Content is the Driving Force of Your Website
At first glance, many of us may say the colors and design of a website are the most important part. Design is certainly important and a clean design with good UX gives you credibility with your audience. However, as users make their way through the site and read through pages that outline the company’s mission, vision, and services it becomes clear that content is just as important. Visitors come to a website to learn more about the business, what services they offer, and find the information they need to make a decision on who to choose. If your content is thoughtful, answers their questions, and does so in a well-organized manner then users will start to trust your business before they even contact you. However, if the content is unclear or doesn’t provide necessary information, they may be frustrated or lose patience and move on to the next business they had in mind.
Algorithms on social media are no secret, but did you know algorithms on platforms like Google have also changed? Neil Patel, one of our favorite SEO and marketing experts, has gone into more detail about Google algorithms, but to sum it up things are constantly changing. What this means is poorly created content can have a dramatic effect on how visible your website is to people searching for a business like yours. Pushing out a ton of content that isn’t useful to people will not help you but finding a long term goal and brainstorming content around it will help tremendously.
This is where content strategy enters the scene and becomes your website’s new best friend. Strategy, UX/UI Design, CSS, and marketing rely on each other for successful web projects. On their own, each of these disciplines is important and can be well executed by itself. But it can be obvious if there was more time and effort spent on the design then nothing is done for marketing or the content is full of spelling errors. Starting with content strategy ensures that the project is considered as a whole and that each person working on the project has a plan to refer back to for success.
So What Exactly is Content Strategy?
Content strategy is a newer discipline in the web world even though we’ve heard the motto “content is king” used for quite some time. At its core, content strategy is taking a step back and asking, “What should we create and why?” What follows that question includes defining the ideal client, their struggles, and creating a strategy to align those with the business objective.
Defining content strategy is especially important as the digital space is continuing to fill with more content and more competition. Strategy requires time to take that step and pause to evaluate, think, plan, and reflect before taking action. It’s often the step people skip, whether they realize it or not, and go straight to the design aspect of a website. A good design falls flat without compelling content and a plan for long term success. A great design may be easier to produce if you have all of your content finalized prior to the design kickoff because the designer will have a full understanding of what will be going on the website they design.
Now that we have an understanding of content strategy you may be wondering, “Ok so how do I bring this to my content?” If you want to do it yourself, you will need to sit down and do an in-depth evaluation of your current content to see where the gaps are and where you need to update content. Another option is to find a content strategist to guide you through defining a strategy and give your content a makeover.
What is a Content Strategist?
A content strategist takes the lead in identifying the why, how, and what of creating and organizing content for a project. They help clients by laying out how the business objective, user needs, and content will come together. Through this process they define your strategy and evaluate the gaps in current content, often creating new content to support the new strategy.
Remember those algorithms we mentioned earlier? Well it’s impossible for content strategists or marketing experts to predict how things will change but it is their job to stay on top of it all. Your content strategist will probably audit your current content, meet with you or a core leader in the company, and create a guide that explains exactly what your strategy is. Then they rework or completely rewrite your content and take into account things like SEO, which help your website rank better without paying for ads or visibility.
Reputable web agencies offer content strategy services for a range of needs, including new content for a new website or ongoing blog management. You can get a better idea of what working with a strategist is like by reading about the 95Visual Content Strategy process.
Content Strategy Sets Your Website Up For Success
So yes, you do need content strategy for your website and beyond! It’s obvious to users when a website is thrown together and does not offer all the information they need. Producing strategic content that is created to be used long term builds trust and loyalty with both new and returning customers. As algorithms continue to evolve and markets become crowded with new businesses it’s important to plan long term content that serves your audience but also supports your business goals. Having a website should help your business and not slow it down so if you haven’t evaluated your content since the website went live now may be a good time!