Content collection is the most important part of designing a website and other expanded projects. It can have the highest potential for difficulties and in my experience is the single greatest delay in creating a standard business website.
Since your website needs to be a complete representation of your business, your message and your brand; it is very important to be incredibly thorough in gathering content for your website. Most projects will do well with just covering the basics, yet others will need to dig deeper to find content to best portray the company and provide adequate information to your user base. It is important to find a proper informational balance (too much vs. not enough) to assure that users will find what they are looking for in just a few seconds without being overwhelmed. Do not hesitate to hire a website copy writer if you are having a hard time, as they can do wonders with your content.
20 ideas to help you gather content for your site
- Identify your primary goal of the site. Go beyond mere promotion, what must your site actually do to serve your customers?
- Identify Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. The answers to these questions will lead you to the most relevant content of your site, the things that must be highlighted. For a lot of sites, this information and a few photographs are all that is needed.
- Describe in a few paragraphs your companies ‘story’. Recall its inception, evolution, where you are today and most especially why that helps you succeed.
- Find unique identifiers about your company. Expand into what sets you apart. Sometimes this concept can spearhead an advertising campaign.
- Gather a list of testimonials from current or previous customers.
- Gather employee bios and photographs to put a personal face to what your company is about.
- Gather your most recent printed marketing materials such as brochures or posters.
- Tie in your most recent advertising campaigns, include relevant content or consider expanding the campaign to the web.
- Gather all press releases, photos of appearances, awards, publications, videos or any other material you or another media outlet has published about you or your business.
- Collect information about any possible charity work.
- Include general information about your industry. Consider writing industry specific articles or articles explaining your industry to your customers.
- Include any possible information on how your business has ‘gone green’.
- Establish a Facebook account which is maintained frequently. It will help you grow your user base by being more visible to new people and reconnecting with existing customers. The potential for free or inexpensive advertising here is almost immeasurable. It also provides many widgets to help you connect with your customers directly from your website. If you have subscription services, you can allow them to sign into your site with their Facebook account which greatly increases the chance of repeat visitors. You don’t need to spend more than an hour a day on this.
- If you have older articles, newsletters or photographs with relevant data, consider creating an archive or database to make that information publicly available.
- Products – if you have products you choose to include on your site (even if you do not plan to sell them online) – each item should include as much information as necessary to sell it. Exactly what is appropriate may vary from business to business. Clear, vibrant and bright photographs always help greatly. Never rely on a camera phone and it is better to have no pictures than poor quality ones. Seriously.
- Try to establish if a serialized posting of information would benefit your company, then establish a blog to publish the information. It can vary from industry to industry and requires advanced research. This helps your SEO as well as provides for ‘free’ advertising for your company. Each new article added gives your site more clout in search engine rankings, and over time – with a little effort you can dominate certain keywords in Google and other search engines.
- If you sell items from manufacturers or suppliers contact them to see if they have any ‘vendor packets’ or offer free digital information to post on your sites. Many manufacturers have extensive information available if you do a little digging.
- Gather external links that promote your industry or company, such as fan sites of a concept your business employs or fan sites of similar ideals that are relevant to your business. Especially include any scientific data that proves why your product, idea or brand may be superior to the alternative.
- Any documents people might need to be able to download, like paper forms or user manuals.
- Find relevant external widgets you may use to be able to provide dynamic up-to-date information, such as a news or weather widget. More and more widgets are released every day from many companies, and can help attract and keep users ‘on site’ longer.
So this is my list, do you have any other ideas I haven’t covered?