Moving to your new small business website, content

movingIn my last post, we explored the start of a web redesign project.  As I mentioned, will soon be moving to a new home.  This buzz of activity inspired me to write a four part blog series about moving to a new small business website from the client perspective. In today’s post, we will discuss how to manage your content needs for your new website.
I find with many small business that the end of development can come as a surprise.  Guess what? The website is built! All we need now is your content. Uh oh.  That reaction can be avoided by carefully accessing your content needs and getting your plan together.

Planning the new site

When we think about planning our new website, the fun parts of the project leap immediately to mind… visual elements, new technology, etc.  We don’t necessarily think about the details of content. Yet that is a crucial part of the project. With my clients, I create a spreadsheet that details every element of text (whether it is a snippet of text on the homepage or a full page of text for the interior.) The spreadsheet details where on the site it the text belongs, how much text should be there and, if applicable, where they can see an example of similar text.

Cataloguing the existing site

If you have a website already you have content in place that you can draw upon to populate the new site. It is crucial though to not to move one word of content over from the old site to the new site without reviewing it first.  Instead, you will want to reread the content and freshen it up. Once you have a grip on what usable content you have from your old website, you can update your content spreadsheet to reflect what you have already that can be used with minor editing, what needs heavy editing and what needs to be created fresh.

Assigning responsibility

Finally, you need to figure out who will be doing all this writing. But, it isn’t as simple as that! You need to assign your initial writer and at least one additional proof reader (I prefer two). There is nothing more dispiriting than excitedly announcing your spanking new website to your audience and have them come back to tell you all about the typos they found! Quick self promotion, if you are going through this process, let’s discuss.

Next week, those frightful days just before launch.

Image above used via the Creative Commons license is by Flickr user TheMuuj