Content Strategy Development: Content Audit

Author: 
AGIMO - WPG Review Team
Category: 
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Or, as we've dubbed it internally, "eating our own dogfood". The existing Web Publishing Guide and the associated Better Practice Checklists have plenty of guidance regarding Maintenance, Managing Online Content and Implementing a Content Management System. Even though we're not implementing a new CMS (at least not initially), the following activities described in our own guidance have proved to be enormously useful at this stage in the project:

Content Audit

This was a fairly straightforward exercise for a 90-page site and, with some quick visits to our search and web-stats, we were able to produce a table similar to the following (with a sample entry below):

Page Name Page URL 2009 Visits % Total Traffic Review Period (Months) Mandate(s) Contributor(s) Visual Design and Branding /Branding 1541 1.34% 6 N/A Attorney General's - Culture Branch

Some of these columns may require some further explanation:

  • Review periods hadn't previously been formalised on a per-page basis. After the launch in 2007, reviews had been conducted on a per-page, ad-hoc basis. A page like Branding may require a longer review period than our guidance on Online Consultation Guidelines (presently a fast-moving field); and a shorter review period than a page like e-Government Strategy 2006 (which is unlikely to change often). The maximum review period we settled on was 12 months.
  • Many of the advice pages are produced in response to particular mandates - we have a legal obligation to make the information available. Even if a page did not register a single visit over the course of a year (all pages had at least one visit, incidentally), we would've been required to keep pages with related mandates as part of the site.
  • AGIMO often consults with specialists in other government agencies to produce guidance. Where external contributors were involved, we have recorded the number and nature of contributors, as it will assist in determining the additional level of effort required to conduct a review of co-authored content.

Producing a similar report for off-site content that we've determined may be suitable for consolidation has helped open up negotiations with authors of the external content, and allowed us to compare 'apples against apples'. The good news?  We were quickly able to determine:

  • Which of the most-visited pages were most in need of review
  • The effort involved in reviewing existing co-authored pages (and prioritise them accordingly)
  • Appropriate metadata schemes to store (and expose) these values to the public, and to assist in creating automated internal reports.  Thank you very much, AGLSTERMS.Mandate, DCTERMS.Contributor and DCTERMS.Valid.

What we're left with is a long list of content to review and, where necessary, consolidate, expand upon, create from scratch or remove.

Comments (4)

That's a great approach for a relatively small site (several hundred pages at most).

With larger sites it becomes necessary to 'chunk' together related pages and look at them in groups, but following the same basic process.

When opportunity permits, it's quite useful allowing the audience to report out of date or inaccurate content. Having a 'rate this page' feature along with a "How can we improve?" question is quite useful too. Sometimes we have up to date content but what we are saying may be irrelevant or unnecessary.

Hi WPG Team

I don't know my way round this site yet, but I'll take a chance and exoect cross-linking to other places as appropriate.

Meanwhile I repeat a blog already made today on the Gov2 on "Its the Community Stupid" page 1/#comment-13540, dsince user feedback may be helpful.

Tim Watts’ article above has prompted me to consider the practical ways in which community engagement can be enhanced online and in terms of embedding Project 13 goals.

Whilst I only have time for a fleeting visit to the Gov2 site today in search of particular information, I thought that I could start a dialogue on this page that I may be able to return to when my workload is more manageable.

So here’s an idea to ponder, reflecting on suggestions I have made to a Government body (ACCC) and its closely associated incorporated regulator, the AER. Enquiries are encouraged regarding subscription to updates from the AER.

I needed no encouragement for this as I am already registered for numerous email alerts on a piecemeal basis as I come across items of interest for both these bodies and for numerous others.

Soon I will need a data manager of my own to keep track of everything but I do the best I can, remembering how demanding it is to manage data whilst trying to attend to a squillion other tasks. However, if storage and retrieval processes are not robust whether being managed for an organization or for and by a single individual (me for example) than effective use of data is impossible.

I am acutely aware that my data management skills, though reasonable, can do with much improvement. In the meantime I would like to share a real life example with Gov 2 in the hope that the suggestions can be extrapolated and used in other arenas.

It is no secret that I have a particular stakeholder interest in energy policy, though my interests are generally broad. The demands of trying to keep up with the never-ending consultative arena are exhausting for even those with robust stamina the equivalent of a “bottomless pit.

Alas there is always a bottom to the pit, as Alice in Wonderland discovered when she went down the rabbit hole (Lewis Carroll who wrote this complex fairytale that is in fact an extremely sophisticated examination of human and organizational behaviour. though mathematicians believe that it is more related to mathematical puzzles than anything else).

Alice made a random excursion into a Wonderland from which she was almost unable to return – but of that another time.

Meanwhile returning to effective community collaboration, access to material, and more importantly perhaps how community engagement can be utilized to embed the governance principles behind both Web2 and Gov, I discuss my “faceless” dialogue with two major Commonwealth organizations, one of which is an incorporated body, but transparently admits online on is website that it is an integral part of the ACCC.

I have generally found the ACC and AER websites user friendly but have made a few requests for enhancement. Other agencies can learn much from the ACCC and AER’s methods, and I am sure the room for improvement is always in every sphere.

I am already registered for numerous email alerts both for the ACCC and AER.

I have asked if I may receive all alerts from all categories so that I do not inadvertently miss any. I can always delete from my email box those that no longer interest me, but I am keen not to miss out on being kept informed.

I have asked how difficult would it be to log me in for all topic alerts for both AER and ACCC for decisions, revenue determinations, calls for submissions, public forums, consultant reports, news updates etc. etc., given also that verification processes exist and requests for information require confirmation of request.

To date that has been a manageable task, but increasingly, even though I have reasonable familiarity with both websites, I have faced access challenges because of the complexities of hierarchical categorization and overlap between categories.

Gov2 has recognized that and cross-links many items to several other single-topic electronic “filing boxes,” as evidenced from the copious material that I have already posted to Gov2 within the past two weeks following accidental discovery of a new way to communicate with Government that provides for chunking of information exchange in a more timely and to me way of thinking often a more effective

If that is not possible, perhaps here is some way I can receive a list of all topic alerts that I am registered for, hopefully in some sort of hierarchical order.

The task of keeping up with email updates and AER’s expanding role is a challenge for the best of us. The same principles apply to ACCC web alert requests, and I feel sure numerous other Government bodies.

I find I have already missed the opportunity to respond to certain public consultations because the task of keeping up with this is becoming increasing complex and onerous. In some cases I have missed out by simply not knowing. It may be that I have not yet registered for all communications that are relevant.

Even if received 50 notification a day, this not of course mean that my time availability would enable me to participate in anything but a few selected consultative initiatives, always subject to over-lapping timelines for other arenas. But I do like to know what is happening.

I have registered for numerous updates online and it may well be that I have on several occasions duplicated requests.

One drawback is that verification notices sent to my email address following request, and then verified by me as authentic requests do not sure the particular hierarchy or individual items requested.

I wonder if there is some way I can have a list of all email alert requests made by me, preferably in hierarchy format if this is something that can be readily accessed.

As a suggestion, I wonder also when email alerts are requested and confirmed as logged, the confirmation email can indicate the topic requested and which hierarchical family it relates to.

Those managing the AER/ACCC website will be extremely familiar with how the topic hierarchies are managed, but for relative newcomers like me endeavouring to keep up with the increasing volume of material being published, and given the AER’s expanding role, I am struggling to keep up, so any help would be appreciated.

Finally, turning to more specific issues, I am quite concerned that those funded organizations who are involved in the policy debate for energy in particular may not be aware of the importance of becoming involved with determinations within the wholesale market, especially cost allocations. I have discovered one today from Uniting Care in relation to Queensland and South Australia. It is a pity I did not know about this as I would like to have made an input. It is too late and the determination will be published on 6 April.

Recently I have raised concerns within narrow parameters for particular determinations that have impacts on others. I wonder whether issues arising from one arena that have impacts on others are taken into account.

For example, matters relating to an access arrangement may have implications for parallel current or future determinations or enquiries re cost allocation.

There is one such pertinent matter on fit with complex inter-related implications for several arenas and decisions, all with long-range impacts on fiscal and social-infrastructure and consumer protection parameters.

Decision-making that is made in a vacuum without regard to what may be happening in other arenas, including changes to legislation which may render Rules Changes for example inappropriate, can have disastrous outcomes.

With optimal data management and intra-governmental sharing of information, and a more collaborative effort to work with community stakeholders, perhaps some of the existing pitfalls can me minimized.

For that reason, an open mind-set should be maintained regarding collaborative efforts.

So till my next post,

Cheers

Madeleine

Individual Stakeholder (Community)

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Last updated: 27 July 2016