11 Steps to Developing Your Website Content
11 Steps to Developing Your Website Content
Strong website content is a key component to a successful digital presence for any organization. While drafting website content might seem like a fairly straightforward task, following a methodical process ensures the end result is an organized site structure populated with engaging and actionable messaging. Follow these eleven steps to develop original, credible, and persuasive website content.
Create the Sitemap
A sitemap is the first step because it is an incredibly important part of writing website content. A sitemap:
- Clarifies your site’s purpose and goals.
- Streamlines your conversion funnel.
- Creates an organized, easy-to-navigate site for users.
- Reveals content gaps and opportunities for actions.
- Guides what content you need to gather and/or create.
Using the sitemap you develop, you can remove any duplicate content and plan for future content needs.
Perform a Content Audit
A content audit allows you to gauge how much writing has to be done. You can leverage content from your existing website, business plan, printed marketing materials, social media profiles, blog, and press releases. The best method for a content audit is using a spreadsheet to track:
- Current content description (for example, about the company or a list of services),
- Location of current content (i.e. Facebook page, brochure, current website, etc.),
- Format (text or image),
- Potential use (where the content would be placed on your new website), and
- Needs (any edits or changes).
Make a Page List
Every website has standard pages, such as a homepage, about us, contact, products/shop, services, portfolio/gallery, testimonials, and blog. However, will your site need industry-specific pages? Are there certain features that your business or organization would be expected to have available for potential customers?
As you consider the pages needed for your website, think about the actions you want visitors to take. How do the pages on your site encourage these actions? Is it easy for visitors to take these actions? Are there clear incentives for taking these actions? There should be a strategy in place for your website content that regards your goals, your audience’s needs, and the future of your company. Furthermore, as you organize your pages, you’ll want to ask yourself about each one:
- What is the purpose of this page? Is there enough content to justify its own page?
- Would my ideal customer expect content? If no, does it add to the unique value proposition?
- Is there an opportunity for a clear call-to-action?
- What is the importance of this page and its content to the pages on the rest of the site?
Organize The Content
This is the point where you start grouping your page together into logical chunks. A single section should have no more than seven main pages with a maximum of five subpages. If you feel as though a certain section needs more than seven main pages, you can create a third level of the page, combine pages with similar content, or allow for secondary navigation options, like a footer or a top navigation bar.
As you organize your pages, put them in order of importance. Also, think about the path your buyer personas might take to find what they are looking for on your site. Is shouldn’t take more than a click or two for your target audience to find exactly what they need.
Draft Outlines for Each Page
Start with a simple page, like your about us page and outline the content you want to be included here. We do not recommend starting with your homepage, but rather going back to it at the end of this process to pull the highlights from your other pages. As you outline each page, keep in mind:
- The motivation a user would have to click onto the page,
- The story you want to share,
- The call-to-action you will include,
- The images or visual assets that will be used, and
- The reader’s final takeaway from the page.
Include all of these aspects of your page content in the outline so that when it comes time to write, you are just filling in the gaps rather than starting from scratch.
Write Compelling Content
Stretch your fingers and clean off your keyboard because the time has come to start typing up the actual website content. You’ve prepared everything you will need to craft compelling, actionable content that delivers on the investment. Some tips for writing compelling website content:
- Use strong headers.
- Keep it short and digestible.
- Put the important information first and highlight it using heading tags or bold, italics, or underline formatting.
- Keep it relevant to the page topic.
- Write in the style that your audience can relate to your brand.
- Make the copy action-oriented and use active voice.
- Try to give the content visual appeal by breaking up large text areas using numbered lists or bullet points.
- Tell a story or use emotion and align it with your ideal buyer persona.
Boost Content Searchability
Keywords are important for SEO but they should be done after you’ve written your page content. You don’t want to compromise a message that converts in exchange for one that won’t because you forced a keyword fit. Keywords should be relevant to the content on your page and make sense to your reader.
Using keyword search terms can help you boost your inbound traffic and should be considered when finalizing your website content. Start by using a keyword planner tool like the Google Adwords Keyword Planner or the Moz Keyword Explorer. You’ll want to focus on specific keyword phrases rather than just high-level words. The best search terms have good search volume but low competition. Determine places in your existing copy where you can use these search phrases but don’t make concessions to your messaging or readability for SEO purposes.
Even the most celebrated writers have to edit their own work. As you comb through your website content for spelling and grammatical errors, ask yourself:
- Is the page content relevant to the page title?
- Does it provide value to the reader?
- Is the content easy to read?
- Is the content direct and actionable?
- Are your search terms in there anywhere? Where can they be added?
- How do think your ideal buyer personas would receive the content?
Make adjustments as needed so you publish the strongest, most actionable website content possible.
Whether you enlist the professional testing services of a company like UsabilityHub or outsource feedback to your colleagues, trusted clients, employees, company stakeholders, and friends, you have to test your work. For each page, you want to determine if:
- The information is relevant to the title and headers,
- It provides value to the reader,
- It’s easy to read,
- It’s direct and actionable, and
- It’s easy to figure out the search terms used.
As you test, you’ll tweak your content as needed. Testing is often skipped over, but this feedback truly helps identify any problems with your website content so you can make adjustments as needed.
Track and Measure
You’ve done all of this work to improve your website content. However, without proper measurement, these efforts are wasted. Fortunately, tools such as Google Analytics make it extremely ease to track the success of your website content. Before launching your new website content, determine what success looks like for your site as a whole. Set up goals in Google Analytics to track those achievements after launch.
As you begin to see metrics, you can make adjustments to increase conversions and update pages that aren’t performing as well as you expected. These numbers provide you invaluable insight to your audience so take the time to look through these reports regularly.
Plan and Create for Future Content
A website is a living entity that requires maintenance and attention over time. Creating a content marketing strategy for future content is key. You’ll want to have a plan for how often you are adding new content, the form of the content, where it will go, and the topics it will cover. A content calendar is an invaluable asset to keep you on track.
Curating and replenishing your website content using metrics and feedback to shape your efforts will serve your organization very well in the long run. If you’re feeling like you need the expert guidance of website content professionals, contact Alt Creative now about how our services can help your business.