We have all heard the various cliches about content: “Content is king,” “Your only as good as your (insert SEO/Twitter/Facebook/organic reach term),” etc. While these items are usually referenced during the search engine optimization talk, we tend to overlook this content-related advice before the website build. It’s easy to get distracted by design and deadlines, which can hurt your content in the end. Here’s why focusing on content and strategy is essential not only to the search engines, but also for the website development process.
By focusing on what you want your website to say, and what people are looking for on your site from the beginning, the easier it will be to determine your audience’s wants and needs. If the focus is clear from the beginning, the design & development will follow suit. We can achieve this crystal clear focus through content strategy.
Our first steps to content strategy if you currently have a website is to take an inventory of all current pages of the website. This information should include page name, brief summary of the page content, if it’s a top level page or nested under another page and the URL. We call this a content matrix. Once we have an idea of everything currently on the site, we can examine this content to see if it’s valuable for our users, and if there is any additional information we can add to the site that may capture a different audience or serve a different need.
What Does Your Audience Care About?
When examining your content, look at the following points:
- What is your audience looking for?
- What kind of device is your audience using – a desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone?
- What do they need from your website?
- What do they value in a website?
- How will they contact you for what they need? Do you want them to call, email, fill out a form or purchase online?
To determine the answers, create three to five personas based on your target audience. Think of your audience demographics – careers, salaries, ages, families, interests, etc. Walk through how these users would get to your website. Have they heard of your business before? Do they frequent the website? Did they Google a term and land on your page? When writing each page of content, each of these factors need to be considered to determine how your users will get to the next step – using your services, purchasing products or contacting you.
Consider Keywords and SEO Best Practices
Once we have a list of pages, it’s time to examine keywords. As an expert in your field, you probably have a great idea of what people are searching for. Are these words included in your content? Also, some competitor research is key at this time to check to see what your competitors are using, and how they rank compared to your site in the search engines. This is a simple way to ensure the content you are providing on your website is relevant to the user but also competitive in the SEO game.
After your content is completed – good news – the hardest part of the website build is done! When thoughtful content is written with the end user in mind combined with strategies to put you ahead of competitors in the search engines, we use this content and audience research to design the website. When we design with your content in mind, the design will enforce your information versus trying to squeeze information into a design. The design and content will work together to bring a unique experience for your end user.
Writing useful content does not have to be a struggle when designing a new website. When approaching a website build remember to focus on the information you want to give to your user, and you will be able to effectively present content, and instill action. From there, we can design and develop a ready-to-launch website with minimal scramble to fill up pages. This will help your users not only find your information, but to have a positive experience that stands out from your competitors.
Our web team has launched over 100 custom websites, so if you’re in need of website services, content development or both, please give us a call at 701-478-1111 and ask to speak with a Marketing Advisor, or contact us at absolutemg.com/contact.