Should You Care About Content Strategy?
I’m a big fan of putting words before pixels, but I’m aware that only gets you as far as launch. What do you do after the big red button has been pushed, and the whole world knows about your website?
Keep adding content. How? By developing a content strategy. This is totally a 30,000 foot view of what content strategy really looks like, but there are others who do a much better job of getting down to the gory details. In a nutshell, figure out a plan that answers these questions: How will you let people know you exist? Will you blog? Will you tweet? What will you say? Can you pull this off using one voice? Have one underlying message? Keep Reading
You’re on Board with the Content First Approach. Are Your Clients?
I usually don’t talk about client interactions, but this time I’m going to make an exception. An exception that will hopefully help close the bridge between you and clients who can’t wait to get to the sparkly design stage.
When you explain to your client that you work with a content first approach, you might be met with a raised eyebrow. You might feel like you have to defend your process – but you don’t! Instead, educate them. Convince them. Remind them that their project is going to turn out great, and this is why.
When you invite someone to a Jumpchart project, you have the option to include a personal message with the invitation. We have some default content there that explains what Jumpchart is, and I think a variation of it can be used in this situation, too.
Here’s the content as it stands in Jumpchart now:
You’ve probably heard us mention Jumpchart in bits of our conversations- here’s a little more information on it as we move forward. Keep Reading
Content First, No Matter Who You Are.
Neil Patel makes a (good) living by helping all kinds of companies grow their revenue, including Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom. He also co-founded Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, so his resume is pretty solid. Not all of his advice resonates with me, but he recently posted an article about boosting website conversion rate, and I got sucked in. There was one bit that stuck out to me in particular. He agrees it’s best to go the content first route.
“To ensure that the marketing copy throughout your whole site is aligned, you should first plan out all the pages you are going to have on your website before you start writing copy. This way your messaging throughout your whole site will portray one message.”
Doing this has more advantages than just maintaining one voice, so I want to take it a step further. Plan your architecture first. Then plan what text goes where. Chances are, you’ll realize you don’t have anything concrete to say on a couple pages and end up eliminating what would have only gotten in the way of your core message. You’ll be trimming the fat before your site’s even overweight…
So it doesn’t matter who you are, what industry you’re in, or what you’re selling: planning content first is a sound way to get better results. Simple as that.
Read the whole article in 7 Simple Copywriting Tweaks That’ll Shoot Your Conversion Rate Up.
Why Responsive Design Puts More Pressure on the Content First Method.
With the rise of responsiveness, a lot of time has been spent talking about design. I get it. It’s the design that has to shift between screen sizes. It’s the pixels that have to be pushed, and reorganized, and whipped around to give the user the best experience. But I feel like something’s being left out of the conversation.
Content is Still as Important as it Ever Was
Just because the design changes from screen to screen doesn’t mean what’s being said on them is any less important. The user being able to view the website comfortably is only the first step in retention. After they realize the site will work on their tablet or mobile (which people come to expect anyway these days), they get down to the nitty gritty – the content. Information is the whole reason they’re there in the first place, right? That hasn’t changed.
Content Has to Adapt, Too!
As the screen shrinks, the less the user sees. Which means the words they do see have to be strategically placed, and incredibly purposeful. Your headline has to have more punch. Your intro has to get the point across quickly and effectively. When you only have a small amount of space to prove yourself, every character counts. So obviously this changes the way you plan the content for your site. Or at least it should. Keep Reading
Why Content is the Foundation for a Successful Website.
I think we can agree that in order for any project to succeed, you have to have all your ducks in a row.
But there’s something else the “content first” theory brings to the table. Something incredibly valuable, but often forgotten. And when it is forgotten, the end result is that you find yourself clicking about frantically inside a website trying like hell to get out.
The transition between website pages should be smooth. Seamless. Melodic, even. But what’s more, it should be expected. In a world where the goal of most advertising efforts is to knock you off your feet and commandeer your attention, you should never be shocked at what’s on the webpage in front of you. You clicked because you’re looking for something, and you expect it to be there when you arrive.
Design and content go hand in hand, but design looks to content to lead the way. Be half a step ahead. Maneuver around a steep drop, or a sinkhole. There’s no better time to work out the kinks than at the beginning of a project. Admittedly, the first thing people see when they come to a site is design – but once the awe of beauty wears off (and it will, eventually), they’re going to read the content. That’s where you either retain visitors, or lose them.
Laying out navigation and content first is a surefire way to lead your visitors down the path of your choice. Anticipate the information they’ll want, and the order they’ll want it in. Figure out what’s most important to them, then make it easily accessible. Develop pages and subpages that will quench their thirst but still leave them wanting more … which just happens to be when you point them to the contact page.
It makes sense to me that content should come first when planning a website. The words and tone tend to dictate the design direction, and how can you do one without the other? Plus, what designer doesn’t love swooping in and icing the cake? They can spend their time actually pushing pixels instead of redoing the nav 8 times because it wasn’t figured out before they started designing. Design follows in the footsteps of navigation and content, but they all cross the finish line at the same time.
Content First Improves Site Design.
“When working with designers the content is often one of the last things the designer receives while building the site. Unfortunately, this is can cripple the designer’s ability to create a site that achieves the goals set. Design is supposed to compliment the content, not the other way around.” – Tyme White, CrazyEgg.com
Getting started the right way when you’re planning a website is crucial. Nobody likes to be behind before the starting gun even goes off. So why would you push pixels before you know what those pixels are gonna reinforce? Plus, getting your content laid out first is a great way to spend less time revising in the end. Who doesn’t want to be more efficient?
Read the whole article on why content should come first here.