16th July 2015
Writing high quality content for the web
Content planning helps you to establish and maintain high quality content for your web project. High quality content is probably the most important factor in attracting relevant traffic via search engines and increasing conversion from a casual browser to a prospect or customer.
Content as the lynchpin
If content isn’t given a seat at the table during initial planning workshops then projects tend to overrun, budgets are blown, quality suffers, overall design quality suffers and ultimately the user experience is compromised. Oh dear. All sound a bit gloomy? Don’t worry there are some basic steps that allow you to plan for success.
Steps for success
We consider the content plan as a key deliverable at the initial strategy stage of a project. We make it clear to all the stakeholders who is responsible for what right at the start. We work with you to determine what existing content can be re-used from existing offline and online material. Then we use some nifty web-based tools to manage the content gathering process.
The lifecycle of web content
It’s interesting to think that web content has a typical lifecycle. The diagram below should help you visualise how your next page of content is born, grows up, matures and is finally put to pasture.
- Researching – If you’re lucky you’ll have a brief as the input to your research. Even if you don’t you’ll have to look at existing content and 3rd party sources then consider types of content such as facts, quotes and polls or survey data that you can draw on. Take time to consider relevant keywords and phrases at this point so that search engine optimisation is properly baked-in and not just an afterthought.
- Writing – Once you have some source material you can get stuck into the main event. However, producing some neat prose is just the beginning. Structuring your content with headings, image captions and links all takes a bit of thought. Larger projects might benefit from a content style guide as an input to the writing process.
- Peer review – It’s often useful to get someone to act in the role of editor when producing content. It’s all too easy to make mistakes when reviewing your own work.
- Source media – Your content should reference photography, illustrations, infographics or video / audio wherever it’s relevant to do so. All of this related media should be sourced, checked and captioned prior to the next step.
- CMS upload – only at this stage is your content ready to be published via your content management system. This is the point where you finally get to see your content take shape in the context of the page template delivered during the design & build stage of the project.
- Optimise & publish – Once your content is loaded into the CMS it’s time to carry out a mini search engine optimisation audit. Have you optimised your headings with a key phrase? Do you have a healthy smattering of references to the topic throughout? Is your page URL well optimised? Can you reach out to any other sites to request a link to your shiny new content? Have you promoted it via your social channels or an email newsletter?
- Archiving – So, your content has done its job, attracted a few hundred new visitors to the website and perhaps led to a few new enquiries or sales. When it’s time to put it out to pasture don’t just delete your valuable content. Archive it in a structured archive area to keep on referring visitors and keep growing the page count of your website.
At Metadigital our work has encompassed content plans ranging from a simple 10 page brochure style website to large public sector information sites with hundreds or even thousands of pages (not to mention intranets, extranets and other business applications). We understand the challenges that crop up time and time again.
Do you think that your next web project would benefit from a content audit, ongoing content production or a simpler approach to content management? If you think we might be able to help then don’t hesitate. Start a conversation.
By: Robin Balmforth
If you'd like an informal chat about how Metadigital can help with your digital project please get in touch.