Suppose you're getting ready to migrate your website from Drupal 6 to 7, or maybe you just inherited a site. You'll want do an audit to learn what content is on the site and how it is structured. When it comes time for a site audit, it’s good to start with a sitemap.
A sitemap is a list of the pages on a website. The sitemap may take many forms, from machine-readable XML, to an HTML listing of page names, to a text list of all the page URLs. For a content audit, both the HTML listing and the text list give you not only an excellent view into the content, but a good idea of the structure of the site as well.
The quickest and most thorough way to build a sitemap is to generate it automatically. Several free tools on the web will do this for you. One of my favorites is http://www.xml-sitemaps.com. It will generate a sitemap for sites up to 500 pages.
Generate a sitemap
To generate a sitemap:
- Navigate to http://www.xml-sitemaps.com.
- Enter the URL for your website. Note: If your site uses https instead of http, you’ll need to enter the ‘s’.
- Click on the ‘Start’ button to have it crawl the pages on your site.
When you click on start, it will visit all the pages on your site, and make a list of all the URLs.
Download your sitemap
After a few minutes, or longer depending on the size your site, it will produce a list of sitemaps in different formats for you to download. For a sitemap consisting of HTML links, download sitemap.html. For a sitemap consisting of URLs, download urllist.txt.
Check your results
Here is a sample of the HTML sitemap (sitemap.html):
And a sample of the text format (urllist.txt):
Once you have this list of pages, you can copy and paste them into an Excel spreadsheet. From there, you can track and review each page of your site.
XML-sitemaps.com is one of many tools on the web that can create sitemaps and assist with auditing your site. Other audit tools include:
Content Insight: This is a more comprehensive audit tool that provides information such as screenshots and page-level details.
Sleuth: This free tool which runs on a Windows machine will crawl a site and report broken links.
What is your favorite?
We'd like your help! We'd like to compile a list of favorite content audit tools. Please share your tips and favorites in the comments below.