U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
EERE Communication Standards & Guidelines
A content analysis is a comprehensive review of the content on your website. It's a useful way to 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. It is an important part of 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.
Creating Web Content Inventories
When reviewing your content, start with a content inventory. This is typically a document or spreadsheet that lists all of the content on your website. Most content inventories list all of the Web pages on a site along with any information that is important to track.
Content Inventory Tips
Here are some tips for creating useful content inventories:
- Databases often have hundreds or thousands of pages. It's seldom useful to list every page in an inventory. Instead, consider leaving a note that explains what kind of information is in this database and how many pages it has.
- Drupal makes it extremely easy to find all your site's content. Log in and click on "Office Content." Select the drop-down menu next to your website and select "Content." This will list every page in your section.
- If your website is not in Drupal, you can use the internal search engine to find all of your website's content.
Content Inventory Example
Download the content inventory template.
For an example of how to use this template, see the Communication Standards: FY 2014 Inventory. This content inventory was created in Excel. It lists URLs, page names, navigation, navigation hierarchy, and section placement for each page on the website. It also includes a notes field.
Analyzing Web Content
Once you have an inventory, you can begin to analyze your Web content. While it's possible to analyze your content without the help of an inventory, it's very difficult to get a full picture of what content you have and what is missing without one.
The goal of a content analysis is to go through all of the content on your site, page by page, and to identify places where it can be improved. The results of content analysis can be tracked in the notes field on your content inventory or in a separate file. This is a subjective process.
Before analyzing your content, decide what you will look at and what you will track. While a content analysis does not fix problems, the information can be used as the motivation to start projects, such as content updates or user research projects.
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 it 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 Archiving page for guidelines on how to remove pages or create backups.
Content Analysis Examples
Here are some examples of what to include in your analysis:
- Gaps. Are users looking for something that you don't have 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 it performs in search engines? Are there best practices that can be applied to make the content more clearly written or more readable?
For an example, see the EERE Content Analysis, 2007. This content analysis was created in Word. It was a review of the entire EERE website and listed key pages and examples—not every page on the website.