A content audit will help you to evaluate and action any improvements, based on evidence. It will ensure your content stays fresh, with a clear purpose and call to action.
Do a content audit to be aware of what content you have - whether it be across your entire ecosystem or just a part of it.
See this example content audit spreadsheet provided by NSW Department of Education. It's a thorough approach to help you analyse and make decisions about the usefulness of your content. Once you've done an audit, you should apply the same parameters to each and every page of content you create.
The below guide explains how to assess the quality of your content and whether it's fit for purpose.
How much does a user need to know in order to understand your content?
|beginner||Anyone with a Year 9 education or below (12-14 years old) and no background knowledge could understand this content and be able to take action.|
|intermediate||Anyone with some background knowledge could understand this content and be able to take action.|
|expert||You would need an advanced degree and/or significant knowledge of the subject to be able to understand this content and take action.|
Who do you most want to reach with this content? Be specific. Look at your user research to find out who they are to pinpoint their needs.
|Primary audience||general public (everyone) who need to interact with government|
|Secondary audience||specific technical groups|
|corporate managers||anyone who works for your agency in a managerial capacity - either of people or of process/projects|
|corporate admin staff||anyone who works for your agency offices|
|external||other government representatives or the wider community|
|other||other audiences (specify in the comments section)|
Is the content compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA?
|1 = poor||The content is not accessible and would confuse anyone using assistive technology (eg no alt text, incorrect use of headings, illogical reading order, tables with multiple header rows/columns, images of text such as scanned PDFs).|
|2 = not good||The content almost complies with WCAG 2.1 Level AA guidelines but is missing one or two elements.|
|3 = satisfactory||The content complies with WCAG 2.1 Level AA guidelines.|
|4 = good||The content complies with WCAG 2.1 Level AA guidelines.|
|5 = excellent||The content complies with WCAG 2.1 Level AAA guidelines.|
Does the content help the user?
|1 = poor||The content is hard to follow and doesn't include any calls to action.|
|2 = not good||The content needs major work to make sure it's focused on the audience and includes a call to action.|
3 = satisfactory
|The content helps the user to a point but needs minor work to improve its audience focus.|
|4 = good||The content is mostly focused on the audience but could include a clearer call to action or introductory paragraph.|
|5 = excellent||The content is clearly focused on the audience. It includes a first paragraph or sentence that succinctly describes the topic in plain English using relevant keywords. It also has a clear call to action so the user knows what to do next.|
Is the content easy to scan? Does it use plain English, short paragraphs, subheadings and dot points where appropriate?
|1 = poor||
The content is a wall of text that's riddled with passive voice.
|2 = not good||The content needs major work to improve its use of plain English and hierarchical subheadings|
|3 = satisfactory||The content uses mostly plain English but needs some work to improve passive voice and longer sentences/paragraphs.|
|4 = good||The content uses mostly plain English but there might be some passive voice or longer sentences/paragraphs|
|5 = excellent||The content uses plain English, short sentences, a cohesive heading structure and dot points where needed.|
Is the content up to date? (Note: Your subject matter expert will need to make an assessment.)
|1 = poor||The content hasn't been touched in several years and is noticeably out of date.|
|2 = not good||The content needs major work to bring it up to date.|
|3 = satisfactory||The content hasn't been touched for a while but could still be accurate.|
|4 = good||The content is mostly accurate but needs a few minor edits to bring it up to date.|
|5 = excellent||The content has been updated in the past couple of months and is entirely accurate|
Is the content easy to find in the navigation and search – both internal and external?
|1 = poor||The content doesn't appear on the navigation and its meta data is poor or non-existent.|
|2 = not good||The content needs major work to improve its findability and metadata.|
|3 = satisfactory||The content is relatively easy to find from the navigation and its meta data could use some improvement.|
|4 = good||The content is easy to find from the navigation but its meta data could use some improvement.|
|5 = excellent||The content is easy to find from the navigation. It includes a clear title, meta description and keywords. It clearly points readers to the next logical step in their journey.|
|1 = poor||The content cannot be recognised as being from your agency and needs a complete rewrite.|
|2 = not good||The content needs major work to ensure it adheres to the guidelines|
|3 = satisfactory||The content needs major work to ensure it adheres to the guidelines|
|4 = good||The content embodies most of the guidelines but could use improvement on one element.|
|5 = excellent||The content thoroughly embodies the guidelines. It is authoritative, transparent, inclusive and encouraging in the appropriate ratio for the audience and medium.|