A Closer Look at Your Content May Help Answer a Tough Question
It’s been six months since your site went live. After extensive planning, upwards of 12 months (or more) of work and countless meetings the new site is more usable, accessible and aesthetically pleasing – at least it should be.
Now management wants to know, “how are we doing?”
“Our site analytics should have shown ________ by now!” (Fill-in the blank options):
- “More conversions
- “Better page ranking”
- “More visitors and page views”
- “Higher customer engagement”
I think you get the picture.
So, what went wrong?
In a word, it’s your content.
What did you do about your content during this extensive web project?
At some point in the redesign process there’s a good chance that you OR someone on the project team, maybe your marketing director or even your CEO, pointed out a need for better site content. Maybe someone even suggested developing a content strategy plan as part of the overall project – and it never happened. What went wrong?
- The budget for the content strategy was cut
- You waited too long to start thinking about content
- There were no resources to work on the content
All of these things can and do happen on web projects. They shouldn’t though, your content matters – even more than a new look and feel. If your content was an afterthought in the project, chances are it isn’t useful.
You hear that “content is king” all the time. Why is this?
If people visiting your website can’t or don’t find the content they need, they’ll leave in the blink of an eye and find it on a competitor’s site. If we assume your content is relevant to visitors (and it may not be, but that’s another discussion), you can employ proven practices, such as breaking your content up into easy-to-scan chunks so visitors can quickly find what they’re looking for and move on. For more insight into content design and typography best practices, check out our recorded webinar, “Web Typography: Techniques for Improving the Effectiveness of Your Website.”
BTW, high quality content is even more important after the Google Panda update.
How can I manage my content better now and the next time we plan a new site launch?
Here are some steps you can take to strengthen your site’s content:
- Create a content inventory – make this as comprehensive as possible
- Start an editorial calendar – track content creation, workflow and content review schedules
- Leverage your Content Management System – if you have (or will have) a content management system in place, use built-in workflow and content freshness reminder functionality to boost content quality
- Create content templates – provide your content authors with templates for creating various types of content, e.g., a press release, article, blog, etc. in a standardized manner.
Distribute content creation – using the tools you have, (a CMS, content templates, an editorial calendar, etc.) make subject matter experts (SMEs) responsible for content creation by taking the following actions:
- Be diplomatic! Getting buy-in is easier when you engage SMEs early in the process
- Explain the proposed workflow process as soon as you have it created
- Establish and stick to a content creation routine
- Monitor your content – use automated tools for tracking content consumption, freshness and quality
- Measure and optimize – use analytic data to support decision-making about ongoing updates
These ideas should help you get started – they’re not intended to take the place of a full content strategy. For more information on this subject, check out the following resources: