What’s Behind Great Web Content?
“Content first,” “build your website around good content.” These are things I hear all the time in the web development world. I agree that it’s a great idea, though it’s sometimes easier said than done! You may have experienced how challenging it can be to create good content for your website and unfortunately, there’s no magic formula for it (if you’ve found one, please let me know!).
The challenge, simply stated, is how to translate all that you know about your organization and the audience that will be visiting your website into great content for your website? Writing web content is a very different animal then say, writing a funding proposal or a business report, and it can take practice.
While hiring a dedicated copywriter for the project can be a good strategy, it can also take time to bring that person up to speed on what your organization does. Instead, I like to focus on working with you and creating great content together. Here’s what I do:
Focus on content from the start – as with many things, practice makes perfect and I like to get started on writing good content from the get-go. I usually arm my clients with some basic guidelines for writing web content and then turn them loose to start with the writing process. The aim here is not to write content for your entire website, but to put together a couple of sample pages that have the style and tone that you’re looking for and that’s appropriate for the web.
Focus on priorities – it can be overwhelming to try to create new content for your entire website. Who knows where to even start, right? Instead, I like to focus on specific, realistic goals, for example, focusing on the key messaging for an important project or a case study that’s featured on your homepage. That’s probably more important at the start, than say, getting the wording just right on the bio for a board member that’s buried somewhere on your website. You’ll get to that bio too, just not until you’ve already written some great content for those other higher priority items.
Audit the content – while Google Analytics can be a really helpful tool to see how your content's doing once it's live on your website, beforehand, it can be a good idea to review the new content together. This is a chance for us to talk through the strengths of the content, as well as what could be tweaked. It's all part of the learning process! Part of what makes good content is being ready to make changes in response to what an audit is telling you.
Content days – if you're having trouble finding time in your schedule to continue writing content for your website, you might consider scheduling a “content day,” a focused block of time when we can sit down and work together on creating the content. Rather than toiling away on a content writing project over a long period of time, content days can substantially move a project forward in the course of only a few hours.
Working collaboratively like this has paid off for many of my clients. Not only do they end up with some great content for their website, they’re also empowered with the tools to create good content going forward.