Map Your Website – Before You Design - The Content Experiment
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Map Your Website – Before You Design

map your website before you design

Knowing what content you need on your website before you build your site is vital.

Many small business owners know what they want to see, visually, on their website and don’t think about the content until after their developer has finished building their site. Content is what will drive people to your website and should actually be the first thing you think about when you get started. Google, Bing and other search engines don’t care what your website looks like—they care that you’re providing value-added information to online visitors.

Think about it. An architect has to do a lot of planning before the contractors ever break ground on a building. If the construction starts before all the pieces and plans are in place, there’s a huge risk for corrections and changes down the road. The same goes for website development. Developing your website first, then working on content can increase the overall cost of the site and decrease your opportunities to drive traffic to your site.[bctt tweet=”Content is what will drive people to your website. Think of it first as you begin development.”]

Why? A couple of reasons.

  1. If you design first, then think about content you could have a website that’s a specific number of pages long (let’s say five), but you only really need four pages of content. You neglected to think about what content you need to sell your services or products before you built your site. Now your options are: produce filler text for your extra page that doesn’t really provide value, or hide the page for use down the road. Neither of these are ideal options because you could have saved yourself some cash up-front.
  2. If your website is built before you work on content, content creation is now a matter of fitting words into a template. If your text is longer than your developer anticipated, the design and flow will morph as you add content. As a result, you may need some redesigning which often isn’t built into the original cost of your site.
  3. You—or your copywriter—should have a clear strategy on target keywords throughout the website. To optimize reach, your developer will add these keywords to the metadata, h-tags and alt-text on the back-end of your website. If you haven’t developed a clear strategy from the outset, your developer will have to add this information later. And, you guessed it. This can cost you time and money.

Not sure what pages you’ll need on your new site? Here are a couple of tips:

  • Every website should have a home page, a contact page and a page about you and your business.
  • Determine the purpose of your website. Are you selling products and services? You’ll need a page for that![bctt tweet=”Determine the purpose of your website. Are you selling products and services? You’ll need a page for that!”]
  • Organizations that have regular events (think: schools, museums, fitness studios, etc.) need a dedicated calendar page that makes it easy for patrons to locate events, hours and special programs. Ask your developer about using an interactive calendar that allows visitors to subscribe.

When you know you need a website for your business, before you even price out website developers, think long and hard about what you want information you need to get across to your customers. Be informed and organized before that first meeting with your website developer. And if you’re not sure where to start, hiring an experienced copywriter can help you move forward.

I offer a one-hour Map it Out session, where you and I can work together to develop a site map and move your website forward.

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