Developing a Content-First Website

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When developing a website, it is important to ask the following questions:

1.     What is the main purpose of the website?

2.     Who is the target audience? Be as specific as possible when describing.

3.     What information does your audience actually need to know?

4.     Are you presenting the information as plainly as possible?

What is the main purpose?

Websites are expensive to develop and to maintain. They require a lot of time to plan, design, and update, so it is crucial that you have the site’s purpose firmly defined to ensure the tool is as effective as possible.

Are you selling goods or services? Are you raising money? Are you educating people? No matter what the purpose is, write it down. It’ll help focus the next steps.

Writing for your target audience

Nothing will help define your site’s purpose more than knowing who your target client is. Put yourself into your client’s shows. What are they going to need to know about your company? About your products or services? Do they have prior knowledge? Are they product experts? Knowing the answers to these questions will drive all of your content. It’ll help you determine what writing style to employ, what level of technicality to include, what forms of communication to follow up, etc. When analyzing your client, you also need to ask, “What do I want them to do after being on my site?” Do you want them to purchase something? Sign up for a newsletter? Fill out a survey? You need to identify the call to action and make sure that all of your content points them in that direction.

Knowing your target audience is absolutely vital in developing a successful website.

 What information to include

Websites often have far more information than is necessary and considering you have only a few seconds to grab the attention of the reader, this is a poor strategy. More is not better.

If you already have a website, read through all of the content while constantly asking yourself, “is this necessary? Do they need to know this?” It is important to speak plainly and get to the point. Every sentence that you put on your website should have intention. What is in it for the reader to read this? Their time is valuable. Don’t waste it.

“More is not better” also pertains to the site design. Websites that are too cluttered, or have clunky functionality, affect your company’s brand and distract from the messaging.

After determining the best information to include, and the perfect design to reflect your brand, you need to test your site. Check all links, phone numbers, addresses, and unique functionality to ensure that your most important brand tool is properly reflecting the promise of quality you are making to your clients. It helps to have fresh eyes on your site to help catch anything that you may have missed.

A fresh perspective

If this all sounds a bit daunting and overwhelming, a website audit will help take the work off your plate. A web audit asks all of the above questions and reports how effectively your current site is performing. It will also look at your e-newsletters and social media channels to ensure you are consistent in all areas of your communications tree. A web audit can also include a competitive analysis so you have some reference points when making future decisions. Do you think a website audit is in order? Give us a call, we’d love to help. 

 
Erika Nakatsui is a writer and communications consultant

Erika Nakatsui, MA

Erika is a professional writer and communications consultant. With a strong public relations and journalistic background, Erika knows how to garner positive attention at the same time as building relationships with media. Her artistic talents and savvy business sense create an important mix when fresh ideas are needed.

Erika’s dedication to learning has earned her a diploma in public relations, a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in marketing), and a Master of Arts in Communications and Technology. She provides a wealth of knowledge, thoughtful direction and intuitive insight with all of her projects. Erika’s passion for social causes grounds us in our values, reminding us - we are all connected.