Organize your Content
Now that you have set your goals, gather your available content, and start putting it into a website editing software, which allows you to easily organize the content within the website.
Some point to keep in mind:
- If you have an existing website, move the whole of the website over. It is a straight-forward operation to cut and paste all the pages in the existing format (without having to decide what to save and what to throw out).
- Create a website structure that tells the story based on the goals of the website
- Move pages into the new structure
- Add additional content to the website in the appropriate place
- Add empty pages as a place-holder for content that needs to be added
- Create content to be added
- Add images, graphs, charts, videos as appropriate to compliment the text
Create Once, Publish Everywhere (COPE)
As the title suggests, you create the content once, and you use it for your website, your blog, your mobile application or device friendly website, for your pitches, your proposals, your in-person sales, in conversations with others, everywhere! They key is to reuse the original content, and edit from there to make it fit the different channels. This way, you will have consistency in all channels, and will never have to start from scratch. This saves time. You need to structure the original content for the audience, and not the device or channel. The original content should be flexible for other platforms. New devices need new rules, but not new content. You might feel directionless without design to guide you, but remember that there is a method to the madness.
With this being said, it is important to review the website from time to time. Often you can find interesting new perspectives and insight on how the website can be organized, possibly with better ways of achieving your goals or delivering a clearer message. Ask the following questions:
- Does the content match the plan? Are we improving on the plan?
- What are the weak areas that need work?
- Which areas should be trimmed?
- Has a certain aspect of the site emerged that should be emphasized?
- Is there a better way of organizing the website, based on what we have put up?
You may consider hiring a writer to help you with the content creation process. It is good to have someone with an outside perspective to write about what you do. Also, if stock photos are not sufficient for your website, a photographer or graphic designer can help.
This might seem like a big task, and it is. But if you do it right the first time, you will reduce rework because of content changes. You will eliminate unnecessary words, all redundancies, the crap – and you will have a plan for maintaining content over the long haul. You can respond more quickly to threats and opportunities. This will save you money, and gives the customer a concise, complete, accurate, and overall better experience. Websites are shrinking. They are no longer hundreds of pages. Content first approaches is why.
Once you are satisfied with the content and the flow, it’s turned over to the designers to support the goals and content and bring the content to life.