Since I’m a writer, and I’m also a WordPress person, I thought it might be fun to do a series on WordPress plugins for writers. I’m always finding new plugins that help to streamline my workflow and organisation in different ways and I thought I should share them.
To start off with, I’m going to take a look at a plugin shared with me by Bowe of BP-Tricks, that we’ve been using for managing the content for the Infinity Theming Engine:
Content Audit is a WordPress plugin written by Stephanie Leary for anyone who has lots of content to manage. It’s particularly useful for plugins, themes, software, services etc, that are in active development. Or any content that’s either time sensitive or has a team of people working on it.
What is It?
Content Audit is a really simple idea but a very effective way of keeping track of your content. It uses Custom Taxonomies that you can create and apply to your content, helping you to keep track of it while it’s being developed and over time.
The Content Audit Taxonomy
You create a content audit attribute by going to Pages > Content Audit attributes. The screen there looks like any taxonomy screen, and there are already some preset attributes creates – Redundant & Outdated, for example. Anyone who has created a WordPress category before will know how to create an attribute.
Page Admin Screen
On the page admin screen you’ve got some new columns added:
- Content Owner
- Content Status
The content owner could be different from the content author – they might be responsible for ensuring the page is created and up-to-date, rather than being the author.
The content status section is what I find really useful. You can quickly see what needs to be done to each piece of content, without having to check each page or keep an external tracking spreadsheet.
Also, some new filters have been added so you can filter by Status, Owner and Author – this makes updating websites with large amounts of content much easier.
Another nice feature of Content Audit is that a page has a new meta-box for adding notes. The content owner or whoever is editing can leave notes about things that need to be addressed, or perhaps ideas for future updates to the page.
- Emails the content owner to tell them if a page is about to become outdated
- Show notes and status on the front page (works like a dream with Front End Editor)
- Apply to posts, pages and custom post types (though there are some problems – see below)
- Control over which WordPress user roles can audit
I’ve been using it with Bowe for about a week now, and it’s bee a great tool in bringing the website to completion. Once we installed it I did an audit of all of our content. Here are some of the content audit attributes I created:
- Needs styling – Bowe needs to add styles
- Needs copy-editing – I need to copyedit
- Content Complete – the content is complete (e.g. if it’s marked as Content Complete, Needs Styling, I have finished but Bowe better get busy)
- Styles Complete – design & styles are complete (like above, but vice versa)
- Issue – there is a comment on the document that needs addressed
- Needs Links – content needs hyperlinks
- Needs Updated – can be used by developer to mark content as needing updated after an update to Infinity. He can also leave notes in the Content Notes section
You get the idea.
The only real problem i have encountered with it so far is that while the Content Audit table columns appear for pages, they don’t appear for posts or custom post types. We use CPTs a lot on the site and now that we’re used to being able to tell a piece of content’s status in an instant, it’s a bit sucky that we can’t do it for CPTs. Bowe suggested that we could make it work with a bit of hackery but I’m hoping we’ll get that option in a later update.
Content Audit is a fantastically useful WordPress plugin for writers, or anyone managing a large amount of content. It has made my life a lot easier, and I’ll be recommending that my clients install it when we’re going major documentation projects. There’s no learning curve, it integrates with your workflow and it improves your documentation process instantly and in a meaningful way.