Helen Valentine of our web team has been working out which content on our current website needs to be kept as we move to our new website. Here, Helen talks about this process.
As part of the project to redesign our main website I have done a content inventory of our current website. This means that we know what’s on the website, which department provided the information, who looks at it, and how often it’s looked at. I started the inventory in May 2015, and it took about six months to pull together all the information that I needed so that we had a full picture of our website.
How did I carry out the inventory?
I started the inventory by looking at the site map of all the pages in our current content management system. I put basic information about all these pages into an Excel spreadsheet. For example, for each page we know:
- which section of the website it is in
- which department provided the information
- when it was last updated
- whether it is a page of text and images or an online form.
I also recorded whether the page was intended for anyone to read, for a specialist (e.g. for people who work in adult social care), or for Council staff.
Using Google Analytics and information from our Contact Centre, I added statistics for each page to the spreadsheet, so we know how often each page was looked at over a 12 month period, and how often someone used our web forms. We also know what proportion of visitors to each page used a mobile phone or tablet to look at the page, and how many of those visitors were using council computers. This last detail is important because we believe Council staff use our website in a different way to members of the public.
I also reviewed all the pages to see whether any information was available elsewhere online. For example, some of our food safety information could also be found on the Food Standards Agency website. So we removed our copy of the information and linked to the FSA website instead.
In May 2015 we had 4,100 pages on our main website. Now, after reviewing the content, we have reduced this to 3,200 pages.
What have we done with this information?
In December 2015 we ran some workshops where members of different council departments discussed the new website and what information they felt they need on it. We used my content inventory to show the departments what information they have on the website now.
What will we do next?
In our first blog post about the new website, we said that we plan to have a public test version of our website (the “beta” website) available in February. We have used our content inventory to help decide which information we will put into the beta website first. We will carry on moving content onto the beta website once it is live, and we’re using the inventory to help us make sure nothing important is missed out.
As the public use the beta website, we will gather feedback and usage statistics. This will help us refine the website to make sure it meets the needs of our users before we turn off the old website.
I’d like to say thank you to Sarah Lay at Nottinghamshire County Council for the useful discussions we’ve had about carrying out a content audit. You can read more about her experience of auditing content and building a new council website on the Nottinghamshire County Council Digital First blog.
By Helen Valentine