You definitely need a content strategy

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Not to be confused at this stage with a content marketing strategy.  I am talking here about the actual content for your website.

That’s why I ask a lot of questions

Before anything can be designed I need to understand what content is required to get your message across.

When I understand your business vision and the content required to fulfil that vision, I can create something meaningful.

Understanding your brand personality is key to creating the perfect showcase for you.

Once your vision is clear, your content can be linked to your vision and your story is easier to tell.

That’s why you need a content strategy

It’s the difference between making your customer feel at home, or having them question if they are in the right place.  Giving them an easy ride through your site, or allowing them to leave because they simply cannot find what they want.

What ever your main focus is, it needs to be easily understood.  Whatever your goal is for each visitor, it needs to be easy for them to achieve.

Understanding your market

Why does your customer buy your product, how does it make them feel?  What does your customer want to do on your website? What do they want to achieve by visiting your website?
Put yourself in their position and then describe their ideal content.

What are your competitors doing?  Pick their content apart and find something that they are missing.  That will make your content better than theirs.

Site structure

You need to think about every path a visitor could take; every call to action you want to place; every goal in the site.

We need to make sure your calls to action are prominent, whatever they are.  Your calls to action might be ‘Buy Now’, ‘Call Us’, or ‘Subscribe’.

Know what you need to have and understand what you want on your pages.  If you don’t want an about page, don’t have one.  They are not compulsory!

This is why it is impossible to design a website without the content.

We can’t use fake text, it’s not right

Your content is king. Content should not be the last stage in design, something to be completed at the end. Content is the backbone of your site, and must be developed together with the visual design.

Using fake placeholder text, or Lorem Ipsum, perpetuates the idea that content is secondary.

A webpage with a simple structure and quality content performs much better than a pretty layout with ineffective text. Words are used for primary communication with your user, regardless of how engaging the other interface elements are.

I have used placeholder text over the years, only to find that the actual text for the space is twice as long as I envisaged, so immediately my design has to be recreated.  This is a complete waste of time and ultimately your money.

Applying the content first approach means that we will never run out of space in the wrong places.  What if I have designed neat little boxes for your featured posts, only to find that the content doesn’t fit?  You could say I should design for every eventuality and I try to but truthfully this can only be done with real content.  I could write some text my self, or copy and adapt text from your competitors but it will never be right.

The layout should be created around the content. The page itself should create impact and increase the effect of the written word, that’s impossible to do with fake text.

Keep it Succinct

Your product or service should sell itself in pics, less is more when it comes to words – particularly these days when we must consider small screens.  Keep it simple.  Try to write as if you are having a conversation with you customer; it makes it more human and shows personality.

If we go by what Google says, we should try to deliver the same content to mobile as we do to desktop.  We have to change layouts and slim it down for mobile but all screens need to be considered when writing your content.

Boil every last piece of content down to the essence that drives your customer and minimalism will not be a problem.

The time you spend developing content, will improve your website no end.  A proper content strategy will ensure a successful project.  The last thing we want to do is try to jam the content in at the very end.

You definitely need a content strategy!


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© Tracey Rickard. If you want to use any of my content please ask me first, you can't use it without permission that's stealing. You can use an excerpt as long as it is linked back to this article.