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  • How to do a Content Inventory

    This is our next post in our series dedicated to preparing you for the responsive web design process. As our introductory article touched on, responsive web design means that you cannot know or control the device which your website will be viewed upon.

    content-inventory

    Why are People Really Visiting Your Site?

    A good place to start a content inventory is to list the goals people may have when they search out your site. Why is somebody coming to your site?

    Are they seeking information about your company? Do they need contact information? These are just a few questions that scratch the surface. Write down a list of all the main reasons people may be searching for your website.

    What is Your Main Call to Action?

    Look back at all possible goals from your list above. Now identify your main call to action. This goal shouldn’t be a poetic mission statement. It should be a real tangible goal like wanting to make sure people come and eat food in your restaurant.

    This goal shouldn’t be a poetic mission statement. It should be a real tangible goal like wanting to make sure people come and eat food in your restaurant.

    What Pages Will Your Site Need?

    This isn’t your finalized navigation, but think about what clusters of information your site needs. Some examples could be a team bio page, blog page, about page, products page and contact page.

    This is a bird-eye view of your site. The next section will get specific.

    What Information is on Each Page?

    What information will go on each page? This seemingly basic question, is often overlooked, but it will make the difference in helping you create a powerful, effective and responsive website.

    Let’s use your team bio page as an example. List all of the components that need to go on this page. For example:

    Bio Page

    • Names of employees
    • Titles of employees
    • Headline about working at our company
    • several paragraphs about working at our company
    • some images of our workspace
    • 2 or 3 testimonials of our employees
    • job listings

    Don’t Worry About Perfection at this Point

    You should do this content inventory for each page of your site. Overlook problems at this stage. Even while writing up the example above, I became aware of several problems. Should the bio page really be where we list jobs? Probably not. But, I didn’t anticipate we needed a careers page, until I started honing in on the content. I also realized we didn’t yet have pictures of our workspace. Ignore these problems for now.

    It’s easy to get overwhelmed during a content inventory. You may get distracted by trying to organize what is of most importance. You also may get distracted by pieces of content you don’t yet have. Try to not focus on this and simply view the content inventory as a rough sketch, brainstorm or outline.

    As you begin to identify the elements of each page, your site’s structure will become clearer. If you are working with a web designer or agency, they will be able to help you sort out your goals and information architecture. Responsive Design thrives on clarity of information.

    Responsive Design thrives on clarity of information.

    Your Content Will Make or Break Your Site

    By putting focus into what you and/or your company are trying to say, you will deliver your message no matter what device. When your site is ready to be visually designed, choices around typography, color and layout will be intentional to suit the needs of your content.

    Have any strategies, processes or tools helped you and/or your business clarify its messaging? Do you think a content inventory should be full and thorough or intentionally kept simple? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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