Content. My client’s text content is always a big concern of mine especially since most of my clients, at this time, cannot afford to hire a marketing content writer. Thus, they are either ill-prepared with content or they have too much content. Thus, my role as their web designer/developer is to help them prepare content that is effective online. Okay, well maybe it isn’t my role, but I’ve taken it on because my client’s success is my success to some degree.

When a potential client comes to me asking for a site, yet they have little to no text content and barely a plan for the site, giving them the Client Survey often sends them back to the drawing board. It is not my goal to weed them out; however, I see little benefit in taking their money when they are so ill-prepared. At least in this way, they now have an opportunity to check their goals for the site and hopefully prepare effective online content.

The other client with tons of information is great; however, the content is not ready for online consumption. This client would benefit greatly from a content delivery plan.

Recently, I was intrigued by this article: Planning for Content Delivery, Consumption and Context written by Rick Allen. There were five questions in the article that caught my attention:

  • How are people consuming our content?
  • What content of ours are people consuming?
  • Where and when are people consuming our content?
  • Why are people consuming our content?
  • Who are the  people consuming your content?

I know that my clients with volumes of content are not asking these questions making it a great place to begin.

Also, there was one quote in Rick Allen’s article that stood out to me: “If you don’t establish your users’ intent for consuming content, then you won’t be able to effectively meet their needs.”

This was precisely the problem my clients with lots of textual content were experiencing. For example, I have a client who publishes volumes of content. Yet in looking at the analytics for the site, the users who come to the site aren’t spending much time on the site. User feedback indicates that people are happy with the site, but internally there are concerns that the reason people are leaving so quickly has to do with the fact that the text content is too daunting. The perception is that the content is over the users head and it takes too long to get to the point.

As a result, I made two suggestions to this client. First, we need to add a feedback form to the site. This form will specifically ask for user feedback on the client’s feature stories. Secondly, I suggested the client take a serious look at writing their content for their audience and editing the content for consumption on the web. This is where the Yahoo Style Guide came in handy.

What I like about the Yahoo Style Guide is that the articles are scannable and a quick easy read. Also, there are a plethora or articles on writing for the web that I hope will capture my clients attention and help them write consumable online content.

Recently, one of the articles I’ve begun share with clients with either too little content or too much content is from the Yahoo Style Guide: Writing for the web: Get to the point. I think the strategy is brilliant:

  • Keep it short
  • Front load your content and
  • Keep it simple

In the end, my client’s success online is my success. In my opinion great content determines the success of a site. So, this is my strategy with text content. I am sure I will tweak it over time, but I think it is a good start.

If you would like to read these great articles in their entirety, please visit the links below.

Planning for Content Delivery, Consumption and Context by Rick Allen

Writing for the Web: Get to the Point from the Yahoo Style Guide

Creating Effective User Personas by Nick DeNardis