Content planning for your Lansing business is one of the most critical elements to web development. The purpose of content planning is to tell the organization’s story with the present information, and the information that needs to be created on the website. If you already have a website, the content plan is more about mapping. Mapping involves defining page titles and URLs. Yet, defining what content to present on your website can be a difficult task for a client and their website design firm. In fact, content is often the biggest delay when it comes to launching websites.
Once clients start writing and organizing their content, the website redesign process can quickly evolve into a lengthy endeavor. New content on a website can mean additional features need to be added. Scope creep (often times referred to as requirement creep, function creep, or feature creep), is a project management term that refers to uncontrolled changes or continuous growth in a project’s scope. What can make the journey toward your new or redesigned website easier, is the wireframe process.
The wireframe process is one of the first steps in developing a website. If your website has multiple places where content resides, and it differs page by page, then the wireframe process may be useful. Wireframes are an important tool for visualizing a webpage before it is built and is often used with larger sites that require a lot of planning. Basically, wireframes are lines drawing where content might reside on your page. Wireframes allow developers to envision different arrangements of elements. Common software used in the wireframe process includes UXPin, Balsamiq, and Adobe InDesign. These tools allow you to make digital mockups, saving developers time and energy.
How can we manage the process of content planning effectively while still allowing for flexibility to edit and improve website content?
Again, content planning is about telling your organization’s story using present and pertinent information. Your marketing strategy should be applied to every piece of content you share; most of it will live on your website.
Worksheets that map your content and process are useful tools to keep you organized, on track, and on top of deadlines. Here is a structure we suggest following for your content strategy:
I. Current Business Environment Analysis
- Describe the current environments of your industry and business.
II. Brand Promise and Position Statements
- Describe the brand’s reason for existence and the value it brings to customers. Define your brand’s position relative to competitors.
III. Competitor Analysis
- List your competitors, their products, their online services, and their competitive advantages and disadvantages. What sets you apart from them?
IV. Customer Analysis
- Describe your ideal customer segment. Divide these customers into groups to explain different reasons why they would want to purchase your product or service. Find out where each group spends time online. Describe what’s important to them when they choose products like yours. Describe what you can deliver to meet their wants and needs.
V. Budget and Resources
- Define how much money you’ll have to spend on content over the next 12 months. Likewise, define the available time and labor you’ll have to spend on content marketing.
- Define the top goals you would like to accomplish within the next 12 months.
Once you have the strategy down, brainstorm effective pieces of existing content and pieces that need to be created. This process should follow a similar pattern to the one presented. Once the content is planned, it can be mapped to pages on your website and redirected to new pages with new content. Be sure to identify the keywords with your design firm. Lastly, and most importantly, make a timeline of deadlines and allocate responsibilities. Planning content involves teamwork. Ensure every player has a defined role.
Well-planned content through a structured process makes for easier implementation. Your worksheet will align the content to your customers’ wants and needs with goals that ultimately tell the story of your organization. Content planning can be a lengthy process, but with the help of wireframes and strategic preparation you can take the reins on developing the website that best suits your business.