Content Audit – quantitative and qualitative assessment of website content

Content AuditA content audit is sometimes known as a content inventory or a quantitative analysis of content or a content assessment. But I prefer to take a more comprehensive approach for content audit which includes – 1) Quantitative content assessment – which is basically preparing a list of content assets of the website and 2) Qualitative content assessment – which is accessing content quality against usability and accessibility best practices. So, content audit is the process of creating inventory of content assets and assessing content quality against some best practices for supporting website content goals and user’s task.

Why content audit is important

Content audit is critical for identifying and accessing existing web content. Content Audit is the foundation of content strategy and content marketing initiative. It is one core component of the overall web audit project. Content audit is useful for

  • Identifying content consistently follows template, editorial, style and metadata guidelines
  • Assessing content quality for user and search friendliness
  • Preparing content for revision, removal, and migration
  • Establishing a basis for gap analysis between what content you have vs what content you want

Content audit process

At first be clear why you are doing the content audit, how you are going to use the result of the content audit.

The content audit is a 2-step process

  1. A list of content assets on the website – Quantitative Assessment
  2. An assessment of web content against content usability, accessibility, and quality best practices – Qualitative Assessment

1. Quantitative Assessment – Content Inventory

The purpose of the Content Inventory is to establish what content assets are available on the website. The aim of the content inventory is to create a complete and current reflection of content holdings by the website that require to support business and content objectives online. The content inventory will help identify content types, format, keywords etc in order to build an effective content strategy and support content goals for the website. The content inventory list may contain the following information

  • ID : Assign a unique ID number to each piece of content
  • Title: The title of the page or content
  • URL: The URL of the content or page where applicable
  • Type: Type of the content, for example – articles, lists, banners, case Studies, white papers etc
  • Format: Format of the content for example – text, graphics, audio, video, pdf
  • Description: A textual description of the content of the file
  • Creator: The person or source of the content creator
  • Keywords or Tags: Keywords or tags assigned to each piece of content
  • Last Update: Last update date of the content if recorded
  • Language: The language of the content

2. Qualitative Assessment

The purpose of this assessment is to compare web content against best practices in the field of content usability, accessibility and quality. It helps to understand whether the content is useful, usable, accessible, and persuasive to online audiences. Best practice assessment looks at your content from outsider’s point of view. You can use some best practices questionnaires to assess your web content. Here are some questions that you can use to assess the quality, usability and accessibility of your web content. You can also rate the response using a scale 1-5, 5 means strongly agree and 1 mean strongly disagree.

Questions Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree nor Disagree Disagree Strongly Disagree
1 Content are valuable and relevant to the audiences of the website
2 Content are easy to understand and clearly presented
3 Content have used brand font, clear background and high contrast
4 Content have used a good balance of graphics, text and whitespace
5 Descriptive, unique, concise, and meaningfully different titles are used on each web page
6 Content are structured (splitted by headings; short phrases and sentences; and small readable paragraphs) to facilitate scanning
7 Content headings are followed correct sequence – h1, h2 , h3 and so on
8 Content are error free and meet the quality from the perspective of grammar, spelling, active voice etc
9 Content writing styles have followed inverted pyramid style when prioritizing important message
10 Content are not written in all capitals, links are only underlined; italic used sparingly
11 Lists are arranged in way that makes scanning and understanding easy. Bullets are matched with website’s personality. Lists are used as number for instructions
12 Data tables have clear, concise, and accurate row and column headings. Tables are generally used to compare numbers and answers to questions
13 Important images are not looked like banner advertisements or gratuitous decorations. Images are not cluttered and have plenty of white space
14 Every images have used Alt Text to describe what the image is about
15 Labels for each data entry field are helping users understand what entries are required and optional; and data entry labels are worded consistently throughout the site

So, content audit is comprised with content inventory and best practice assessment of web content. Content audit list the content of the website and helps to benchmark the content quality against some best practices. Content audit is an important tool to make the case for any website content project.

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