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How to plan your website content

Published on 05 May 2022

Content is the heart and soul of your website and is an essential part of the web design process.

Without content, your website would be a blank page with no text, no images, and no substance. Content is what gives your visitors an opportunity to see, read, experience and get to know you or your business better. Creating content for your website is a matter of identifying its purpose and then creating content that helps you achieve that purpose.

And to do this, you need a content plan.

This article will help you to create a content plan for your website. But before we begin, let's start with what content actually is:

Content is the information you put on your website that serves both your users, and search engines.

Simple, right? Remember that information doesn’t just have to be text – images, video, documents, forms, links – these are all content that will serve your users.

What should a content plan look like? 

There are three main areas of a website content plan, all of which should come at the beginning of your website design process.

The structure

This is called a "site map" and should include all the pages you will have on your website and how they are connected to each other. You can start by drawing out a site map on paper, or using online tools such as Miro

Page content

Once you have a site map, the next step is to create a list of all the content that needs to be created for each page. Remember, this doesn’t just have be text. A good way to do this is by creating an outline like this:

Homepage

  • Introduction
  • Key services
  • Contact details
  • Enquiry form

About us

  • Company details
  • Team members
  • History
  • Links to related pages e.g., latest news, company policies

Once you’ve created outlines for all key pages, you can start to bulk them out with copy, images and so on.

Content marketing

This refers to your ongoing content, for example news stories or blogs. You might not create this at the same time as your website, but you should consider how it fits into the structure and how it might relate to your other page content. We cover it in more detail further on in this article.

Writing an article

How do I display a lot of information on a website?

Creating a structure and writing content for a small website is quite straightforward. However, if your website has a lot of content, for example you have a large information website; you also need to consider how people will discover all your content. So, as well as a site map, you should plan:

Internal link strategy

This is all about how people can navigate sideways through your website, rather than just relying on the navigation menu. For example, you may have case studies linked to relevant services, or “you may also like” links at the end of news articles.

Navigation menus

Many people think menus are a design feature, however a great menu design starts in the content plan. Revisit your site map and check if this relates to your customer journeys. If not, how can you group the content so that it does?

And think about how you can use dropdown menus, or even better, mega-menus containing several layers of navigation. B&Q and Stripe are great examples of mega-menus with grouping designed to match customer journeys. Mega-menus aren’t a magic fix though, it’s really important that you plan your structure to work with this format.

Other navigation tools

Remember that not everyone will start at the home page, for example they may come to your website from a search engine. Including tools such as breadcrumb trails and a search bar will help people find their way around without relying on the home page.

How do you create a plan for content marketing?

As well as a plan for your website pages, you should have a content plan for ongoing content such as blog posts, news articles and case studies. This type of content will help your website evolve and is great for sharing on social media and email marketing. Done properly, it’s also beneficial to your websites SEO so is well worth the investment.

A successful content marketing plan can be broken down into five steps:

Decide what type of content you want to create

News articles, industry news, case studies, videos, white papers. Any or all of these are a good start, as long as they’re relevant to your overall strategy.

Identify your target audience(s)

Who are you aiming this content at – potential customers, existing clients, industry peers? This will affect the type of content you publish, for example potential customers might be looking for useful guides to help them make a buying decision, whereas industry peers are more likely to be interested in original research and thought leadership. Of course, there is a lot of crossover, however an industry white paper might be a lot more technical compared to an information piece aimed at the public.

Decide on a posting schedule and stick to it

This is the number one sticking point for any content plan. Creating great content is time consuming, so you need to set a realistic schedule. Quality trumps quantity, but you should aim for at least one article a month.

Create an editorial calendar

This is key to staying on track. What will you publish, and when? Who needs to create the content, does anyone need to proofread it, or sign it off? For each content piece include all the milestones that need to be met to stick to your posting schedule.

Create an internal link strategy for your content marketing

As well as sharing your content on social and email, it should be working to improve your SEO. A good content marketing plan will complement your website content with relevant internal links to key pages of your website. Using content pillars is an excellent strategy, Hubspot have a detailed article on how this works.

A final note on creating your content

Web content should be informative and engaging. It should also be easy to read and understand. When you write for the web, it's important to keep in mind that web users tend to skim web pages rather than read them word for word.

This means that you should use headings and bullet points to break up blocks of text in order to make it easier for users to scan through the page quickly and identify the information they are looking for.

Think about the types of content that will support your website the best. A mix of media including images and videos will help keep things interesting and get your message across more effectively. Consider how long you want each piece to be, or if you plan to do a mix of in-depth blog posts and shorter news updates. 

Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to rush through your content plan.

A solid plan is the difference between an ok website and a great website, getting it right will improve your SEO and your conversions in the long run.

Lastly, producing content for a website can be a mammoth task, and if writing isn’t your thing (or if you just don’t have the time), then hiring a great copywriter or digital marketing agency is a great investment.