Someone Has To Write Web Site Content

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, August 23, 2010 at 04:00 AM with 0 comments

Someone has to write Web site content. Someone has to write Web site content. I could repeat this statement a million times, as it is something of great concern and passion to me. Why? Let me explain in a brief, true story. Names have been masked to protect the, um, innocent.

photo of writing impliments

There’s nothing like a Web site project completed on time and under budget. My colleague and I were proud of the job we did, integrating a design from a designer who wasn’t a Web designer, but we made it work very well. The site architecture was integrated well based on the up-front analysis and the new site looked great, with one exception – there was no content. Literally, pages were blank! When we presented the site to its sponsor, who was also the one who was supposed to have written the content by now according to the project plan, he was irate. After he gave us a short monologue, it came down to the fact he let this slip from his plate altogether, though he was attempting to pass blame onto us. Oh, and this person was also my boss, the president of the company I was working for at the time, and it was for the company’s own Web site.

Completing content for a Web site can be the critical path to the site’s success. Unfortunately this has happened to me more times than I would like. So how do you ensure it is completed on time, as well as being effective and optimized? Here are some tips to follow.

Define the content - Ideally when you sit down to write content for your Web site this should have already have been completed. The information architecture of the Web site will be the top-line for what content is in the site, and its sitemap will define the pages or organization of the content. Within those pages there may be sidebars, call outs, photos, quotes, videos – whatever you feel will effectively communicate what you want to share with the visitor to your Web site.

Envision the content - Once you have gone through everything in the first step, close your eye and envision what the completed Web site will look like. What do you see in your mind’s eye? As much as pages have been laid out with placeholder text and images, seeing the finished Web page will help you in creating what will go on it.

Outline the content - Now that you know what to write and what it will look like, break down the content into manageable pieces, which is in essence outlining what will be the content of your Web site. Will a page of text have several sections with their own headings? Where will the images go?

Don’t forget SEO - Early on in the process of designing your Web site, you should have done work on the target audience of your Web site and their expectations. This information served as the guide post, spaghetti test or whatever metaphor will help you throughout the entire project. From this early analysis, the keywords and who to optimize the content of your Web site to should have bubbled to the surface or shot up like a rocket. Keep this in mind as you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

Just do it or delegate it - Yes, now someone has to write the content. Hopefully the previous steps have energized you to actually write the content, or scared you into hiring a copywriter to do it for you. But no worries, as with all of this preliminary work done, the copywriter should have all they need to create great content for your Web site.

What may be obvious to some – creating content – isn’t always obvious to all. Have you encountered this yourself, and how did you overcome it? Do you have any tips in addition to those presented here? Please leave a comment and help those whose role it is to create content, whether by choice or force.

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