Content Inventory Guide

Website Content Inventories


The best way to efficient website content maintenance is first having a proper understanding of your current content and how it serves the business purpose.  You may be familiar with different ways of administering a website but the inventory presents a key way to understand content.

A quantitative content inventory is a document that highlights all your web pages as well as data about those pages. Even though the document has previously been seen as time consuming and mind numbing, it has been of great use to website designers, information architects, site managers and content strategists. Auditing content manually is time-consuming and can be costly, that is why it is recommended that you speed up the process with a website content audit tool. The tool is able to provide an accurate highlight of your website data and thereby makes it possible for you to focus delivering a quality service to your customers.  

Questions Answered by Qualitative Content Inventories

  • How many pages are in the website?
  • How many and what are the other types of contents (images, videos, documents) and what pages are they associated with?
  • What is the location of the pages, identified by URL?
  • How is the URL structured?
  • How many inbound and outbound links are there?

What is the Importance of Conducting Content Inventories?

For many years, web professionals have been manually conducting content inventories, by clicking through web pages and recording content resources in separate worksheets or by using tools designed for other purposes (like web crawlers) for easy copy and paste work. The advantage of using software to automate some of the work is that the software provides a comprehensive list of URLs without much effort. In addition to this, the software can run in the background while you are working on your website audit.

Role of a Content Inventory in the Management and Maintenance of a Website

Content inventories have numerous uses. First, they ensure that you have the information you need to understand your content catalog and make sound decisions based on the evidence. A well-defined assessment of the pages you have enables you to come up with a strategy for your content lifecycle from continuous maintenance to future development, re-use and migration of the content in your website. Content inventories are very important in projects like fresh designs, redesigns, or migration. Using software tools, you can effortlessly build content inventories to ease the process of gathering content with just one tool, communicate to stakeholders about website size and speed up the content audit processes.

Why Should You Use a Tool when Tracking Website Content?

There are common issues that you might face when conducting a content inventory. First, not all content management systems have automated inventories. Also, creating a manual inventory is close to impossible for a website with 200,000 or more URLS. Furthermore, we use different tools to gather and store data; all of them require manual manipulation to represent the actual page structure of the website.

All of these factors affect the ability of the management and staff to make informed decisions concerning website content. Having a clearly structured inventory can double as an important factor in communicating between many parties. Since most content inventories are collected in spreadsheets, a software that enables you to instantly display information to multiple parties and easily export into Excel as well as other spreadsheet software will give you great flexibility in customizing reports for different audiences.

Advantages of Content Inventories

Website content inventory software goes a long way in saving time when working towards discovering the breadth of your content. Working with websites routinely makes it easy to know the amount of content contained and how it is structured.  A content inventory can appear to be a redundant activity but it helps in communicating the breadth of websites to stakeholders.  If the main decision makers do not know and wish to know what there is, all you need is a quantitative inventory. Content inventory software like DYNO Mapper makes it easy and possible to work from a more accurate understanding of website content.

Content Inventories are the Foundations to Content Audits

Armed with a content inventory, it becomes possible for you to build content audits, documents that enable you to review page-by-page how content measures against the set quality and effectiveness measures.  The DYNO Mapper tool measures up as a web content inventory that forms the basis of an informed content audit by returning the most crucial information about your website: how much of the information there is, the types of content you have (pages, audio, video, and documents) and the URL structure, which can provide valuable hints to content types (eg.  Product pages on an e-commerce site will have similar URL patterns), and the structuring of the website (from URL structure perspective).

Use the tool to quickly identify important information about each page in your website such as:

  • Location (URL)
  • Text:html, xml
  • File Type
  • Application: pdf, doc,xls
  • Web files:js,css
  • Images: jpeg, tif, png
  • Media: swf, mp3, mp4
  • Path
  • Size
  • Level

With a basic comprehension of your content’s breadth, you can set up measures for the evaluation and analysis of content. Build up your skills on using software tools for better time efficiency when carrying out a content audit or tracking content overtime. 



Additional Resources:

The Rolling Content Inventory, Lou Rosenfeld

How to Create a Content Strategy, Ian Lurie



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