In order to achieve a good project outcome, we need to know what you want to say and that means - CONTENT!
Most of the time, a web development project goes like this:
- You provide your artwork (logo, style guide) and content (words and images).
- We build the website.
And most of the time, provision of website content is what delays a project. Usually this is because the business owner is either too busy to write their own content, or they don't know where to start - or both!
We really need an idea of what you want to say, so we can plan the website layout. The content and menu items can greatly influence the website design. Here's how we recommend getting started.
Using Word or Google Docs (if we are running a project together, you will have been provided with access to a Google Drive folder), create a document called Website Outline.docx, with a general outline of the website. Typically an outline would look like this:
- About Us
- Contact Us
Next, create a separate document for each of these pages and title each document accordingly, ie. Home.docx, AboutUs.docx, etc. Each document will contain the content you want to appear on that page.
Important things to note
- Do some research. Have a look at your competitors websites. If you're a small business, look at the website content of some of the bigger players in your industry - often they've employed professional copywriters and SEO specialists, and you can get some great ideas from what they've done (obviously do not directly copy anything).
- It is not necessary to submit content in HTML format - that's our job. Any formatting you do in Word/Google Doc or any other file format, will be taken out of that and created in the website as HTML.
- HTML allows for Headings, Paragraph text and Lists (bullet or numbered), and that's all we really need from you, so it's best to keep content formatting in your Word/GoogleDoc to these basics only. If you want a heading on page A to look the same as a heading on page B, format them the same way in both documents so your intent is clear.
- Do not design. Word/GoogleDoc have many fancy tools and colour schemes for word processing, but they aren't all helpful or relevant for the web. If you want a popup, don't try to create one - just write [pop-up]. If you want a table of data, just provide the original data in a separate file and write that we should [insert filename.xls] table here. Using the fancy tools just takes you more time to create, and us more time to decipher things which often can't be replicated anyway.
- Provide images separately. Never embed an image into Word/GoogleDoc. Images that are embedded and then extracted get compressed in that process and result in lower quality images which are usually unsuitable for a website. If you want a particular image to appear on a page, provide the image as a separate file, and in the document reference the image name in brackets, ie. [image50.jpg]. If we are sourcing stock photos for you, provide image instructions in brackets, ie. [stock photo of a woman laughing holding a yellow flower].
- Always provide the highest resolution images available. We can resize images down, but resizing up means pixelation and degraded quality.
- Consider how you want your content to look. If you provide a 10 page Word/GoogleDoc full of text, with no [image.jpg] references, your website visitor is going to land on a very large, single page "wall of text" which will require a lot of scrolling. On a mobile, this will necessitate so much scrolling as to be unusable. If your text can be broken down into smaller sections or pages, provide the content in those sections. Images can break up the "wall of text" too, to make it more readable.
- Consider how you may want to share your content. Content to be shared works better with its own URL and its own page on your website. If you have 10 different services, it is more shareable to create 10 different pages each with their own URL, with an overall "Services" index page. If you will never share an individual Service and each Service is described by a small amount of text, then a single overall "Services" page would suffice.
- Consider how your visitors might want to search for specific content (this is also relevent for accessibility and SEO). Text can be indexed for search easily, but other content is harder. An image is indexed by file name by default, and by any tags or metadata which are added. If an image of a boat is named [image.jpg] and no other information is provided, it will be indexed within the website and also by search engines and screen readers as "image", not "boat".
- Consider renaming your images according to what they are before submitting them to us. For instance, if you are providing staff photos, name each image with the staff member name ie. [maryjones.jpg] and [johnsmith.jpg]. If you are providing images of products in your store, name each image what that product is called ie. [flatwhite.jpg] and [cappucino.jpg]. We may have no way of knowing what is what otherwise.
- Consider how you might want to display particular non-text content. For example, say you have a folder full of images. How would you like those images to be displayed? As a gallery? Popup, slide, embedded in Instagram or something else? Or combine the images into a PDF for download? Combine them together into a video slideshow? Are they product images for a shop? Or are the images part of text descriptions for a manual? Do you want users to be able to download the images or not? Search the whole site for an individual image? Will you use the images in more than one way, ie in a gallery and also in newsletters? Whatever your goal, we need to know what you're thinking and how you would like your visitors to use this content, because we would install different extensions and tools into the website to best achieve your goal.
If you need help with this process, we can schedule some time to go through it with you.
Don't want to write your own content? Contact us about our Copywriting/Content Management services.
Click here to read more information about How We Work.
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