An outdated website can be a thorn in your brand’s side. They can be hard to navigate, riddled with old information and imagery, and frustrating to users both within your organization and your external audience. When your website doesn’t match your brand’s evolution, you know it’s time to call in the design team.
However, a design-led approach often leaves web content development to the end of the redesign process. You might find yourself trying to shoehorn your brand’s content into a design during the final stages of your build rather than developing content that truly meets your users’ needs and serves your marketing goals.
Thinking about content earlier in the process can:
- Create a better user experience by contributing the right information and words to your site’s structure and design.
- Deepen the quality of your content by taking advantage of your content partner’s niche expertise.
- Save you time and budget by reducing revisions, rework and stress throughout the process.
User experience: Only as good as your word
Words have power. Design, including the form and function of your website, is undeniably important. But content is why people visit your site, and your audience uses words to find your site.
In some ways, the words you choose now have more power than ever. As many healthcare sites pare back their number of pages and words on each page, elements must be chosen carefully. Every header, short paragraph, bullet point and call to action is a chance to work your content strategy.
Clever website content
Choosing the right words requires thinking about your users’ needs, search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing goals. If you don’t consider these factors early in your process, it can be harder to “fix” in later design stages.
For example, having an SEO strategy mapped out from the beginning will dictate some of the words and phrases you’ll need to include. It will also help to create your site’s structure. If you can identify all of your web content development elements upfront, you’ll have more room to play in the creative process.
You can then become a storyteller and connect with consumers on a deeper level as you share what truly sets you apart.
Getting everyone to the table
Each project is unique, and there’s no perfect web content creation formula that will work for every site build. But it’s always worth getting all partners involved early in the process, including team members from design, UX, SEO and content.
Not everyone needs to attend every meeting. However, kicking off consultative relationships will lead to better communication and a site that delivers more than just the sum of its parts.
Discussing web content strategy in concert with design can feel unfamiliar at first, especially for teams used to responding first to visual mockups. But you don’t want to spend too much time building an aesthetically pleasing mockup, only to have to rework it later to fit your content.
The right content partner will help you iron out issues before design and find opportunities to add value. Instead of placeholder copy, giving designers real content can inspire their design and ensure the result is visually appealing. That’s when the magic can happen.
Setting yourself up for the future
It’s not unusual for healthcare organizations to find themselves trying to turn around hundreds of pages of content in the last few months of a 12-to-15-month website build. When content is the last step in the process, this scramble usually leads to design revisions.
A smoother build
Stress as you build your site is avoidable. Pulling your website content development forward helps make sure you don’t burn your timeline, run out of budget or become overwhelmed by content needs at the tail end of your project.
A stronger foundation
Thinking about your content earlier creates a strong foundation for site governance. Establishing web standards and editorial guidelines protects your site and brand going forward. And structurally, a strong content foundation can allow more flexibility to update or adapt your site to changing web trends.
It’s never too early to start the content conversation. Collaborating more in the initial phases of design leads to more manageable and compelling websites. If you can, take the time upfront to find your words — and use them well.
Find a reliable content partner who can work with you from the beginning. WriterGirl’s team of healthcare content experts can help you develop website content that resonates with consumers. Drop us a line to learn how we can help you reach your digital marketing goals.