There has to be an easier way… right?
Let’s take a look at the range of tools for creating content inventories, and getting your projects off on the right foot.
Among the first steps of any content project is conducting a content inventory and audit. There are a number of tools offering a range of capabilities for developing this all-important master list of existing content.
At this early stage, the goal seems simple: Get a complete list of content on the website. In practice, there are several ways to gather this information. The approaches include:
Manual content inventory
Clicking through the site by hand, copying and pasting URLs and metadata into a spreadsheet.
Desktop content inventory software
Desktop software like Screaming Frog, Xenu Link Sleuth, and SiteOrbiter runs on your computer, crawling through pages on a website, extracting links and other metadata.
Web-based content inventory tools
Bringing a web interface to the desktop software, tools like DeepTrawl, SortSite OnDemand, and Content Analysis Tool (CAT) now exist for collecting the same types of link and metadata information through your browser.
Other data sources
Raw data may also be gathered from the content management system or database running the site. Additionally, web analytics, such as Google Analytics, can be a source of content inventory data.
All of these approaches offer a way to get a handle on your content assets by assembling URLs and page metadata. The result is usually a spreadsheet full of data about what’s on your site. What then?
Beyond the content inventory
Blaze includes a web-based crawler to catalog your online content and collect metadata. But it doesn’t stop there. Our software also assists with preparing for, and actually conducting a content audit.
Cleaning things up
Most automated inventory tools do little processing beyond the information gathered from web page. Crawling a site with poorly-formed URLs, duplicated page titles, or missing metadata will produce an inventory of limited usefulness.
Blaze makes it easy to sort out sites, using simple filtering on portions of the URL and other metadata. No formulas or macros required.
Looking at the numbers
As you transition from inventorying to evaluating the content, it’s helpful to know what items are being used heavily today, and which aren’t getting traffic. By linking Google Analytics to Blaze, you can gather key stats for each URL. It’s a great way to prioritize work and ask important questions about the content on your site.
As your audit moves along, it can be a challenge to keep everything updated and in sync. The inventory can quickly become outdated as new or revised content has to be manually maintained. Keeping all of the data aligned can be a nightmare. Blaze handles this for you, making sure all of the parts fit together. Even better, with Blaze having a project put on hold doesn’t mean starting your audit over from scratch.
There can be huge benefits to working collaboratively on a content audit with colleagues and clients. Until now, the tools haven’t made this easy. Locked files, tracking down the most recent version, and passing things back and forth by email are the status quo. And then everything falls apart when someone “breaks” the spreadsheet.
Blaze allows you to work with the same dataset as the rest of your team, seeing updates as they happen. It’s a great way to get everyone on the same page, and keep them there.
In short, Blaze allows you to focus on evaluating and making good decisions about your content. We would love to talk with you about the projects you have coming up, and how Blaze can help. Request a demo to learn more.