Content audit instruction

Instruction

Instruction statement

This document details the process Web Managers should undergo when conducting a content audit. It details:

  • how to discover all content and complete a content inventory
  • how to monitor content value
  • how to define valuable content and actions to increase value or remove expired content

Exclusions

This instruction does not apply to:

  • courseware, including scholarly and student work and teaching and learning materials
  • websites that have no relationship to RMIT (e.g., personal or private websites)

Instruction steps and actions

Instruction (including key points)

Responsibility

Content audits are a useful tool web managers can use to provide a picture of their web content, its location and quality. Audits should be conducted on a regular basis, and when major updates, redesigns or migrations occur.

1. Preparation

1.1 Maintain a content inventory

All web managers should maintain an inventory of their web presence. This detailed report gives a picture of all of the pages in your web presence, and maps the information architecture and the content contained within. If needed, you can request a system-generated report of content from Digital & CX.

The content inventory will then serve as the basis for your future audits.

1.2 When to audit

Conduct a content audit

  • When you intend to add a large number of pages or new subsections to the website. The audit will show how new content might duplicate or conflict with existing content.
  • At half-yearly intervals to ensure currency and that there are no gaps in content that might interrupt the user experience. Also to confirm the content meets current Web accessibility procedure.

1.3 Before you audit

Before you start your audit decide which aspects of content health you are going to review and what standards or criteria you are going to measure them against. This will inform the kinds of information you will record.

An excel spreadsheet of your site inventory with columns added for each element you are reviewing is a simple tool that is often used for this process. You may want to add columns to give each element a numerical rating and/or to record notes to help you prioritise and address the issues you identify. See the Sample audit spreadsheetfor a suggested format.

These audits require time and skilled reviewers to conduct them and need to be resourced appropriately.












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2. Conduct a qualitative audit

The qualitative audit evaluates the content discovered in the inventory, to determine if it complies with the Web content policy.

RMIT uses the TRACC method to measure content value. Using this method helps to identify problem areas and map the next steps to improving content.

2.1 Understand TRACC

TRACC requires content to be:

  • Timely
  • Relevant
  • Accessible
  • Current
  • Compelling


Timely

Content is timely if it has been published at the right time (eg. far enough in advance of key events and milestones).This content is usually event-related. Auditing timeliness may best be achieved by reviewing your workflow and curation processes rather than as part of an audit of content that is currenltly on the site.

Relevant

Relevant content:

  • speaks to the User Personas identified in the User research instruction
  • supports the goals of the RMIT website. See Web content policy
  • gets directly to the point and is essential to the user task
  • is trusted and correct
  • is unique and does not duplicate content from earlier in the user journey

Accessible
Accessible content:

  • follows the Web accessibility procedure
  • uses alt text, transcripts or captioning to describe non-text content (images, audio and video)
  • is organised and grouped by topic
  • Allows users to easily complete tasks and find what they are looking for. Refer to the Usability testing instruction to understand how to improve user journeys
  • contains functioning links and link text that accurately describes its target. Avoid ‘click here’ and ‘read more’
  • is navigable with a keyboard using access keys, keyboard shortcuts and the tab key
  • contains text labels for all actionable elements. For example, form fields, radio buttons and check boxes. Refer to the GUI design manual
  • has titles, introductory text and metadata that accurately describes the content, is discoverable by search and can be published to other channels such as social media sites. Refer to the Writing for SEO instruction and Communicating on social media instruction

Current
Current content:

  • is the most up to date source of information and is, or is drawn from the single source of truth for that piece of content.
  • adheres to the currency expectations of that content type. For example, forms rarely change but blogs should be updated regularly.

Compelling
Compelling content:

  • is easy to read and uses active language and an engaging conversational tone. Refer to the Writing for the web instruction
  • is well structured and task-focussed
  • puts the user needs before the organisation’s needs
  • uses images, video and audio only when it supports the message and adds value
  • contains accurate and engaging headings
  • has calls to action that direct users to logical and useful next steps in their journey


















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3. Reporting and improving content quality

Following the audit, analyse:

  • the volume of content requiring change or action
  • if new content is needed to support user needs and fill content gaps
  • the urgency and priority of changes needed
  • whether further analysis is needed

Create action plans that include timelines and resources for making improvements. Make urgent, high priority improvements first and then work to improve your content’s overall TRACC rating.

Refer to the relevant procedures and instructions to guide you in improving your content, (eg. Writing for the web instruction, Writing for SEO instruction).




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[Next: Supporting documents and information]