When does content happen in a web project? The simple answer is: All the time.
Content creation is the thing we and most design firms who dont have a writer on staff struggle with most often. Its the piece of the process that completely destroys a timeline and creeps the scope. It’s the thing we typically have the least control over, too. And it’s so important, not only for search reasons but also to extend a brand online.
Here are a few things weve learned about weaving content development into a web build:
1. Hire a writer
Not everyone can write. Content is probably the most important piece of a website, so if you cant write, dont. Its worth the time and quality to hire a professional.
Good web writing walks a fine line between elegance and SEO happiness. Its also really hard to write about what you do. When you think about your brand, writing is a key component, which is why we always advise on copy tone and voice. If theres a disconnect between what you say and how you are perceived by readers, weve got big problems.
2. Use a piece of software
We use GatherContent to collect and organize copy. Its better than Word Docs and better than letting clients edit directly into the CMS on the first pass.
GatherContent is great because we can assign statuses, set page and field types, include meta all of the things that will go into the actual build. Plus, pages can be set to Draft, Pending, Approved or really anything we want so we know at a glance how much more we have to work on the content.
3. Start writing at the beginning of a project
We start our copy collection, writing and editing process at the very beginning of a project. It runs concurrently with prototype building and SEO research.
Why? Because its all part of the same thing. Its tough to build or design a page in a site when we have no idea what is supposed to go on the page. Also, thinking about content early saves us loads of time to have content in the beginning so that were not making major changes during the development process.