Content is often the trickiest part of putting a website together. Web designers are usually left waiting for clients to provide it. A lack of content halts progress.
I’ve wondered why this is such a challenge. But after seeing it time and again, a few things have become clear.
Clients are generally not content creators. Most aren’t prolific writers. They may have talking points in mind. But they might struggle to articulate them. Time is also an obstacle. People are busy with other tasks. Thus, focusing on content strategy takes a back seat.
This presents an opportunity for web designers. We can get the process moving in the right direction. With a little nudge, that is. Here are a few ways you can help clients develop a website content strategy.
Focus on Key Talking Points
If you’re redesigning an existing website, some of the hard work may be done for you. The existing content can help you understand what’s important to your client.
Even messy content can be useful. Identify the key points and discuss them with your client. Present them as a means to achieve their project goals.
Each organization has a unique message. An eCommerce shop, for example, may want to talk about their attention to detail when it comes to customer service. A medical practice will want to concentrate on their expertise. This type of information can prove vital in content creation.
The goal is to help your client narrow their focus. Having a better understanding of the task can boost their confidence. They’ll be better positioned to produce quality content.
Provide Visual Guidance
Visualization can also help clients develop a successful content strategy. We do this by providing templates or prototypes that outline the various sections of a page.
Clients can use it as a point of reference. They’ll grasp how to create content that is concise and easy to digest. It removes the guesswork from the process.
Web designers have often used “Ipsum” text for this purpose. However, the advent of AI tools may change this practice. AI would provide better context. Clients could then edit the generated content to suit their needs.
Not everyone will follow your guidelines. But that’s not the point. It’s more about getting them to think. That will get the wheels of progress turning.
This also trains clients to take a more consistent approach. Writing style and formatting would stay the same throughout the site.
Visual guidance allows clients to fill in the blanks. It’s more efficient and less stressful.
Encourage Organization and Ease-of-Use
Organizing content is a challenge. Without care, things can get out of hand. And the problem can become extreme.
Some clients insist on cramming a massive amount of information onto a single page. Others might be the opposite. They’ll create secondary pages that contain no more than a sentence or two. Neither of these strategies is likely to be a hit with users.
Thankfully, a little education can go a long way. When discussing content organization, focus on these fundamental questions:
- How easy is it for users to navigate?
- Is the content relevant to users?
- Should long pages be split up?
- Are we missing any key information?
- What’s best for SEO?
- Is it accessible?
It’s an opportunity to steer clients towards a user-first approach. The answers should lead everyone in the right direction.
Write It Yourself
Certain clients may never become comfortable with writing and organizing content. Or they may never get around to doing the work. This doesn’t have to be bad news, though.
You could offer to write the content for them. You’ll take some pressure off your clients – not to mention make some extra money. It could be a win-win situation.
Some clients will be happy to pay for this service. They can act in an editorial role. They’ll review your work and collaborate to make improvements.
But it takes research to get things right. Discuss the most important messaging points with your client. This will ensure a smoother process and better results.
It may not be the right path for everyone. But there is potential here for writers.
A Proactive Approach to Content Strategy
Being proactive with content is often key to a successful project. Clients are most likely looking to you for guidance. Therefore, your expertise may be just what they need to move forward with confidence.
And, just maybe, it means you won’t have to wait around nearly as long for content to arrive. You can then focus on readying the website for launch.
Website content doesn’t have to be so difficult. The right approach can make a world of difference.