Website content strategy, simplified
Ever been working on your website and thought to yourself ... 'hmm, wonder what the best way to arrange all of this content is?' 'What pages should be in my navigation, and which shouldn't?' 'Where should I place my opt-in gift so it's most effective?'
Website content strategy helps us with all of these questions.
It helps give you a strategy for where everything on your website should go, and how to get visitors to navigate through your site in the way you want them to!
(*Ahem* That means getting those fine folks onto the pages which make you the dolla dolla bills!)
Website content strategy doesn't have to be a fancy, technical thing. I have a super simple, low-tech way of mapping this all out for your own website that I'll share with you in this post. This is the website content strategy, simplified after all.
Here's a quick overview of what we'll go through.
Why your website goals are the starting point of your web content strategy & example goals to get you thinking
How to create a roadmap through your website
Tips & best practices of website content strategy
How to test your website to see if it's arrangement is indeed helping you meet your goals
Let's jump in!
Determine your website goals
Before we go even one step further we need to define our goals.
Why? Well, we want our visitors to wander on through our websites in the way we want them to go. Oh, and we want to get them to the pages that bring in the bacon.
So of course, we need to determine what's important to use first, before we can get into the strategy part.
The first question we need to ask ourselves is, what is the ultimate goal of our website? What's our websites purpose? What action do we most want visitors to take on our websites?
Examples of site goals:
Grow your email list
Sell a product or service
Increase podcast or YouTube subscribers
Build a community or following
Enroll new gals in your membership club, program or library
Demonstrate your authority on a certain topic
The first thing you must do is to write out your goal(s). To keep things simple when we're starting out, choose at max 3 goals, you can rank order them too to help determine what is really the most important.
Action step: Grab that pen and paper or type out your 1-3 site goals.
How to create your website content strategy
To put this in non-tech terms, think of your website content strategy as your website roadmap.
Yeah, there's lots of ways to get from your new apartment to Starbucks, but some ways are more efficient and faster than others.
If someone sent you on some wild goose chase of a roadmap through construction sites and on the most traffic-heavy streets, you might get annoyed and give up on your quest for the perfect Caramel Macchiato. But, if you're given the fastest route, you're more likely to get your Starbs, (and the ever-important Starbs reward point)!
Same thing goes for our website.
The faster & more efficiently we send our visitors down our roadmap from landing on the site, to getting to their final destination, the better.
So let's map this thing out, the low-tech way.
First, write out the 'route' you want visitors to take through your website.
Example for a photographer website: Home page > portfolio page > pricing page > contact page
Once you have your 'map' written out, then grab some pieces of paper, sticky notes & a pen.
Each piece of paper represents one page on your website. Label the page title on the top of the piece of paper.
Label all your bits of content on your sticks notes. (Examples of content includes 'office hours' 'pricing' 'packages/products' 'availability' 'blog post previews' 'testimonials' 'process' 'about snippet' 'opt-in gift.' Also, instead of writing out your actual office hours for each day of the week, just write 'office hours,' you don't need to write the full copy here.)
Your exact content of course depends on your industry/business, you might have all, some, or none of the above examples.
Decide what bits of content help move your visitors towards your site goals. Place those sticks notes (pieces of content) on pages accordingly.
Keep in mind, you want the bits of content that get people to your site goals to be front & center, and super easy to reach. That means you should have these pieces on your home page, or linking from your home page to the full page with all of the details.
Then, at the bottom of each page you want to give a Call To Action (CTA).
The CTA should move visitors along your intended roadmap. So at the bottom of each page, place a CTA to the next page you want them to see in your roadmap.
What about deciding which pages goes in your navigation?
First things first, every page on your site should not be in your navigation, in fact, less is more in your navigation.
Yep, I can already hear you saying ... 'really?'
The more navigation items and drop down menus you have, the more decisions that need to be made by your visitor. This can lead to decision paralysis, and them choosing the back button.
Minimize the decisions! Make it easy.
Only have links in your navigation that get visitors to the pages which are most important for meeting your website goals.
All the rest of your links, place them in your footer.
Bam! Content strategy complete! ... Mostly, a few tips for you to make sure this strategy is as effective as possible.
Website Content Strategy Tips
1. Keep it short & sweet
People don't really read websites these days, they skim.
4 big paragraphs of text, one after the next? I'll place a bet that very few people are actually gonna read those.
Even if you take the info from those same 4 paragraphs and break them into less intimidating looking one liners and headings, people are more likely to read them.
I'll give you just 2 exceptions to this rule. On your about page and sales page it is necessary to have a good amount of text. Granted, still make an effort to have headings and shorter paragraphs.
Also, with blog posts, more is more. Google likes longer blog posts, so your posts should have length (at least 1,000 words).
But, again, try to ensure that length isn't all one giant block of text, break it up into shorter lines.
2. Don't put lots of text in images
Sometimes to capture fancy layouts, we have to use images to create layouts not otherwise possible with text overlaying images in interesting arrangements.
But, Google can't 'read' the text in your images (and we want Google to 'read' your text for it's SEO juice benefit), so if you're going to go the text within images route, make sure its minimal.
(Minimal means a few words, not a full paragraph of text ... Not that you would use a full paragraph of text anyways from what I mentioned just previously though, right?)
How to test your website content strategy is working
There's a few ways to go about this.
My favorite is a heatmap. A heatmap looks similar to what a ghost hunter sees through their fancy ghost-hunting heat-detecting googles.
A heatmap tracks where visitors click on your website. Add a heatmap to your site (I use SumoMe), let it run for a couple weeks to collect click info, then take a peek at the heatmap.
Ask yourself, are people clicking where I want them to? Are visitors taking the actions on my pages the way I want them to?
Adjust your site content layout, navigation options, Call To Action button text, etc., based on your heatmap findings.
A second option is Peek User Testing. This is a service where a tester person lands on your website and clicks around it for 5 mins, explaining what they think about your site as they go, and how easy it is to understand and navigate.
The one downside I will note about Peek is the darn testers generally take forever to figure out what your website is about. At one point on my home page it said in massive letters on top of my banner image 'website design,' and the tester thought I ran a wedding events website because of the banner image...
Prime example that people don't read websites really.
So if you use Peek, maybe don't give so much weight to them not understanding immediately what your site is about.
I figured, most people come to my website through a blog post on Google or Pinterest, so they're probably already looking for website advice, and therefore have a fair idea that I talk about website design and Squarespace on my site. Whereas some random person coming to my site might take some more time to figure that out, but thats not normally how visitors come to me.
There you have it! A full site content strategy ready to go!
If you thought, hmm, well that wasn't anywhere near as difficult as I thought it would be, well fabulous! Share this post with others using the social buttons below!