One of the biggest roadblocks in a website redesign is the content development phase. We often come across clients who take on the task only to discover that it is a much more time-intensive and challenging process than they originally assumed. If you are preparing to redesign your website, get started now on developing new content. Follow this process to complete the content development phase in an efficient and timely manner.
Gather and Review Existing Content
If you have an existing website, begin by printing off all of the individual web pages. By creating an inventory of your existing content, you can wrap your head around what will stay and what must go. Chances are you have some great content already. Creating new content doesn’t mean you need to completely scrap the old stuff. This is just an opportunity to freshen up what you already have.
You will also want to gather all of your marketing collateral, sales documentation, and any other existing content you may have. Once you have all of your content together, onsite and offsite, begin reviewing and making notes. You can cross out the pieces of information that you absolutely do not want on your new website and highlight those lines that you really want to keep. Use this document as you move forward with content development.
Identify Targeted Keywords
It is important that you factor search engine optimization into your content development process. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your web presence online. One of the key elements of SEO is identifying and optimizing for your targeted keywords. Begin by holding a brainstorming session with your key stakeholders. Think about what your target audience is searching for in search engines, what your top services are, and what you want to be found for online.
Next, conduct some research to discover which keywords will perform well. Utilizing Google’s predictive search, Google Keyword Planner, and your website analytics, to determine which keywords receive the most search volume. As you write your content, incorporate these keywords on each page!
Meet with Stakeholders
When you hold a meeting with your key stakeholders to determine keywords, you will also want to discuss the goals and vision for the site content. Come to a consensus on what information needs to be on the new site and what can be scrapped. Also, determine the voice you will use to represent your company. Are you looking for fun and playful or corporate and professional? Do you prefer to talk in first person or third person? Ensure that everyone is on the same page. You do not want to spend time developing content only to be asked to re-do it by your superior.
Write With the Door Closed
Writing with the door closed means putting all of the information that comes to mind on paper without editing or analyzing it. Your first step is to just write. Don’t worry about formatting or being a perfectionist. Create an initial draft of all of your content pages and edit later.
Rewrite with the Door Open
Once all of your content is created in first draft form, you can begin editing and rewriting with the door open. Thoroughly review each page, spending time to format and rewrite. Ensure that each page is easy to scan with bullet points, lists, pull quotes, and spot bolding. Add hyperlinks to your other pages and do not be afraid to delete full paragraphs or completely rewrite certain sections. Now is the time to be a perfectionist. Yet, keep in mind that unlike print material, web content is not permanent. You can always make changes or rewrite sections at a later time.
Have Others Review
It is very important that you have a fresh set of eyes review your content for grammar and accuracy. Having as many people as possible review your content is certainly a best practice. You will want to have them submit changes to you rather than making them directly to the document to ensure that the voice is not altered.
Follow this fool-proof process and the content development phase should be easier than ever! If you need assistance with developing content for your website, contact Informatics.