What is a Content Audit?

A content audit is a qualitative assessment of the content of a website. It is usually preceded by a content inventory, which gathers the data about all the pages and files on the site. The audit supplements that data with an evaluation of the quality and value of the content. An audit is usually part of a website redesign process, but as several of these authors discuss, should be an ongoing task for site health and maintenance.

From Inventory to Insight

Content Insight

An ongoing series of articles by Paula Land at Content Insight. Articles in the series cover how to start with an automated content inventory and create content audits. Articles include:

Auditing Content for Customer Experience
A Template for Content Inventory and Audit

Auditing for Content Performance
Using Personas in Content Audits
The Qualitative Content Audit
The Competitive Content Audit

Content Knowledge is Power

Sara Wachter-Boettcher
April 29, 2013

In this article for Smashing Magazine, Sara Wachter-Boettcher writes that "what you don't know will hurt you," referring to the messy legacy content that, if not dealt with, will come back to haunt you when your navigation, templates, and layout don't support it. The solution, a content audit that answers the questions what are we publishing and what do we want to do with it?

How to Conduct a Content Audit

Donna Spencer, UX Mastery
February 26, 2013

A content audit is a crucial step in understanding a content-heavy site. Spencer provides expert guidance on getting through this "tedious, un-sexy," but necessary task. Includes tips on what to include and advice about not capturing what you don't need. Content audits are usually done as part of a redesign project, but can be useful for a new site too.

How to do a content audit

Hilary Marsh, hilarymarsh.com
March 12, 2012

Content audits are critical in preparing for redesign, CMS migrations or creating unified content strategy. Marsh covers the why, how and when to conduct a content inventory or audit while providing tips on the process and preserving your sanity.

Marsh also answers common questions

  • Do representative samples work instead of full audits?
  • Who should conduct content audits
  • Are there tools to help automate the process

Audits to Insights

Tosca Fasso
August 20, 2103

In this two-part post on the Content Insight blog, Tosca Fasso offers practical guidance on presenting audit findings for maximum effectiveness, including how to use information visualization techniques to illustrate data. "If you're trying to persuade an audience, you need to understand who they are, how they want to be spoken to, and why they're listening to you." 


Content Inventory + Content Audit: Why would you do one without the other?

Susan Evans, mStoner
July 7, 2012

How do you decide between performing a content inventory or the more exhaustive content audit? Evans shows that what you gather in inventories really should be tailored to your goals and adds new items to the basic inventory criteria such as character counts and making sure there are alt tags on images.

Highlights include

  • How to conduct a quantitative inventory and transform it into a qualitative audit
  • When you perform an inventory is when it makes the most sense in your project
  • How to make it seem less overwhelming

Why Traditional Content Audits Aren't Enough

Ahava Leibtag
January 24, 2011

In this article for Content Marketing Institute, Leibtag advocates for moving toward multi-dimensional content audits, i.e., combining the quantitative data with qualitative analysis, which could mean enhancing your audit with design, analytics, and template information. A multi-dimensional audit helps set the stage for the design phase of a redesign and helps you make good decisions about the content.

Website Content Audits

Content Insight

Who performs content audits? What is the value of a content audit? How long do they take? And how can using a tool improve and accelerate the process of information gathering? This article answers these questions and more, including how audits can be useful in content migration and tracking content over time.

From Content Audit to Design Insight: How a content audit facilitates decision-making and influences design strategy

Christopher Detzi, UX Magazine
March 20, 2012

Content audits aren't just useful to content strategists’user experience designers need the insight they provide too.

This article presents an in-depth study of an intranet redesign, in which doing an audit helped facilitate conversation with stakeholders about the ultimate goals of the project and uncovered insights that led to design decisions.

How To: Conducting a Website Content Audit

Rob McCarthy
October 18, 2011

Conducting an audit of your website and updating it frequently is a key to ensuring that your site is operating efficiently and your content is engaging your customers. Learn how to set up an audit and how to add analytics and other data.

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