This post originally appeared on the ACS Creative blog. Reprinted with the author’s permission.
Unwieldy, disorderly, unrestrained, unruly, out of hand … beyond control. Are these the words that you—or worse yet, your customers—use to describe your Website? You’re not alone. It’s not unusual at all for a company Web site to get out of hand over time—especially if you haven’t updated it in a while.
Never fear! With some careful planning and execution, you can reclaim control of your site.
Website Content Strategy
A content strategy is a plan for creating, publishing and governing useful, accessible content for your company’s Website, says Kristina Halvorson, who (literally) wrote the book on it. A good content strategy lays out the specific reasons why you want to publish content in the first place and identifies the types of customer-satisfying content you need to create to meet your goals.
A good content strategy provides for an inventory and analysis of your existing content to determine what still meets your customers’ needs, eliminate what doesn’t, identify any holes that remain, and specify new content to add. It also provides guidelines (e.g., style, voice, legal considerations, response policies) for all content to follow, an editorial calendar and schedule of content releases, oversight of search engine optimization (SEO), and metadata strategies and Web analytics tactics for measuring success and identifying revisions over time.
As tempting as it might be to avoid the issue altogether, set aside the time and resources to develop a robust content strategy in the early stages of your redesign process.
What Your Customers—and You—Have to Gain
Remember that your customers visit your site with the intent to do something, and they want that experience to be as simple and straightforward as possible. Adopt a strategy to help them easily find the specific content they need to solve a problem, evaluate a product, or make a decision to work with you. You’ll benefit twofold from repeat visitors and referrals.
What more do you have to gain? Plenty. With a good content strategy in place, you’ll have a manageable process for controlling new content flow, optimizing content for search, determining what happens to old or irrelevant content, keeping brand messaging consistent, and evaluating the types of content that prove most effective for your audience.
Most of all, by developing and following a good content strategy, you’ll ensure that your content will become a competitive advantage for your business, rather than an unwieldy problem you’d just as soon ignore.
Matt Chamberlin is Director of Strategic Marketing for ACS Creative.