When clients come to us asking for a new website, we often get a laundry list of things they want for their new site: colors, animations, functionalities, forms, more conversions, etc. Often what’s missing from that list is one of the most crucial aspects of a website—the content. What many business owners don’t realize is that content is the driving force behind what a website can do for their business.
Website content is NOT just the copy you drop in.
If you’re not considering your content until the very end you’re basically building your website in the dark. Clients are so focused on the end result, that they simply view content as the copy that’s pasted in before launch. And even then, some don’t give that much consideration.
In reality, the roots of your content extend through the entirety of your site. To get a sense of how far reaching content is on a website, let’s look at a list of everything affected by content:
- What pages are included.
- Navigation structure.
- Calls to action (and the language used)
- Placement of those calls to action.
- Structure of information per page (especially your homepage)
- Photos and other Imagery.
- Button language.
- Branding & marketing messaging.
- The actual copy for each page.
If you think of content simply as the copy, you’re missing the whole picture, and the opportunity to build a website that works towards your goals.
So how do you put content at the forefront?
You should simply start with a content strategy, built around your goals and the goals of your audience. Your entire website needs to speak to your audience, while subtly persuading them towards your goal (likely conversions).
Start with those goals, and use your content to shape your site towards them. This may affect what pages you build, where they are in the navigation, what calls to action are added to the pages and more.
Simple Steps to Get There
While we can write an entire novel on how to plan the content and structure of your site, taking just a few simple steps is better than a mad dash to write copy before launch. Also remember that before doing this, you should already have a content strategy in place for your messaging, voice, and tone.
- Define audience personas, to truly understand what your visitors want from your website.
- Define your own business/website goals, and how they align with visitor needs.
- List all the information a visitors will need to reach their goal.
- Start organizing that information into logical category pools, and a hierarchy based on your audience’s priorities.
- Use that information to build out your sitemap, which determines what pages need to be included on your site.
- Use your audience priorities (and your goals) to determine where you want to a visitor to arrive first, second, and so on. Use these to organize your navigation and your homepage structure.
- Revisit your research information to determine messaging, information hierarchy, and logical calls to action for each page of your site, as well as how your pages will work together towards common goals.
Once you’ve done this kind of organization, you can start to understand how your content can gently lead your visitor through your site, rather than leaving it all up to them. The result will be a engagement-driven site that serves both your needs and your visitors.
How much thought did you put into the content for your last website build? Do you think it was enough? What would you have done differently? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!