Cleverly created content has the power to inform, educate, and guide users across your site. While it can be tempting to simply ‘get some content on the page’, a well thought out, structured approach will ultimately drive traffic to your pages, enhance your user experience (UX), and work to deliver your business goals and objectives. Content creation can feel overwhelming, but if you’re armed with a clear plan you’ll have the framework you need to create web pages that resonate with your customers and deliver outcomes for your business.
Create your navigation & site structure
Map your pages
Create a list of all of your proposed web pages including core navigational pages, sales pages and educational/resource-based pages. Each page should have a clear and unique purpose eg. solve a problem, connect with your audience or inform. Map your pages in such a way that every click that a user makes provides a solution, delivers information or helps them to build a better connection with your business/brand. Whether it’s a product or service page, an informational page, or access to your tools and resources it’s important to understand how an individual page fits in with the website as a whole.
Tip: Create a list of pages of your current website to work out which pages will be carried over to the new site, new pages needed or outdated pages removed.
A sitemap is an important tool throughout this part of the planning process. A sitemap will clearly outline the hierarchy of your pages and will detail the customer journey throughout your website. From the sitemap, the main and footer navigations are determined. Ideally the sitemap is created based on user data from your existing website – Such as Google Analytics, which can outline the user journey that your customers are taking. You can review if this is the correct user journey, or if a new site structure is required to improve the user flow.
Understanding this journey and the importance placed on different pages hierarchy will help you to create content that is relevant and valuable to your users and that delivers your message in the right way, at the right time. For example, placing all resource articles within a “blog” section, all service pages under services etc.
Plan your content structure with wireframes
Do this before you get stuck into web design. Once you have a clear sitemap in hand, you can begin outlining the nuts and bolts of the content structure of individual pages. This part of the planning process is often completed in collaboration with your web designer before any design work takes place and involves the creation of wireframes for each of your web pages.
Wireframes provide the digital ‘blueprints’, that will be referenced throughout all of your content planning and creation. Wireframes ensure consistency and unity between page content and the content architecture of the site and will detail what you want to say, and where and how you want to say it. This includes the placement of headers, images, paragraphs of copy (with word count), video content positioning and any other on-page content.
Wireframes solve many problems. They allow you to plan out the content and messaging of the webpage. If the webpage is a sales page, it might contain a form whereas a blog page will be more content based, and may not require a form but might contain a video. The elements and assets required on each page is determined in the wireframe.
Wireframes also ensure the hierarchy of the messaging is right for the purpose of the page. The number of headings on the page, the number of images, the amount of content is all sketched out per page. The website copywriters then have a content structure and key objective for each page, and can create content to the right content structure. Wireframes are a great way to take a strategic layout and pass to content production, to create the best content based around of the purpose of each individual webpage.
Tip: Users typically skim read on screens so it’s a good idea to use headers, images, video content and links to break up large chunks of copy into bite-sized pieces of information
Understand the difference between your sales and information pages
Sales and information-based pages have quite different purposes and it’s important to understand this when you’re planning your content. Sales page content should focus on sales (sounds obvious enough) meaning that it should use persuasive language, include social proof such as testimonials and have a strong call to action (CTA). The content plan for your sales pages should answer questions and address hesitations that your customer may have and should lead them to take some sort of action.
In contrast, your blog/resources pages work to attract new leads and nurture the existing relationships that you already have with your user. The content plan for these pages should include articles, blogs and resources that prove that you’re an expert in your field, inform and educate, build connections and cultivate trust with users who are in the get-to-know-you stage of your funnel.
Tip: The use of a content calendar is a helpful reference for blog and article planning. It will outline a clear schedule for the creation and publishing of the topics that your audience wants to learn more about.
Measure your success
Analytics.google.com is your best friend when you’re planning your content. They help you to understand which pages are engaged with, and which pages aren’t. This provides valuable data on the type of content that your audience wants to see more of and the types of content that, perhaps, aren’t worth working well. You want pages that lead to conversion and articles that people are enticed by and engaged with. By monitoring and measuring your Google Analytics you can plan and craft content that truly reflects the wants and needs of your audience.
By following this content roadmap, you will find yourself on the path to clearer, more structured, goal-driven outcomes. You’ll have a greater sense of strategic and creative alignment, and will improve your branding and storytelling overall.
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