# Content Audit

# Phase: 🔎 Problem seeking
Focus: Landscape


Time commitment: Varies by size of site, but relatively time-intensive
Difficulty: Easy
Materials needed: Website/app to audit, spreadsheet
Who should participate: Content strategists, project/product owners, information architects, anyone who likes to read
Best for: Evaluating the existing content landscape of a product in order to assess needs and next steps

# About this tool

A content audit (or content inventory), especially if prepared in conjunction with a sitemap and heuristic evaluation, can significantly jump-start work on improving an existing product. If something already exists, after all, why not pull it apart as a good place to start?

A content audit is just that: a list of every piece of content that lives within (or even adjacent to, in the case of items like documentation) your product. This isn't just words; it can include image, metatdata and multimedia in addition to just text. To start, simply begin with the entry point to your product (homepage, home screen, etc) and dig deeper from there: click on everything. In the process, note key categories about each item, such as the following:

  • Title or navigational text that led to that content item
  • The title of the content item itself, if applicable
  • Its URL or other unique identifier
  • Its file format
  • Its metadata (description? keywords? taxonomy tags?)
  • Its parent section or page, if it has one
  • The purpose the content item is intended to fill within a user journey
  • Whether it's regularly updated or "evergreen", and if the former, whether it actually is regularly updated
  • Who "owns" or is otherwise responsible for maintaining the content item
  • Whether it's a duplicate of, or a redirect from, something else

While the process can be tedious, it can easily be broken out among a group of people to minimize the tedium. Depending on the site/product, there may also be automated tools or crawlers that can help reduce some of the burden. And in the end, you'll be able to surface a wide variety of insights, including:

  • The true size/scope of the product
  • Whether the product as it exists now is actually "about" what it's supposed to be about; does the content support the product's purpose
  • What semantic categories (or, alternately, file types) have the most content, and whether that accurately reflects its importance
  • Based on the cadence of updates, the amount of maintenance that has been devoted to the product in the past
  • Whether core information is being presented consistently and with the correct amount of repetition/reinforcement