Why Your Website Project Needs a Content Strategy

Mac laptop, notebook with pen, and a cup of coffee on a wooden table.

Content is often seen as an optional, non-critical piece of digital projects. Some teams think content can and should be implemented after a website is built and launched.

The reality is this: You can waste more time and money forgoing this step than you would if you included content planning in the original scope of work.

Think about it: What if you want to use your brand new templates in a different way for your content? You’d be forced to make back-end changes before making any substantial updates.

48% of people cited that the number one factor in determining the credibility of a business is the design of its website. Therefore, it is extremely important to have a site that both functions properly and addresses the user well.

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Here’s why you should always have time allotted for a content strategy for website projects.

What is a content strategy?

A content strategy is the planning of content creation, delivery, and optimization in order to achieve a better user experience and achieve business goals. “Content” can take the form of written or streaming pieces, from blog posts and emails to videos and webinars.

A content strategy is critical for any aspect of a project  if you want to work towards your business’ goals while meeting customer expectations over the long term.

Why is a content strategy important for web projects?

If any of these issues sound familiar, you were most likely missing a content strategy:

  • Late content or constant copy edits are delaying a website launch
  • Designers are creating templates using Lorem Ipsum copy
  • Your unsustainable website needs a redesign every few years
  • Placeholder copy or blank sections keep your website from launching or (after launch) ranking in SERPs

Building a website isn’t just about “look and feel” anymore.

Strategic planning of content—headers, body copy, metadata, keywords, and so on—is a critical step. It accounts for your company’s major areas of focus so you can get more life out of your newest website investment and prevents a redesign or overhaul in the next few years.

Take it from Mindgrub’s Branding and Web Design Director, Rob Rhinehart: “Design without content is not design. It’s decoration.” His words are adapted from a famous quote by designer Jeffrey Zeldman.

QuoteJeffreyZeldman-WebContentStrategy-BlogFrom Quotes on Design.

How do you implement a content strategy?

The most important first step is to collaborate with your production team. This includes UX, design, development, digital/content strategy, and project management to ensure all the moving parts are in place.

Our Senior Vice President of Marketing, Steven Promisloff, has this to add: “Today, content drives success - period. Projecting a brand’s heart and soul has to be the primary goal of every team member on a project. Each department must run together on one track. It’s not easy, but it is mandatory.”

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It’s also important to identify who will be responsible for producing content over the long run. Chances are, the company for which the website is being built will handle future content needs.

This means the site should be created with a content management system (CMS), like WordPress or Drupal, for easy publishing, editing, and optimizing. Building with future updates in mind makes the website more sustainable and adaptable to changing business needs.

With the logistics in place, you can now focus your efforts on research and discovery. A successful website is built understanding the company’s goals, target audience, competitors, and pain points.

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Here are some great discovery exercises to consider:

  • Interview stakeholders to gain a 360-degree view of the company.
  • Explore Google Analytics to identify what’s already working on the existing website and what’s not.
  • Conduct a competitive analysis to determine what competitors are doing so you can differentiate yourself.

  • Develop a Strategic Brief with brand positioning and communication objectives to guide the entire project and ensure the team is on the same page.

Once you have this comprehensive and vital information, building a framework for the website should be efficient and effective. You can then begin to craft the brand story and user experience.

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A website content strategy shouldn’t be optional

More often than not, clients underestimate the need for a content strategy, especially for website builds. Ignoring this need can increase the risk of missed deadlines, increased project spend and ongoing design changes.

Ben Slavin, Mindgrub’s Vice President of Production, couldn’t agree more, stating, “Defining a content strategy, and doing so early, ensures that every decision is in harmony with your larger business objectives. Without that alignment you're not maximizing the value of your investment in a project.”

A content strategy component to your website build may cost more initially, but will reap larger rewards when your site is ready to launch. With your strategy in place, you are more likely to avoid project delays and have a site built for real content for years to come.

If you’re gearing up for a website project, let’s get in touch to talk about your content strategy game plan. We want to see your site launch on time and on budget.