Redesigning your website can be an exciting and intimidating endeavor. In our experience, organizations tend to jump headfirst into conversations about design and aesthetic, bypassing the important role content plays in the user experience. We’ll admit, conversations about look and feel can be a lot more exciting than hashing out the structure of your site content, but we think we make a pretty strong case for a content-first approach. Below are six of the most compelling reasons to eat your vegetables (as we like to say) and determine a solid content strategy before you start redesigning page templates.
A content strategy creates helpful guidelines for your design team. It provides a clear picture of each page’s objective and target audience which enables them to develop more effective designs in a more efficient manner. A content-first approach to your website redesign ensures your design team doesn’t create templates that never get used or have to be reworked once the team determines which content belongs on which page.
A content strategy is built on the foundation of your business objectives and marketing goals. While it may be tempting to start designing standard web pages (blogs, news releases, products, services, etc.), you may miss out on identifying site content that is specific to your unique business needs. Starting with content strategy makes it less likely that you will overlook vital site content that communicates the unique aspects of your business.
A content-first approach puts the focus of your site on serving your target audience. The most beautifully designed page won’t convert your users to customers if you don’t give them the information they have come to the site to find. By developing users paths before designing pages, you ensure your team is clear about the primary goal of the page, enabling them to design around a desired action. This will improve the user experience and inevitably increase conversions.
Part of your content strategy process will involve determining the hierarchy of your site. This will give you clarity on your most important content — i.e. the content that promises to be most effective in helping your users move through their journey. If your team is stretched thin, understanding the most important content on your site will help you prioritize staffing resources accordingly.
A content strategy starts with auditing the content you already have. This often uncovers opportunities to repurpose or reuse existing content, helping you avoid the pitfall of assuming you need to start developing content for every page from scratch. This saves time and enables you to prioritize your team’s efforts on filling in any content gaps that will likely surface in the auditing process.
Understanding your content strategy and identifying an exhaustive list of content types will inform and expedite discussions around technical requirements if you are considering a new CMS platform. You may even realize you don’t need a new tool at all!
If you are on board with the benefits of a content-first approach to your website redesign but aren’t sure how to get started, reach out! We have a lot of experience building content strategies for our clients’ varying business needs. You might also be interested in reading 5 Strategic Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Website Redesign.
Got more questions about your digital strategy? We'd love to talk to you!