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How to Organize & Plan Website Content

Websites are made up of many things. Words, images, documents, bullet lists and just about any other information you might think of.  It would be easier if there was a simple formula, but the lifeblood of any good website is its content. But, you say, content is hard! Yes, yes it is. That’s why I’m here to guide you through it.

Following are a series of guidelines, exercises, and a working example that will help you through the entire process.

Website content cartoon


Planning your website’s content is paradoxically the easiest and hardest part of the process. It’s easy because it’s your business you are explaining. You know it forwards, backwards, and upside down. But how do you inform people when you aren’t there? Blogs aside, a website is full of largely static content, and now you have to figure out how to present it.

Step 1: Outline

I like outlines. I’m in the minority and I know that, but a good outline of your content will help in every aspect of the process.

So here are some questions you should answer before anything else.

  • Who am I?
  • What do I do?
  • How do I do it?
  • What do I do better than my competitors?


  1. Who am I?
    1. I’m Bob’s Box Emporium.
  2. What do I do?
    1. I sell storage containers of all shapes and sizes.
  3. How do I do it?
    1. I own a warehouse where I hold stock.
    2. I discount old/bad selling containers whenever I need to.
    3. If I’m met with a special order I have a pool of resources I can refer people to.
  4. What do I do better than my competitors?
    1. I own my warehouse, so there’s no rent overhead.
    2. I have the resources to handle special orders.
    3. I can deliver to any of the 50 US states and Canada.

Step 2: Prioritize

Everything about your business is important to you. Remember that your user isn’t you. Try to figure out what people will want to know about your business. Asking an outside party for advice is always a good idea.

  • What is the #1 thing I want people to get from my site?
    • Is there anything specifically related to this point?
  • What is the #2 thing I want people to get from my site?
  • What is the least important thing I want people to get from my site?


  1. Users should be able to purchase items.
    1. Users should be able to get information about the items.
      1. Dimensions and shape of item.
      2. Weight of item.
      3. Special attributes of item.
  2. Users should be informed of discounts and clearances.
  3. Users should be aware of the ability to make special orders.
  4. Users need to know about shipping policies.
  5. Users should be able to contact me.
  6. Users can learn about the history of the company.

Step 3: Navigation

Now that you’ve got information on a page, you can outline a sitemap. Sites are generally organized into “top level” and “sub level” navigation items. Top level items are those that display in the main navigation. Sub level items are those that display on hovering over a top level item or display when the top level page is clicked.

Here’s a basic way of organizing a sitemap:

  • Top level navigation
    • Sub navigation
    • Sub navigation
      • Third level navigation
    • Sub Navigation
  • Top level navigation


  1. Home
  2. About
  3. Products
    1. Cardboard Boxes
    2. Steel Boxes
      1. Safes
    3. Plastic Boxes
    4. Plastic Storage Bins
    5. Specialty products
    6. Custom orders
  4. Shipping Information
  5. Contact


For some, writing is going to be the hardest part of the process. That’s why there’s an entire blog post dedicated to the subject. But you’ve got your basic outline of who you are, how you want to showcase yourself, and even your navigation. Half the battle is already won.

  • Take your navigation outline and fill it out with content.


  1. Home
    1. Bob’s Box Emporium is a leader in all your box needs. We…
    2. Current Specials
      1. Heart-shaped boxes
      2. Lime green storage bins
  2. About
    1. Bob’s Box Emporium was started in 2000 by Bob…
  3. Products
    1. Cardboard Box
      1. SKU: #00320194
      2. Size: 12x12x36
      3. Our cardboard box is great for…
      4. Weight: 0.5lbs
    2. See Spreadsheet!
  4. Shipping Information
    1. We ship through a certified parcel service. Price of shipping…
  5. Contact
    1. P.O Box
    2. Phone
    3. Fax
    4. Contact form


The major advantage of using an outline is that it’s easily rearranged. Bob can now switch out sections, change the navigation levels, and easily add more information. What he has is a strong starting point that works as on its own but can also be easily added to. This is also the time when you can implement your SEO strategy.

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