Organizing Web Content
By Shane Klein on April 22, 2015 in Training
One of the biggest struggles we see from our clients when working on web design projects is content delivery. Figuring out what to say is hard enough, but then figuring out how to communicate where it all goes is another challenge all in itself.
Here are a few tips that could alleviate some of the pain that goes along with providing content for a new site.
Start with the outline
To figure out where you are going, it sometimes helps to know where you’ve been. If you have an existing site, take inventory of the pages on your site. If you don’t have an outline of your site handy, sometimes this consists of the tedious task of clicking around the site and creating an outline of the pages you have. Sitemap creators can help. They provide a list of urls/pages on your site. If this all just sounds like too much for you to handle, let us do the work for you. We can go through and provide you with your current site outline.
Here is an example of a simple site outline:
- Cedar Falls
- Cedar Rapids
- Team Leaders
Make it better
Looking at the outline, can you make it better? Are the categories clear? Are there pages that you can consolidate or flat out eliminate? There are a few practices that can help you through this phase. Grab a pack of post-its or notecards and a sharpy and rename categories, move pages, eliminate what you can and add what is needed. Trello is a free online site that is helpful in organizing thoughts like this. Make sure you get all stakeholders involved. This may take a while but this is the foundation of your site, so it needs to be solid.
Often times we will take a crack at doing this for our clients and then we’ll send it to them to see if we are on the same page. If you prefer, we can have a meeting and go through this together. You know your business, customers, and what you want to say. We know how people use the web and how to register well in search engines. By working together, we get the best possible outline.
Use the outline as a checklist
If you are rewriting all or even some of the content, the outline will provide you a great checklist to know what you have done, and what you will need to do. If you have some pages that will stay as is, you could simply paste the existing URL behind the outlined item. Then when it comes to migrating content, there is no mistake as to where that content should come from.
About Us (http://www.spinutech.com/about/)
Contact Us (http://www.spinutech.com/contact/)
Organizing new content
For the pages you are rewriting, you’ll need a way to organize it all so you know what goes where. To help with this, I often will share a Dropbox or Google Drive folder with our clients that follow the same structure as the outline. So in the content folder that I share are several other folders with the name of each category for you to put images, text and documents in. If there are sub-pages under that category, simply add another folder. It is important to clearly name the images. DSC00089.jpg isn’t very helpful, but History_Header_Image.jpg is.
Here is an example of how an About Us folder may look:
Then when you are writing your content, it’s nice to make notes in the margin about blogs, events or documents that you want to bring in on that page.
Here is an example of how your document may look:
My last piece of advice, don’t put off gathering content. The sooner you dive in, the quicker you will be able to get a good understanding of what you all want on your site. When starting a project, it is easy to think you won’t HAVE to have all the content in until the end of the project, which could be several months away. But months can go by quick and gathering content is a big undertaking. The better prepared you are in the begin, the better your design team can prepare for the content you’ll want to integrate.
These tips won’t take all the pain out of gathering content, but it could help you stay organized and maybe save some sanity along the way. We can help you create a timeline so you know what you’ll need to do every week and if you are on track or not. And if this all just sounds like way too much to handle, we have access to professional copywriters that we can put you in touch with so that you can focus on other things. After all, we know putting together your new website isn’t your full time job… but it is ours, and we will do everything we can to make the process as easy as possible for you.