Ditch the spreadsheet for content analysis.

Rethinking the Content Inventory: Site Inventories

Key Points

  • For a large digital presence, an inventory that spans sites probably makes sense.
  • A useful inventory of sites can distill down to a table, which a site per row, with common metadata about each site.
Related resource
Rethinking the Content Inventory | Use this report if you are inventorying your site(s)

Content inventories are often considered just long lists of content. In fact, the top Google.com search result on "content inventory" is still the 2002 Adaptive Path article calling them "a mind-numbingly detailed odyssey"). But sites now are often getting way too complex (and big) to plod through every entry.

Many web presences have multiple sites or perhaps subsites or major sections. A multinational consumer product company has sites per country and / or product. Advocacy organizations may have a site per initiative, and news sites will also be broken down into primary sections like Sports.

So instead of a mind-numbing list, your content inventory could be grouped to come up with site inventories like this:

Subsite Page Count New Template Popularity
Sports 5000 100% 50%
Celebrity 1000 90% 50%
Europe 1000 90% 90%
World 2000 10% 90%
Politics 3000 50% 50%
Weather 6000 100% 10%
Percentage of pages using the latest template Percentage of pages that have received fewer than 100 pageviews in the last month

You'll notice that this type of report tells you a lot of information that probably would not be obvious when poking around a laundry list content inventory. For example, you see:

  • Which sites have a high percentage of unpopular content that are also small and on an old template—potentially the entire subsite could be dropped for example
  • Which sites are completely using your newest template—these could potentially be the first to migrate in a migration project
  • What sites are large and in the new template but with a lot of unpopular content—these may be ripe for a new publishing strategy

Part of the point of the site inventory is that it is combining information from multiple sources (the above example table lists some possibilities but there are many more). Obviously, you could look at your analytics to just see the total page views for a site, or even the % of pages on a site that have under a threshold of pageviews per month.

But it gets much more interesting when you combine the information, especially when you are considering phasing changes to your site. For example, you could migrate all sites that are 100% in the new template first, then in the next phase move those that have 90%+ in the new template.

A site inventory view into your content inventory of course isn't the only view you need to take. You need to look specifically at high-value content, and may need to slice and dice the results in different ways (such as by content type). But for complex rollout planning or other broad analysis, especially for very large sites which an organization doesn't have a solid handle on, site inventories can help drive decisions.

Note that the site inventory can just be derived from a larger content inventory. For example, if your content inventory has less than a million items, then you can use Excel pivot to aggregate the information (and other tools could be used for larger sets). 

Rethinking the Content Inventory Use this report if you are inventorying your site(s)