Now that you have completed a site map and identified a CMS, it’s time to start diving into your content. The best way to determine what you already have and what you’ll need to create to get your site launched is to conduct a content inventory.
Create a Content Inventory
A content inventory should list all of the content items on your site, including text, video, file downloads, images, and forms. It’s also helpful to make note of basic information such as:
- Where the content exists within the current website (e.g. top-level page, secondary-level page)
- Name of the page
- Page URL
- Content type (e.g. video, blog post, staff bio)
- Any special formatting required for the content
You’ll want to remember to update your content inventory regularly as your site grows. When maintained, it is a great organizational tool and provides valuable insight into the type of information you are sharing with site visitors. While a basic content inventory is a great start, you may also want to include additional details such as:
- Author information
- Creation date
- Whether a page is informational (e.g. article, about us description) or functional (e.g. application, shopping cart screen)
- Any calls to action or other page features
- Whether content should be deleted or archived (e.g. time sensitive info, announcements)
- General notes - Is content reflective of the brand? Does content require review and edit? How useful is the content?
Create New Content
When you’ve completed your content inventory, use it to figure out where you have gaps in your content. As you think about the content you’ll need to create, leverage analytics tools to dig into the current pages or topics on your site that are getting the most traffic. Analyzing this data will give you insight into what your visitors are finding most useful and what may need to be edited, better optimized for search traffic, or eliminated. It will also help guide the type of content you’ll want to create.
Creating new content is a time-consuming task. When taking into consideration time spent on research, brainstorming, review, and editing, expect to spend about a day per page. But before the writing begins, you’ll need to identify who will be responsible for creating new content and what the process will be. Also important is to know who will maintain responsibility for ongoing content maintenance and curation. These things are typically addressed in a governance plan.
Create A Governance Plan
Outlining a governance plan that clarifies roles and responsibilities for maintaining the website will help ensure smooth internal processes. To create a comprehensive governance plan, you should address the following areas:
- Empowering and restricting content producers and publishers
- Establishing a content workflow
- Defining roles and permissions
- Building your CMS to enforce web standards
- Maintaining and building site SEO
- Process and protocol for posting, editing, and removing content
Because fresh and timely content can increase engagement among your site visitors, it’s important to have a plan for adding new information to your website. To keep a continual flow of new site content, develop an editorial calendar that outlines the frequency and type of content that will be added. Also, review site analytics data on an ongoing basis to refine content and drive site traffic.
Read Part 1 of Content Strategy: What You Need To Know To Avoid A Failed Website Redesign