As your organization works toward the launch of a new website, your team will work to improve the overall user experience. The designers will help determine what your site will look like. The developers will build the site to meet your functional needs. But what will it say? While the Firefly team builds your site, you will work to make sure that the content for your site is written and ready to be ported to the new site when it’s complete. While your mission is likely staying the same, switching to a new site is an opportunity to refine the messaging and positioning of your organization. It’s a new way for you to talk about your work. And that means evaluating all your website content and user calls-to-action. Evaluating, writing, and planning will ensure your content can be successfully and smoothly moved into the new site when it’s ready.
During discovery you will identify your audiences, some of whom might be new. Once you know who they are, we recommend a process we call ROT Analysis, where you make decisions about what pieces of your existing content are Redundant, Outdated, or Trivial. Knowing your audiences also helps you pinpoint the actions you want them to take and organize your content around these actions. This can be a hard process, but it’s important to remember that if you overload pages of your site, it can be difficult for your audiences to know what you want them to do. If everything is important, then nothing is important.
Simple content is successful content. As you write new content, you should limit the amount of text on the pages of your site. Simple navigation and direct calls-to-action should lead your visitors deeper where you can then offer more in-depth information or content. Remember that people spend only a few seconds on a homepage before they decide to either leave or go deeper. Also, many people are visiting your site on smaller mobile devices. For these reasons, simpler text that’s easy to digest and that takes up less space is key.
An organized evaluation process leads to better content. We suggest exporting a site map and appointing someone to review the content and decide what needs to be updated. Then assign who makes updates, who drafts new content, and who approves everything. This will depend on your organization’s flow and structure. Using a shared document or spreadsheet that everyone can see and edit in real time to track tasks and progress will help keep things organized. If you think it is going to take your team two months to update your content, our experience tells us it will take four.
Once your content is ready, the next step is porting it, or moving it to your new site. While porting seems like an easy task, it took takes time. This is because it’s more than just the text on a page, it also includes layout and images. The more successfully you manage the process, the easier it will be to just copy and paste everything to its new home.
It’s also important to remember that content evaluation doesn’t end once everything is live in your site. This should not be a set it and forget it project, so you should put a plan in place for how things stay up to date. Determining who owns which sections of the site for ongoing maintenance and planning quarterly reviews of site content are two strategies we suggest.
After you determine that your organization is ready for a new website, reach out to us. We can guide you through the process from discovery to launch. Your mission is the most important piece of this, and we want to work with your team to make sure you are getting your message to the right people when it matters.