Writing Content For A Website

May 17, 2011

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Posted In : Client Training

The ‘content’ process

  • Determine the needs/wants of your website and it’s purpose
  • Formulate content for each page
  • Design content layout
  • Review and revision
  • Content submission
  • Final adjustments

Determine the needs/wants of your website and it’s purpose

When formulating your content,consider it’s purpose on the website. What is it you’re trying to accomplish with this content?Are you selling a product?Are you providing information? What would you like the user to do?

Content should be purpose driven. The web is full of good and bad examples of this. Successful sites like Amazon.com are ideal models. For example, when you are viewing a product on Amazon, you generally see a bulleted list of the main features of the product, a few images, and then detailed specifications about the product. The content is fulfilling the purpose ofeducating the viewer about the product and motivating them to buy now.

Formulate content for each page

The project agreement that you signed lists suggested pages for your site. In order to formulate content for these pages, we suggest that you list the pages and consider their purpose. The pages most commonly found on websites are listed below, along with their basic purposes:

  • Home page – the purpose of the home page is to catch the viewer’s interest and direct it to various parts of your site. The content on this page could be thought of as a “highlight reel” of what the user can expect to find on the website. Most viewers don’t read much text online. Bulleted items, photos and a strong “call to action” are keys to a successful Home page.
  • Contact Us page – obviously, this page provides telephone numbers, mailing addresses, maps, etc. A well thought-out Contact page emphasizes contact information which best meets the needs of the viewer AND your business. Would you prefer that they call, or would it be best to direct viewers to the FAQ page for certain issues? Do you want them to join your mailing list? Do you welcome visitors at your physical location?
  • About Us page – this page tells your story, builds trust with your viewers, and introduces the human element to what can often seem like cold, impersonal interactions. Think of this page as your resume to the world. What would you like others to know about you and your business? Remember that a good photo “paints a thousand words.”

Example Pages

Design content layout

Designing and building a website is a bit like baking a cake. The client’s job is to provide the ingredients. The Designer’s job is to put the ingredients together in a way that entices others to “taste” what is offered, “digest” the contents and feel satisfied with the experience. The designer will combine his talent and experience with your input to create something “delicious” – not just to the client, but most importantly, to the end-user. Make sure your “ingredients” are accurate, purpose-driven, and complete. Then allow the designer to use his talent and experience to put it all together.

For best results, bring “problems” to your designer and let him present the best options to solve them. “Design by committee” can be like too many cooks in the kitchen. Your feedback will be encouraged and welcomed, but you will generally have more success with comments like “what can we do to sweeten this up?” rather than “let’s put in two more cups of sugar,” while someone else says “it needs more salt.” Too many cooks in the kitchen often spoilthe cake!

Review and Revision

Even simple web designs require hundreds of decisions. The design process usually requires some “back & forth” between clients and designers.

The cost of producing your website is based on the amount of time required for highly skilled “technicians” to design and build it. Your money is spent most wisely when your purpose is clear, your content is complete and well thought-out, and when changes are kept to a minimum. Efficiency results when general parameters are established in the beginning and the project gradually becomes more specific as completion nears.

For the best possible website at the lowest possible cost, we recommend that you carefully review the available options, stick with your decisions, and provide prompt feedback. Don’t be afraid to tell your designer if something needs to be adjusted, but keep in mind that major changes waste valuable time, and time means money. Big changes should happen early in the process. Small change requests are best presented in the form of a checklist rather than requesting them one at a time. And remember that when you want to hit a target, “ready-aim-fire” works better than “fire, ready, aim.”

Content Submission

The “global design” of your project generally takes 2-3 weeks. It can be done before all of your content is submitted. But once your Home page design has been approved, no progress can occur until ALL of your content has been submitted in an organized format.

When submitting your content, please create a separate folder for each link in your navigation bar. Your Home page content is probably complete by this point, but your About Us, Contact Us and Product pages (for e-commerce sites) still need to be submitted. Please place your photos (JPEG format) and text (MS Word docs) into labeled folders, zip them up (compress the files) and attach them to an email with a short explanation of your organization method.Please send your photos in the highest resolution possible. If you have questions about how to do these things, please check with your project manager.

Final Adjustments

Once your content has been submitted, the coding process begins. The coding process is time consuming, tedious, and highly technical, especially for e-commerce sites. Remember that major changes are costly. All design issues should be settled before this process begins.

At some point in the coding process, you will be provided with a URL (web address) where you can see your site in progress online. Keep in mind that this is “work-in-progress.” Don’t be too concerned if things aren’t perfect, but do make note of it. Your project manager will contact you for input periodically. You should hear from him at least once per week, more frequently as final details are completed. Feel free to contact him if you have questions along the way, but remember that much of the work that happens on your site is “under the hood” functionality. Not all of the work done on your site will be immediately visible.

The last step in the development process is a training and review session with our marketing specialist. He will show you how to make minor updates to your site, and ensure your satisfaction with your finished product.

If you need changes and updates which are beyond your abilities, we are available to help. You will be billed separately for work which is beyond the scope of your original project.

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