Getting down to details with a content audit, Part 2

While conducting an audit of a website recently, I wanted to create a comprehensive site map that would give me a detailed picture of every asset in my site. I didn’t know the best way to do that.

So I checked in with members of the Content Wranglers group on LinkedIn and received two great recommendations.  Will Fisher, the director of web content management at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, recommended a spidering software tool called Xenu.  Moayyed Darugar, technical account manager, EMEA, at Vamosa, directed me towards’s mapping tool.

This is what Will Fisher had to say about Xenu,

“‘I’ve had good success using Xenu Link Sleuth to inventory the content on my websites. Xenu is a free broken link checker but it scans the entire site and provides a report of all pages that are linked. I export the report as a CSV, open it in Excel, format the data to my needs and I’m done. It took a little over an hour for Xenu to scan 10,000+ pages and then another hour or two for me to get things formated in Excel but it’s far less time than doing it manually.”

Xenu’s  main purpose is billed as checking for broken links, and it did a great job of that, generating a list of broken links by link and another list ordered by page. That allowed me to clean up some broken links that didn’t get picked up by the link checker in DreamWeaver. The fact that they did not get picked up by DreamWeaver may be that I wasn’t using it correctly. I always found the DreamWeaver link checker a little confusing. The point about Xenu is that the output was clear and it quickly allowed me to go right to the page and fix the problems.

Then Xenu spit out a list of valid urls and a site map of all the HTML pages, complete with title. These lists gave me a view of the site that I could report out and use for the content audit. Xenu also provided a list of orphan files and something it called “statistics for managers.” The statistics broke down the assets by MIME type and gave me information about the file size.

To find out more about Xenu and to download the free software, you can go to the Softonic site or to CNET downloads. This Search Engine Journal article will tell you more about the software’s capabilities and explain seven things you can do with Xenu.

Moayyed Darugar recommended the’s site mapping tool, saying that it has much of the functionality of Xenu, but that it also provides more detailed metadata about site assets. The’s site mapping tool can be found here.

To read more about content audits and advice I received from fellow Content Wranglers on LinkedIn, go to this page.

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