Website design and redesign is a costly process. Content creation and management is equally time-consuming and expensive but very vital to the life of any online business. To better understand your content and how it connects with the customers and users, you need to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze your content. To do this, you need to use a content inventory which is a comprehensive list of files organized in a spreadsheet or software that you can use to plan the content of a new site or improve on an existing one.
During website redesign and migration, the content inventory accumulates more information to the initial list of files. The content manager can include more columns of data such as assigning ownership of each content on the website, review status, important notes for migration, URLs, metadata plus many more as needed. The organization of the spreadsheet is based on the site’s structure for easy deriving of the navigational model. You can also use the inventory for tracking content on different systems. Furthermore, it can even double up as the copy deck for guiding how each page is rebuild. By the end of the project this document is normally filled with lots of comprehensive information on the website’s content structure.
Why Create a Content Inventory?
There are many reasons why creating a content inventory is very important. Here are some of the reasons;
- Use it as a foundation for tracking website migration
- Offers basis for project estimation
- Measures the website’s landscape as it is
- Helps in the identifications of content structure
- Offer a baseline of comparision
When Should You Inventory?
There is no specific time when you should create an inventory. However, the following are the three most common and important times to inventory;
- During regular ongoing website maintenance
- At the beginning of a website redesign
- When preparing for a CMS migration
- After a CMS migration
Most people don’t like working with content inventories for various reasons. First, creating a comprehensive inventory is time-consuming. Second, they can quickly become outdated if you frequently update the site. Finally, content inventories are not easy to maintain and when they are customized, they are not easy to update.
The solution to the problem above lies in the use of automatic content analysis tool like DYNO Mapper. This application makes it possible for content managers and strategists to quickly and reliably create wide-ranging inventories offering rich data about every page, including inbound and outbound links, quantity and nature of images, videos, downloads and documents on each page. You also get to review metadata such as page descriptions and titles. You can keep the inventory updated by being able to locate new, deleted or altered files, which is important for maintaining superior quality content on the site.
The Rolling Content Inventory, Lou Rosenfeld
How to Create a Content Strategy, Ian Lurie
The Long Happy Life of a Content Inventory, Paula Land
Taking a Content Inventory, Donna Maurer
Content Inventories, Audits, and Analyses: All part of benchmarking, Rahel Anne Bailie
The Content Inventory is Your Friend, Kristina Halvorson