What You Can Do to Get Ready
Having a website isn’t just about programming or publishing the site. If you want a website that really works, it’s important that your content supports both your organizational goals and your users' needs. There are a number of steps you can take to plan and prepare for your website.
Plan Your Site
Identify Who in Your Organization Will Be Involved
Since websites are strategy-driven projects, defining roles is essential for planning, content development and site building.
- set strategic objectives, define purpose
- include senior leadership, strategist(s) and key stakeholders
- responsible for planning, producing and stewarding the site
- responsible for creating and maintaining content (editorial, visual, multimedia)
- include authors, subject matter experts (SMEs), editors and approvers
Develop a strategy and define the purpose and positioning of your site
Identify where you want your website to go; for example, what needs must your website achieve? What messages or information do you need your users to understand? Talking with key stakeholders will help you develop a shared vision of what you want your final website to achieve. This is known as a business strategy.
Set your objectives
- Listen to key stakeholders.
- Define common objectives.
- Work through disconnects.
Clarify your audiences
- You can’t position for everyone.
Identify key messages
- What are the messages your visitors must take away from your website?
Define success measurements
- How will you determine if your site is a success?
Prepare Your Content
Conduct Inventory and Assess Quality
Where am I now? Assess the current state of your website. What information does it currently contain and what is the quality of the information? This is the Web content audit.
Sort through what is there
- Review your entire site.
- View your other collateral (print, videos, email newsletters).
- Create an inventory.
- Quality content supports strategic objectives and meets your users' needs.
Purge unnecessary content
- If it is not used and does not support objectives, get rid of it.
Make sure everything that you keep has value
- Is the content worth the “cost” of sustaining and does it have a purpose?
Revising and Preparing Content
Think about how to create content that satisfies your business/organizational needs and the needs of your audience. You may know what you want to tell your audience, but it is equally important to understand the needs of your audience and how these needs might be very different from what you initially envisioned. This is called the content strategy.
Identify what needs to be created
- Determine updates from the content audit.
- Find the missing pieces to support the business objectives and user needs.
Write to support key messages
- Every piece of content is an opportunity to put forth messaging.
Edit for tone and style
Don’t forget that a picture is worth 1,000 words and a video 100,000