Getting a new website is a huge step for your business, especially if it’s been many years since you’ve updated your online presence. If your current site is pretty outdated, the website process is likely to focus on different priorities this time around. Maybe your current website isn’t responsive or mobile friendly, or maybe you haven’t put much thought into SEO yet. Either way, at the end of your website project with Webspec, you’ll be left with a responsive, search-engine-optimized site that will help give your brand a facelift and showcase your business to current and prospective clients alike.
The first phase of your website project will be establishing your content, in other words, what will fill in the newly designed page layouts and communicate to your users what you do and why they should work with you. Whether you plan to write your own content or have your creative team’s content coordinator write copy for your website, these words will be important for both users and search engine rankings. During the content phase, you and your content coordinator will be able to explore, discuss, and strategize the best way to reach your target audience with the copy on your new site. Establishing a strong brand voice and copy that appeals to the people you’re trying to attract builds a solid foundation for the rest of the website project.
Since your content strategy is crucial to success for your website and your website’s visitors, where should you start? Your project team will give you guidance and updates on what they need from you to keep the project moving, but here are a few guidelines that will help set up your content process and website project for success from day one.
Decide How You Want to Present Your Brand
This is a particularly important step whether you’re moving away from an old marketing style and re-branding completely or working with your current branding style. Even if you’re sticking with an existing branding strategy, how you represent your company on your website will affect how your customers perceive you if they’re meeting you online for the first time, and could therefore potentially affect your sales leads. Do you want to portray yourself as an industry veteran with decades of experience? Do you want people to see you as fresh and innovative compared to your more traditional competitors? These are all things to consider in the beginning of the website creation process. Your content coordinator will also share a questionnaire with you at the beginning of the website project that is designed to get you thinking about your company values and to help you brainstorm so the messaging is just right.
With a new site, you have the chance to adjust your brand image to reach new audience members you haven’t reached before, so sit down with all the stakeholders at your company and decide how you want to be perceived as a business before you get too deep into the website project. This leads into your next step…
Pin Down Your Stakeholders Early
Hopefully everyone in your company will be pleased with your new website, but it’s up to you to decide whose feedback on the site should be considered during the project itself. You may decide to delegate just one person in your company to make the final approval on design, content, and development aspects, or you may decide to have a core team of people at your company oversee website-related decisions. No matter which option you feel is best for your organization, the content process (and later project stages, as well) will go much more smoothly if you know who you need to run decisions past before they’re finalized.
If you’d like some input about the site from an internal team at your company but you’re the one who will make the final decisions, that’s okay too; just make sure to let your website project team know who from your company will be involved with your project from the beginning.
Gather Your Resources
The beginning of a website project is the perfect time to start thinking about what company documents, photos, and PDFs you might want to include on the new site. If you already have an idea of what you want to include on the new site, or if you have an existing site you’d like to include resources from, let your project team know at the beginning of the project. Your content coordinator will collaborate with you and help you put together a list of things that will be useful on your site from an SEO perspective and a user experience perspective as well.
Some common items that may be useful on your website are testimonials, policy PDFs, video clips, high-quality photos, employee bios, and more. If you already have a significant archive of photos at your company, send your project team everything you have that’s relevant and they will help you determine which photos are high enough quality for the new website. If you don’t have many quality photos that show off your work, not to worry—our photo and video specialists can provide you with at a jobsite, at your business, or in our studio.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
You chose to have your content coordinator help with your content strategy because you want to make sure your new content is SEO-friendly and leads your users to contact you, so use that to your full advantage! If you have content ideas you’ve been tossing around, bring them up with your content coordinator and they’ll help you decide if they’re workable ideas and how they can be carried out on the site. It is your content coordinator’s job to help you organize and optimize your content to its greatest potential, and they’re happy to be a resource for all your SEO and content questions and concerns throughout your website project.
These guidelines will give you a great place to start when you’re wrapping your mind around content strategy planning for your new website. After putting together some thoughts about your brand and the media you’ll want on your new site, you’ll be in an ideal place to dive into the content strategy process with your coordinator.