When it comes to creating a new website, content is the number one thing that will hold you back.
Why is that?
Because it’s a lot of work.
Things like reviewing wire frames, web designs and approving the development are exciting stuff!
Content on the other hand isn’t so exciting, unless you’re a writer. However, all marketers know that content is one of the most important elements of your website. From persuading website visitors to writing for search engines, the words on the page can make a big (or little) impact.
When planning your website content, here are some practices that may make the process run smoother.
Before you begin writing a single word, or editing an existing page, map things out. Know the page structure you plan to use and how content will fall under these sections. Put all of your pages into a spreadsheet to help you visualize the structure and leave columns to make notes along the way. You can also keep track of your progress to get a better idea of what’s been done, what needs to be reviewed and what hasn’t been started yet.
If you want your website to be found in search engines, you have to be sure to consider search engine optimization. Do some research and plan out your keyword strategy. This will be helpful not only for URL structure, but also for the keywords you use in your content. Utilize your content spreadsheet or another sheet with similar structure to write your title tags, headings and meta descriptions. Having everything in one place helps you stay consistent and follow SEO best practices such as character length.
You can’t do everything yourself! Consider hiring a writer or a marketing communications firm to help keep your tone and style consistent throughout the site. Even if you plan to be the sole writer for your content, you should at least have one other person to edit. Before any writing is done, make sure you agree on what the tone and style will be. Figure out who will be in charge of what (writing content, creating page imagery, writing SEO elements, implementing all of this onto the actual site, deadlines) and use your tracking spreadsheet to keep everyone updated on the status of work.
To avoid becoming overwhelmed with the amount of content to be written, start in one section of the site and focus on one piece at a time. As they say, you can’t eat an elephant in just one bite. Your previous big picture planning should help you understand how everything will fit together. Put your ideas down on paper and know that you can always come back to pages later. Your website content shouldn’t be a one and done process. Once you know what is working, which pages are being indexed by search engines and which are not, you can come back and tweak content. Then meet each week to review progress and set next week’s writing goals.
It can be easy to think about the core pages you will have under each section (e.g., services), but be careful not to overlook the landing pages for each section. For example, if you have three core services, there needs to be a landing page to introduce those services. Don’t make these pages redundant by simply repeating content from the internal pages and providing links. Remember, these may be core pages that visitors land on from a search engine. Make sure you plan out your content well so your visitors dive further into your site structure.
Be sure to tell your story for each page you write, knowing you will need to edit the story down later. Once you place your website copy into your content management system with the appropriate imagery, you can see how things lay out and look. In most cases, you’ll probably be over communicating. This is where having a good web copywriter comes in hand. Don’t be afraid to trim, trim, trim! You want everything to read well in as few words as possible.
Launching a new website can be an arduous process, but when it’s all said and done, you’ll be grateful you put in all those long hours to make it the best website it can be. To help you reach the end, schedule time in your calendar and seclude yourself from the office, if need be – anything to get that content written!
As a website marketing and development company, we know that it’s our customer’s inability to get their content in order that delays their website launch.
Keep in mind the whole process will most likely take you longer than you originally expect. Plan your deadlines accordingly so that when they come due, you are proud of your newly redesigned website, AKA your new marketing machine!