Before an agency can commence designing your website and creating the lay out and structure, they need to have a good understanding of the content that will go into each page.
Here are 6 points to help you develop a content plan:
1. Thinking about your customers
The content needs to be tailored to suit the visitors to your website. Consider:
- What are the messages that you want to communicate to your audience?
- What do they need to hear?
- Do they need to read a little then click for more information?
- What age group should it resonate with? And, therefore what is the ‘tone of voice’ that is most appropriate?
2. More than words
When we say content, this doesn’t just mean text content, it also means imagery, video and downloads.
Perhaps you have a promotional video that you want to showcase on the home page. In which case this needs to be factored into the design.
If you have (or plan to have) several videos throughout the website, the design plan needs to be flexible enough to accommodate this too.
Images are extremely important for the visual experience of a website, to get messages across quickly and hold people’s attention. Will your images be scattered throughout the website to break up the content on a page or are they key aspects of your sales process? If so, these need to be built in as core content.
You rarely see testimonial pages these days. ‘Social proof’ in the form of testimonials are more likely to be found strategically positioned throughout the website or embedded via a third party review facility – like TrustPilot or Google. Where they sit and how that stand out needs to be factored into the design of the website.
3. Case studies or portfolios
Showcasing your work in a real-life context helps potential clients to really understand your offering and how you can help them find the right solution. Exactly like testimonials, case studies allow your customers to tell their story about the great work you’ve done for them and the benefits they have gained. It builds trust, is compelling and makes sense.
If your work is creative a gallery might be the best way to show off your portfolio. This is important to know from a design perspective, so that this layout of work works seamlessly with the rest of the website and not look like an after-thought.
4. Plan for the future
We are starting to build up a picture of what the content will be like when you go live, but what will it be like in 6 / 12 / 18 months’ time? What are the plans for your business in the future?
This will determine how much flexibility and control you need within the CMS (content management system) to allow your website to evolve with your business.
5. Search Engine Optimisation
A majority of websites have content which is designed for customers to read and allow them to take action as they move around the site.
You may wish to have some content which is specifically designed to be well liked by Google. This is generally longer and keyword rich. These pieces of content, specifically written for SEO purposes, may not be easy to find on the website, but instead used to draw people in because of the keyword rich content. A plan needs to be made for where they will sit on the site and what tools you’ll need to optimise the content on these pages.
6. Invest in a copywriter
If you don’t have the skills or time in-house to write the content, we strongly recommend you engage the services of a copywriter.
Ask any agency and they will tell you that content not being ready is the single most common cause of a website not going live on the date it was originally planned.
It is such a shame when we have spent time building an amazing new website and it spends months gathering dust because there isn’t anything to fill it. That’s why we suggest investing in a copywriter.
It’s a false economy if you are struggling to come up with the content yourself. A copywriter will give you time back to do what you do best. They bring a fresh perspective to the copy, through the eyes of a customer, which is much more likely to resonate with them. They also know how to incorporate keywords for SEO.
As part or our web design process we talk our customer through the content plan during the discovery workshop. Coming to the meeting with some thoughts around these means the time can be spent much more effectively linking the site to your business objectives. We can then harness the momentum and move forward with the next stage of the project, which is creating the wireframe.
We try our hardest to make every web project as simple and ‘frustration free’ for our clients as possible. Explaining how to plan the content is just one example. If you are planning to upgrade your website, feel free to get in touch and we’ll help you to make it a huge success.