How should we tackle site content?

May 27, 2009

You hear it everywhere, and now you can hear it from me: content is king (and not just for search optimization).

Right now, we’re working on a project where our team and our client have had a lot of great conversations about the site map and the site content. The result is an intuitive structure that will allow all kinds of users get the information they need and explore the site in a really rich way. To get there, we all kept these points in mind, so I figured I’d share them with y’all:

  1. Who is visiting my site?
    Rule number one of web design: you are not your visitor. Keep that in mind when you’re evaluating content. Research to discover who these visitors really are. Then, keep them in mind throughout all of your content development. When your words are approachable and focused on user needs, you’re engaging visitors and speaking to them�which is a great step in convincing them to act. (You want that, right?)
  2. What is content?
    Content may not be that image in the banner, but it’s definitely the message next to it. See how the two relate and how that headline relates to the easy-to-scan paragraphs and bullet points below. Then, that text will relate to a video on the left, and you get the idea. That’s a lot of information! Keep good tabs on it.
  3. How do different parts of content relate to each other?
    In other words, how will people find your content? Standard navigation should be as transparent as possible (think of it as a table of contents to your site) and make visitors confident that what they’re clicking on will fulfill their need. Let the engaging content flow through the page once they arrive. Then, think about the content itself. Where’s the best place on the page to link to that video or white paper?
  4. Why did we need that page, again?
    Keep a site map with good notes on what pages are needed and why (for you and your visitors). It might change as your needs do, but it’ll help keep a good record of your hard work and creativity�maybe leading to further inspired ideas about your web presence.
  5. Is it easy to consume?
    We approach content from three perspectives: your company, your visitors, and the search engines. The best content is optimized for all of these audiences, so make sure yours is, too.� Your visitors shouldn’t be intimated and should quickly be able to get the main concept and purpose of what they are looking at.

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