for your audience and will often have the most visitors. Analytics can help you determine which content is high impact.