The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) recommends that its offices conduct periodic content inventories and analyses of their websites. These will identify content that needs to be updated, edited, added, or removed.
EERE asks that all Web Coordinators and their teams review their websites' content at least once a year as part of their annual website maintenance. Ultimately, it ensures that your team is:
- Aware of what they currently have online and what they're responsible for
- Confident that all of the content they have posted is relevant
- Actively removing content that is no longer helpful.
A content inventory is a document or spreadsheet that lists all of the content on your website. Inventories can range from simple to complex, and can include any information about your website that your team wants to track. Typically, they list the web pages on the website, navigation labels, and URLs.
Creating an Inventory with the Energy.gov Content Management System
You can use the Energy.gov Content Management System (CMS) to generate a simple content inventory. To do this:
- Log in to the CMS.
- Go to "Office Content."
- Find your nested group and choose "Content" from the drop-down menu.
- You will now see a list of all of the content on your website, including downloads, articles, and content pages. This also includes published and unpublished pages. If you want to filter your content (for example, if you only want to see published content pages), choose:
- The page type you want under "Article Type"
- Either "Published" or "Unpublished" under "Status."
- Click the "Filter" button. A list of pages that meet your criteria should appear.
- Click the "Export to CSV" file at the top of the page.
This will create an Excel file that lists all of the pages on your website. This file will not be organized like your website—the files are organized based on when they were created or updated.
Manually Create a Readable, User-Friendly Inventory
If you want to create a readable content inventory that shows your website's structure, you will need to do this manually. Create your own inventory or use EERE's content inventory template.
EERE's template mirrors the way a website is put together, with each section of the website grouped together with its navigation labels and subpages. This gives you a visual representation of where pages are, what they're linked to, and what sections they belong to. For an example of how to use the EERE template, see the Communication Standards: FY 2014 Inventory.
Content analysis is the process of reviewing every page on your website and deciding if it needs to be updated. It is often helpful to create a content inventory first, and then use it to review each page for accuracy, usefulness, audience appropriateness, EERE writing standards and best practices, user friendliness, and whether it meets an office's website goals. Also consider:
- Gaps. Are users looking for information that isn't on your website? Are important topics not covered (or not covered in enough detail)?
- ROT. ROT is an acronym that means redundant, outdated, and trivial content. ROT should be updated or removed.
- Ways to improve popular content. What is your most popular and in-demand content? How can you improve it?
- Underperforming content. Are any of your pages valuable and accurate, but not performing well? Are there ways to improve how they perform in search engines? Are there best practices that can be applied to make the content more clearly written or more readable?
Google Analytics can be used to help you analyze relevant user behavior—such as page views and bounce rate—for each page. This may help you identify pages that need attention.
Content Analysis Tips
Here are some tips for analyzing your website's content:
- On very large websites, it may be unrealistic to review all of your content at once. Consider reviewing one section at a time.
- Use content analysis to identify year-long goals for website improvement.
- Identify pages (or websites) to archive early in your analysis process, when possible. Identify "quick wins" by finding what content, if any, can be removed immediately. See our page about archiving websites for guidelines on how to remove pages or create backups.