Content Strategy: What You Need To Know To Avoid A Failed Website Redesign (Part 1)

January 13, 2014

Your website tells the story of who you are, who you are serving, and how you get it done. While creative design is a key piece to telling your story, your content plays the starring role in communicating your message. Copy, video, and photography work together to tell your brand story and convert prospects into customers. However, despite its starring role, the content strategy for a website is often put on the back burner during the redesign process.

This can jeopardize the site launch and ultimately result in a failure to meet the business goals the redesign was meant to address. Luckily, with proper planning, you can ensure a great content strategy and a successful website redesign.

Content Informs Design

Great website content is a powerful asset that can help drive marketing goals. Your brand story is a key component of your content strategy – how you communicate it will inform your creative design, so you’ll want to map out your plan for doing so early in the process. Before a designer starts creating a visual identity, you should have the marketing and business objectives for the website outlined. These objectives will help drive decisions about the design concept that will ultimately ensure alignment with your overall goals.

Content is more than just copy – it encompasses all of the ways you communicate through your website. To create a comprehensive content strategy, you’ll want to consider:

  • Text - Site copy, Blog posts
  • Video
  • Images - Photography, Graphs, Illustrations
  • PDF Downloads
  • Contact Forms

Addressing each type of website content in your strategy will make each stage of the redesign process easier, especially once a site map is developed. A site map is created as a way of mapping out the structure and organization of pages throughout the site. While a site map does not detail specifics around page copy, it does provide insight into the type of content that will be required on various site pages. This is where both a meaningful content strategy and a content management system come into play.

Selecting the Right Content Management System

When it comes to content, having a flexible content management system (CMS) can be make or break. Evaluating a number of options to find the one that best suits your needs is an important part of the website redesign process.  Once you have selected a CMS, you will need to think about the structure and format of your content so that the system can be set up to accommodate your needs. Consider whether your content will need to include:

  • Author byline
  • Hero or multiple images
  • Publication date
  • Related content links
  • Embedded or uploaded videos
  • File downloads
  • Ability to be cross promoted in various site locations

In addition, you should have a handful of real examples of each type of content. This will help in the CMS setup and could highlight any additional considerations that will need to be addressed.

Prepping Your Content For a Website Launch: Helpful Hints

  • When outlining your content strategy, consider how you are telling your brand story and make sure messaging, tone, and voice are reflective of your brand.
  • Know which type of content you want to incorporate into your website.
  • Have a number of real-world examples for each type of site content.
  • Determine site permissions to ensure the CMS is set up accordingly and document the process. 

Read Part 2 of Content Strategy: What You Need To Know To Avoid a Failed Website Redesign

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