Website Content Bliss and Mishaps
We all tend to focus on our own areas of expertise. Our web designers will tell you that having a good design is vital (It is). Our web developers will tell you that using proper techniques and markup will make or break a website (It can). And our web programmers will tell you that if you don't code it all correctly, it's all inconsequential (It is.) However, after guiding hundreds of websites to a successful launch (and seeing a few not make it there) I'm here to tell you that none of that makes a difference if you do not have content to put on your website.
Content is King
Content is the point. It IS the purpose of the website. It doesn't matter if you are trying to sell a product, tell people about your services, or advertise your brand. The words on your website pages are what people are there for. Not only that, but the words on your pages are what the search engines are reading as well. Therefore I am always willing to take content in any way shape or form that my clients may provide it.
Good Content Delivery Methods
We've blogged before on the best way to organize and plan website content. To be fair, I have had a lot of web design clients that were so organized that inputting their content was a breeze. There is nothing I love more than a good outline to follow. With a clear plan, its easy to know where you need to edit, where you need more and where you can cut down. Even if you aren't the most organized person in the world, there are still ways that you can sort your content when you deliver it to us that makes it easy to understand. Here are some of my frequent suggestions for clients.
- Individual Word Docs per page
- Using the Writeboards on Basecamp
- Emails that contain a page per message, with attached images as needed
- Hyperlinks to pages on your current website
- CDs of images descriptively named (Product76a.jpg)
Less Preferred Content Delivery Methods
There have been times when my client was challenged to know exactly what information that they would like to have on their new website. Or, if they aren't very tech savvy, they may be unsure of how to give us the content in a way that will be easily placed on a website. These are a few of the less preferred but acceptable ways:
- Marketing brochures
- A mass folder/ CD of images with no names (DSC1002.jpg)
- Telling me what you want as I type it into the page
- Faxed pages that could have been sent digitally
Things I would prefer to never see again
When you've been doing this as long as I have, there are always amusing anecdotes. I would like to point out in each of these cases, we've created a beautiful, functional, and successful website.
- A link to a competitors website with instructions to "Use their stuff and change the name."
- Pictures of a computer screen taken with a digital camera.
- A collage of images cut out of magazines
- Printed page, handwritten notes in the margin, scan upside down, and sent as PDF.
I stand behind the statement I said earlier, and the same thing I tell each of my clients. You can provide me content in any way shape or form, and I will create a website out of it. The only content hurdle I can't surpass is writers block. And when that's the problem, talk to me about content writing.