Content can be the least-favorite part of a website redesign. It takes a lot of work to audit current content, make decisions about what changes need to be made to it, and determine what needs to be removed or even moved around the site. Besides, looking at the design of the site is more fun anyway, right?
We work with many clients that have content challenges. These challenges range from not having enough time to write content to not knowing where to start with content for their new website. When this happens, it's best to have guidance from your redesign agency. No matter how they might fit in with the process, it's beneficial to have someone on the outside of your organization to keep the process moving. This makes for not only better content, but also a better website. We've seen three different ways in which agencies can assist with content to bring out the best results for your site.
Leverage existing content
Many clients will work off of existing content, taking recommendations from our team into account. This doesn't mean just bringing over all existing content. Some pages or posts may be fine the way they are, but others may need to be tweaked first. In some cases, they may need to be completely rewritten based off of new business goals and desired user tasks for the new website.
Process: We have a content strategist who works with clients to develop a site map and content outline for a new site. This document covers all the navigation items and outlines what content needs to be on the page based on what we've heard in the discovery phase of the project. We recently started using WriteMaps to help in this process. This tool provides a more visual way to present ideas and suggestions to our clients, which is better than boring, old Word documents.
After the site map and content outline are approved by the client, we put the pages into another tool called Gather Content. This is where we collect all the content for the website project. It's like a shared Google Doc on steroids. Clients get their own login and can add content to pages, share comments, leave notes, and manage the workflow for each piece of content.
We can also set deadlines, which is helpful for keeping clients and agencies on track. We encourage collaboration in the tool so that content questions are not caught up in emails or a million versions of Word documents. All of the content is in one place, and questions/comments go right to our content strategist or content editors who can respond directly in the tool.
Pros: This approach is good for clients who may need some guidance, especially when staring at a blank Word document is too daunting. We use the Gather Content tool to keep the process moving and interact directly with clients on content comments or questions. We're also able to create blocks for different areas of the page so that clients know what kind of content we need. Keeping some aspects of content the same from old to new site will also help Google maintain your presence in search results.
Cons: Clients often need something more visual, and some can't picture how content will look on the page even with sections broken out in Gather Content. This can slow them down significantly and put the project behind.
Create content in house with your team
This option depends on the setup of your team. In-house content creation is good if you have a dedicated writer or marketer who can devote a significant amount of their time to the website project.
Process: This works best when we have developed the content strategy to set up a site map and content outline that your team can use as guidance for content creation. Someone on your team then creates or edits the content that will appear on the new site. It's best to have a subject matter experts review this content first before we review it for length, SEO best practices, content goals, and general spelling and grammar.
Pros: No one knows your business better than you, so having all of the content done in house with your team can work well and ensure that all the necessary information is on the page.
Cons: There is rarely a person who has enough time to produce all of the content. People usually squeeze it in between their other responsibilities. This puts content behind and can hold up projects. Additionally, if you don't have a person with writing experience, it could have an impact on the quality of the content that's produced.
Have your agency create content for you
This is a good option to have the best of both worlds. You're able to relay information to an agency copywriter while freeing up your team to concentrate on day to day tasks.
Process: Typically, the copywriter will conduct a number of interviews with your team to get all the information they need to write the site content. Once they have completed the pages, your team will review for accuracy with your subject matter experts.
Pros: This allows the agency to take on the bulk of the work, which helps to keep the process moving.
Cons: Like we said above, no one knows your content better than you. If you have a more technical business or one that requires a lot of explanation, this option may take just as much time than if your team wrote the content.
As you can see from these three options, no method is free from collaboration with your agency. The good thing is that you're extremely close to your content and your website, so having outside assistance can help ensure that users understand your content and that it produces results. Now it's just time to choose the right option for you and your team so that the content process goes as smoothly as possible.
Ready for a website redesign? Need help with your content? Contact us.