How We Plan Content for Web Development Projects

Most clients have no idea how much time and effort it can take to populate a new or redesigned website. We want to help make planning content as easy as possible.

The amount of content we have on hand varies with each client. Some already have a strong web presence with rich content for the website redesign. Others have no presence. They don’t know where to start. We work with each client to develop a precise, simple and easy-to-follow content plan that not only fits the company, but also empowers business leaders to plan future online content.

We begin with message analysis. This usually starts with IA and UX exploration. We ask questions about key touch points and about how users prefer to access the company on the Web. Answers help us produce a site map—the backbone that helps produce a variety of content. As section elements are clarified, we get a clear picture of what types of content assets we require, such as videos, images and text.

How do we organize content from clients or from our partners, such as videographers, photographers, designers, illustrators, copywriters or copy editors? Instead of developing a website and then passing it off to clients, asking them to add in the text on their own, we like to get clients to think about structure and content early on during the planning phase. We work together to produce content.

In the past, especially when matching content to newly-created designs with seemingly unavoidable development constraints, clients would get overwhelmed by form and functionality. They would miss opportunities to create clean, precise messaging that adds value (instead of more bells and whistles) to the project. Content-first planning helps us master the message before we fine tune the medium.

What will be your content? Clients often point to existing website copy. Some have case studies, white papers and product descriptions on hand to help populate the website. Sometimes there’s a marketing team or a writer to help out. If it’s a startup, the branding material may be all that’s available. We may work with a content strategist or copywriter to help us produce relevant, ready-to-share content.

Let’s plan content for your web system. Contact us or tweet @ForgeandSmith.