Website content plays many roles. To boost your SEO, you can use it to target keywords or add strategic links. To strengthen your brand identity, you can use it to tell your story and educate your users.
Preparing web content that is well-written and meets all the necessary technical specs to perform well is a big task. Creating effective content for your site that looks and performs well requires SEO, writing to a template, pulling out content your users need, and more.
Read on for tips and recommendations on how to tackle rganizing and updating new website content for your project.
Tip #1: Assign a project owner
One of the best ways to keep content on track is to assign a project owner. This may be the overall website project leader or a team member with marketing experience. Importantly, the content owner does not necessarily have to be a writer.
A good website content manager will coordinate realistic timelines with team members, including tasks like conducting interviews or getting leadership’s buy-in on target keywords. They will also keep the project moving by ensuring everyone knows their responsibilities and deadlines.
Tip #2: Audit existing website content
After assigning a project owner, one of their first tasks should be to conduct a content audit of existing website pages. Depending on the size of your website, this could be a big task. While audience and strategy will determine the goals of content, a few steps are consistent in the auditing process.
Some best practices include:
- Prepare a list of all the pages on your website
- Indicate which pages to keep, which to scrap, and which to combine
- Identify holes in the content and line up interviews and other content sources
Once you have done an audit and recognize which content is missing or out of date, establish who is the best source for accurate information for the new page. After identifying the holes, you can determine what new content is needed and who is the best source.
Tip #3: Establish file sharing and organization
To help keep everyone organized, determine your file sharing method and status tracker for the website content project.
Some websites have tons of pages. How will you keep track of each page? We typically use a spreadsheet to track content status in our projects, with additional columns for links, notes, and assigned next steps for team members.
Pro Tip: If you’re working with a team, set rules on determining document stats, whose role it is to hand-off notes, and overall a process to keep your pages on track.
Also, consider if other departments will need to review certain content. If so it may be necessary to set an internal review and approval process that maps out who is involved, how much time is needed for the review, and who will give final approval.
Not sure if you need an internal/departmental review?
Think about your pages and if any of the following apply to your project:
✅ Product specialists to review and describe the latest features
✅ Topic experts, such as doctors to review medical content
✅ Legal or other internal departments for compliance
Check content matches design and make final tweaks to fit
You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. In content-first design practice, your content will shape page layouts and available content areas. Once patterns have been established, you’ll want to rework additional page content to fit the new layouts, utilize the new elements, and provide a consistent user experience.
Write meta information
We have seen the most success for meta titles and descriptions when they are written in tandem with page content. This keeps messaging consistent, ensures the same keywords are targeted in meta and page content, and helps to keep meta descriptions from being too formulaic—that is, the description is written uniquely for each page.
However you plan to tackle meta information, consider a way to track the status of your pages to ensure all website pages have meta titles and descriptions assigned.
If your organization has high resolution, professional custom photos for the website—you are ahead of the game!
Whether the photos exist and are ready to be optimized for the web, or you are in the midst of planning a photoshoot, or you’ll be using stock from a subscription site, plan to select photos for top-level pages and important conversion points on the website as a minimum.
Include links for connecting
Within the website content documents, be sure to include page URLs for linking, such as external resources or related service pages. Use a different color or highlight to quickly identify a URL in the content to ensure that they are added into the new webpage in production effectively.
If your new website will adjust navigation structure at all, you may be dealing with some new page URLs that differ from the existing website. For example, some websites use a breadcrumb URL structure, such as /about/history, while others might skip the middle man and link directly to /history.
Whichever URLs are changing on your new website, you’ll want to plan for setting up redirects to top-visited pages and other priority content.
You don’t have to be a writer to understand the importance of website content when it comes to SEO opportunities, educating users, and telling your story.
Consider the needs and organization of managing new content for the website to keep your project on track and ensure you don’t miss anything, but don’t forget—a website is a living thing. Create good content whenever possible, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Refining and improving website content is a constant process.
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