Content for A Redesigned Website: Where to Start
This is a very insightful guest post from Cate Conroy, Founder & Senior Content Strategist at Concentric Content Marketing.
A new or redesigned website isn’t complete until the content is uploaded. This includes any text, images and/or videos you want on your site.
Which brings us to the big question: where do you start? It can be a bit daunting to try and build content for a new site. It feels a bit like staring at a blank canvas – both exciting and overwhelming.
In fact, some choose not to change their content at all, simply copying from their previous site. But don’t make this mistake.
Redesigning your site without redoing your content is like putting a fresh coat of paint on an aging car without replacing the oil. It might look good, but it simply won’t work as it should. Don’t worry, we’ve got a 6 step process you can follow to make sure your content will do your new design justice.
Review research to understand what information your audience needs when they come to your website.
In order for your content to be effective, you have to understand what information your audience needs when they come to your site. If you’re working with a good design and dev firm, they have probably helped you map this out to some extent.
That is because when creating the right visual design, you must understand what the audience needs in order to stay on the site and follow a path to conversion. The same goes for written content.
This is one of the reasons why our content firm loves working with dev and design shops - usually they’ve got great information that makes it easier for us to do our jobs well.
So lets say your design & dev firm hands over some fantastic audience research. How does this translate to the written content on your site?
Use the research to develop questions that you audience has before coming to your site. Everything on your site should answer a question for your audience. If it isn’t answering an audience member’s question - get rid of it.
For example, let’s say you run a dog walking business. During the research your design and dev firm found that your audience needs the following information:
- Your rates
- Your location
- Your contact information
- The breeds of dogs that you walk
Turn these into questions.
- What are your rates?
- Where are you located?
- How can I contact you?
- What breeds of dog do you walk?
Now take these questions and build a hierarchy.
Rank the questions you created in Step 1 in their order of importance to the audience. Meaning, when your audience arrives at your site, which of these questions is the first one they want answered? That question goes in spot one. For example:
- Where are you located? If you aren’t near your audience, it doesn’t matter whether your rates are affordable.
- What are your rates? If your audience can’t afford your rates, it doesn’t matter what breed of dogs you accept.
- What breeds of dogs do you accept? Some dog walkers won’t walk certain breeds, but many will accept all so this is not of as much importance as the other questions.
- How can I contact you? If they are happy with your answers to all of their other questions, they will want to know how to contact you, but if your site hasn’t answered their questions yet, they don’t care about your contact information.
Next, lay those questions over areas of your website.
Feel free to do this literally by printing out copies of your wireframes and writing the questions over certain sections. Which question will you answer in which area?
While logic dictates that you would put the answers to the most important questions up top, it is always good to consult with your design firm for industry standards.
For example, many Internet users look for contact information in the header and footer of a website. While “How can I contact you” may not be their #1 question, you still want to make sure the information they are looking for is in a place that aligns with their expectations.
Create the content that accompanies those questions.
Start writing (and designing graphics, and creating videos). Answer the questions that you have laid out in Step 1.
The content does not have to be a direct answer to the question, but you should answer every question your audience has.
For example, you could put a tagline “Lincoln Park’s Premiere Dog Walkers” next to your logo at the top of your website and this would answer Question #1 about your location. You are located in Chicago, more specifically in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Immediately potential customers in the far south suburban neighborhoods know your business may not be the right fit for them.
Place content onto your website and ask an audience member to review.
Getting someone outside of your team to review your content is critical.
Not only have you and your team been reviewing this content repeatedly, but other colleagues may have predetermined ideas about your content that could influence whether they spot true problems.
That is why using an objective audience member is key. Ask them to write down any questions they have when reviewing your site.
Begin again with step 2, using the questions given to you by your audience member reviewer.
It’s important to note that just like your website design, your website content will evolve over time - and that’s OK. In fact it’s a very good thing. Audiences change over time. They adapt to new technology and new questions arise. You should continually assess and adjust your content to answer your audience’s evolving questions.
Not sure where to get started with your website redesign? We’re here to help. Drop the EDUCO team a line and they’ll point you in the right direction.