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Rethinking the Content Inventory: topic inventories

Rethinking the Content Inventory
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In previous installments of this Rethinking the Content Inventory series we've covered inventorying content and sites.  As many sites become more topic-driven, another crucial slice is by topic.  So basically we take an inventory of every topic along with relevant metrics.  Take this example of a site that is organized by type of bird:

Content Count
Has Description?
Pageviews last month
  Supply Side Supply Side Demand Side
Cardinals 0 Yes 1
Robins 1000 No 100
Seagulls 2000 Yes 5,000
Starlings 1 Yes 1,000
Woodpeckers 10,000 No 20,000
Wrens 500 Yes 20

The columns in this example are the topic name, the number of content items tagged to that topic, whether or not the topic has a contextual description for visitors, and how many pageviews there have been on the topic page in the last month.  In this example, we could use this topic inventory to make a variety of useful observations:

  • A lot of content is published (and categorized) to the woodpecker subject, and has relatively high pageviews to show it.  That said, we are missing an opportunity with such an important topic (for this site) in not providing the context of a description for the topic page.
  • Cardinals as a topic should probably be dropped.
  • More should be published on Starlings, since there are high page views based on only one piece of content.

Studying the topic inventory is interesting because:

  • This can affect publishing schedules, pushing editorial teams to publish to keep quality high.
  • Provide feedback on what topics are most interesting to readers (other more sophisticated measures can be brought to bear such as how "evergreen" the content on that topic is).
  • Topics pages in particular can erode quickly in quality, and this gives a mechanism to monitor them.
  • In a migration, topics pages can sometimes be like "ghost" pages, assumed out of migration discussions since they will be "automatic."  That said, there are for example opportunities to cut underperforming topics just like unneeded content during a migration.

As discussed in Sources of Data, one key to an inventory is to use the sources of data that are required to get the information needed for an inventory.  In this case, we'll cover information from the Origin (the CMS) and Usage (How content is used by visitors).  

Rethinking the Content Inventory

First published 26 April 2012