Albert Einstein said, “Out of clutter, find simplicity.”
If you manage a website or are currently building one, you understand the clutter that can ensue.
Content is the crux of any well-designed website, but there is so much, it can be hard to manage.
So, what’s the solution? A website content inventory resolves clutter, so you can find simplicity.
Here’s what you need to know about building a website content inventory.
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What Is A Website Content Inventory?
If you think of your web content as assets, then inventorying it makes sense. It allows you to keep track of the content as it grows.
A website content inventory also lets you see the big picture at a glance, so you know what content is lacking and what you need to edit.
A website content inventory is more than just a list of things on your website. It is a dataset that shows every piece of content in your portfolio.
That would include the assets that are not on the website any longer. You might find them useful at some point in the future.
What Goes Into A Website Content Inventory?
A website content inventory should include:
- Blog posts
- Web apps
- Landing pages
- Product descriptions
You could also break your inventory down further to include raw data, such as:
- Meta keywords
- Meta descriptions
- File formats
- Unique identifiers
It depends on which assets you feel you need to track. You should design the inventory in a way that best meets your goals.
Why Keep A Website Content Inventory?
Keeping a website content inventory allows you to manage what is on your website. It helps you track your content assets, so you know where they are located and whether they are still active.
It shows you what topics you’ve covered, which data collection tools you used, what worked, and what didn’t.
You put a lot of time into creating content for a website, and it will grow. Keeping it organized allows you to stay true to your content marketing strategy and continue to build.
A website content inventory also helps you:
- Avoid duplicating topics
- Fill gaps in your topics
- Better understand your audience and their behaviors
- Improve your SEO
- Redo campaigns that worked well in the past
- Avoid redoing campaigns that didn’t work
- Better navigate your website
Each piece of content has value. Without an inventory, you lose track of the content, and its value drops.
Website inventory is critical for effective website migration, too.
Whether you are rebranding, changing your domain, or just looking to upgrade for better SEO and site utilization, having a breakdown of the content on your web pages makes the job easier.
You don’t have to hunt down your content assets because the inventory tells you exactly where they are and the various components that go with each URL. You can find your content more accessible and make the changes necessary.
Is A Website Content Inventory The Same Thing As A Content Audit?
A website content inventory and a content audit are critical to managing your web assets, but they are different.
A content audit is like giving your website a checkup. You go through and look for:
- Broken links
- Poor loading pages
- Out-of-date SEO
- Out-of-date content
- Underperforming pages
It is a way to check the health of your website and make improvements where needed. A website content inventory is a dataset, usually a spreadsheet, that tracks your content assets.
These two critical tools do work together, though. For example, as you do an audit, you should update your web inventory. Audits are often done in stages because they can be time-consuming. So, first, you decide what content you want to audit. Maybe this week, you will audit blog posts and, next week, website metrics or videos.
Once you pinpoint your goals, you make a list of the content assets included in the audit. Then you can check your website content inventory to ensure you cover them all.
How are a content audit and inventory different?
A content inventory is a comprehensive list of every piece of content on your website, past and current. The goal is to track that content.
A content audit allows you to tweak the website piece by piece. First, you check the content to ensure it is viable. Then you make changes that update it, like adding new keywords or updating the graphics.
How To Create A Website Content Inventory
It starts with establishing the goals you have for the inventory.
First, decide what information you want to inventory. The more information you track, the more organized you will be, so don’t just cover the basics, like blog titles.
Dig deep and cover the content fully. For example, when inventorying blog content, you want to list:
- Date published
- Page title
- Any graphics or media
- Internal links
- External links
- Target audience
That’s a lot of information, but the more you know, the better you can organize your content. Ideally, you would start the website inventory as you build the pages.
Spend some time deciding what information will help you in the future. For example, if you are the sole author of your content, you can drop that. Also, consider how you plan to use the information in the inventory.
Do you want to monitor the metrics? Then you’ll want to break that category down further by listing page views and other analytics.
If you are creating your inventory retroactively, there is software that can help you do it quickly. The software scans each page you list and breaks down its components.
It will list the inbound links and metadata and even pinpoint duplicate content.
Choose a format
The best vehicle for a website content inventory is a spreadsheet. It allows you to filter information, for example, and do sorts.
Content inventory templates are available that you can load into Google Docs or Excel to give yourself a head start.
Look at the different styles and pick the one that looks like what you want. You can tweak it once it is loaded.
The idea of creating a website content inventory can be a bit overwhelming. So, here are some tips to help make the process easier.
Make it an assigned task
Make the website inventory management someone’s job. Don’t leave it up in the air as to who will do it.
Schedule times to do your inventory and keep it updated. At the same time, do the content audit of at least one element. This way, you constantly update your information and refresh your web pages. If you fall behind, it will be hard to catch up.
Break it up
If you try to do everything at once, it will feel like an impossible task. Instead, break it up into small bites or subsets. Do what is most important to managing your website first, like URLs and topics, and build from there.
Do the important sections of your website first.
That might be the most visited pages of your blog, for example. Maybe, you should do your landing page first and save pillar pages for another time.
Automate when you can
Webpage scanning applications can quickly break down a lot of information for you. Many will also let you do a set number of URLs for free. Use automation when you can to make the process more efficient.
Do content audits frequently
Content audits and website content inventories go hand in hand. The more often you do audits, the more accurate your inventory will be. There is nothing easy about managing a website, but staying up to date will make it easier.
Use your content inventory when creating your editorial calendar
The content editorial calendar is the third piece of the website content management puzzle. It allows you to plan out your content topics in advance. The calendar lists the topics you want to cover and the dates you want to publish.
You can use your website content inventory to keep track of the topics on your blog, so you don’t duplicate them too soon. You can also use it to refresh older topics and make them new.
The inventory will show you what keywords you’ve used that have been successful. You can build new topics around those keywords, improve your search rankings and social media activity, and drive more traffic to your website.
Use the inventory to show you what topics and keywords failed to perform in the past. You can see if they can be saved or know to avoid them when developing topics for your calendar.
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