Content audit planner

Welcome to the content audit planner toolkit.

On this page you’ll find a 7-part template to help you plan out a content audit for your website. It includes:

  • Reasons why you should do a content audit
  • How you’ll get buy-in and help with your audit
  • What approach you’re going to take
  • What criteria you’ll audit against
  • How you’ll judge what to do with your content
  • What you’re going to include in your content audit
  • What sample of content you will audit
It might help if you watch my video on content audits before you start with the planner: go to the ‘how to do a content audit’ video.
A hand holds a pen and draws a plan on paper

1. Why you should do a content audit

1.1 Reasons to audit

We need to do a content audit in order to:

  • prepare for a website redesign or refresh
  • take stock of your content, for example if you’ve started a new role
  • get back in control of a sprawling website
  • identify content to delete or archive
  • identify opportunities to improve your content
  • support a product/service/campaign launch
  • make decisions about content based on data, not personal opinions and feelings
  • get into a regular pattern of reviewing and iterating your content

Choose your reasons from the list, or add your own.

1.2 Goals and outcomes

The goals and outcomes we can expect from this audit are:

  • a clear picture of what content needs to be edited, deleted, and improved before our redesign
  • a plan of action for what content needs to be improved
  • a list of quick wins, which will lead to better SEO/accessibility/conversion/user experience etc. when we implement them
  • a clear idea of where we need to focus our time and budget
  • a reduction of the risk and potential negative impact of outdated content, like lawsuits/poor customer experience, etc.
  • a reduction of the carbon footprint of our website by deleting unnecessary content

Choose your goals and outcomes from the list, or add your own.

2. Getting buy-in and help with your audit

2.1 Stakeholders

The stakeholders for this project are:
Name Role Team Support How aware/supportive are they of the project? Project role Owner, decision maker, etc RACI Should they be: responsible, accountable, consulted, informed? Notes Pain points, motivations, goals, sensitivities, etc
e.g. Kate Bush Customer Experience Head of Cloudbusting Champion Subject matter expert Consulted Yoyos that glow in the dark

Fill in the stakeholder matrix.

2.2 Engaging stakeholders

We’re going to engage those stakeholders by:

Name

Contact

Ask

Message

The name of the stakeholder

How and when are you going to contact them?

What are you asking them for? Budget, time, cooperation, or just letting them know?

What messages and narrative will help you win them over?

    
    

Complete the engagement plan.

3. Different approaches to content audits

3.1 Audit approach

We’re going to do a:

  • Full audit: A broad audit where we look at all (or close to all) the pages on the site.
  • Focused audit: A narrow audit where we study the pages your users encounter during a particular journey, or pages relating to a specific product, service, project, etc.
  • Rolling audit: An ongoing audit where we look at a few pages every week or month.
  • Sample audit: A broad audit where we take a representative sample of content from across the website.

Choose your audit approach.

3.2 Options for sharing the load

We’re going to spread the audit across a team by:

  • Pairing up: Pair a content expert with a subject matter expert to audit together. This can be a useful approach if you want to look closely at the accuracy of your content.
  • Assigning content based on subject matter: If you have content owners or subject matter experts for different areas, you could delegate specific content to them to audit.
  • Assigning specific audit criteria to different people: If someone has great subject matter knowledge but you/they are not confident in their ability to audit for usability, you could ask them to complete the parts of the audit that focus on accuracy.
  • Group audits: Get a group of willing helpers in a room or on a call and split into pairs to audit. This can be a great approach for big sites, and it’s a morale booster too. It creates camaraderie and it’s satisfying to see just how many pages you can get through together.

Choose from the list.

Add more detail about how you're specifically going to approach it.

4. Choosing your audit criteria

We’re going to audit against the following criteria:

  • Strategy
    • Criteria (Scale and scoring guidance)
    • e.g. Does this page do anything to support strategic goal number 1? (Yes, Somewhat, No)
  • Usefulness
    • Criteria (Scale and scoring guidance)
  • Accuracy
    • Criteria (Scale and scoring guidance)
  • Clarity
    • Criteria (Scale and scoring guidance)
  • Accessibility
    • Criteria (Scale and scoring guidance)
  • Readability
    • Criteria (Scale and scoring guidance)
  • Inclusivity
    • Criteria (Scale and scoring guidance)
  • Findability
    • Criteria (Scale and scoring guidance)
  • Engagement
    • Criteria (Scale and scoring guidance)
  • Action
    • Criteria (Scale and scoring guidance)
  • Brand voice
    • Criteria (Scale and scoring guidance)

Write your audit criteria and scoring below.

I’ve included some themes to help you think about the different aspects you might want to include. Remember to choose criteria that will help you understand how well your content is performing against your goals and standards. Also think about what information you will actually be able to use. You should also include a scale or other way of formalising your answers.

5. Judging your content

What we’ll keep

We’ll keep a piece of content ‘as is’ if:

  • Criteria 1 = x
  • Criteria 2 = y
  • Criteria 3 = z

What we’ll improve

We’ll improve a piece of content if:

  • Criteria 4 = x
  • Criteria 5 = y

or

  • Criteria 6 = z

and

  • Criteria 7 = a

and if any of:

  • Criteria 8 = x
  • Criteria 9 = y
  • Criteria 10 = z

What we’ll delete

We’ll delete the content if:

  • Criteria 1 = x

and

  • Criteria 2 = y

and

  • Criteria 3 = z

and/or:

  • Pageviews = less than a% of average pageviews for the site or section
  • Pageviews = less than x pageview per week

What we’ll archive

We’ll archive content that’s business critical but has no public-facing role, or that we’re required to keep by law:

  • type of content
  • type of content

Edit the bullet points to match your criteria and scoring requirements.

Remember to include rules and exceptions for specific kinds of content, for example news, if you need to.

6. Creating the content inventory

Our content inventory will include the following data:

  • URL
  • H1
  • Title tag
  • etc
We’ll create our content inventory by combining data from the following sources: (List your data sources, e.g. crawling tools like Screaming Frog, a CMS export, etc)
  • Exporting a list of pages from our CMS
This will cost [include the cost of the tools if applicable].

List the data you're going to include.

Think about things like URL, H1, title tag, etc that will help you understand more about the page.

  • We’ll create our content inventory by combining data from the following sources:

(List your data sources, e.g. crawling tools like Screaming Frog, a CMS export, etc)

  • Exporting a list of pages from our CMS
  • etc

This will cost:

  • [include the cost of the tools if applicable].

List your data sources and costs.

For example crawling tools like Screaming Frog, a CMS export, etc.

7. Choosing a sample of content to audit

Our site is made up of the following categories of content:

Navigational/information architecture categories

Content types

Content authors/owners

   
   

List your content in the table.

You do not need to audit every single page on your website (unless it's small and you have enough time). Instead you can choose a representative sample of different kinds of content from across the site.

Of those, we are going to audit:

Category

Number of pages

Notes

   
   
   

Complete the table in priority order

Prioritise key content to be audited, choose how many pages you'll audit and add any notes you need to help you remember your plan.

Content audit toolkit

From £295

Find out what’s really going on with your website. This toolkit is made up of 12 modules and 4 templates to guide you through planning and carrying out an effective audit. Spot ways to improve your user experience, increase conversion, and reduce your carbon footprint.

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