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In the world of website content, planning is everything.
Whether you’re launching a new website or revamping an existing one, yours is one of almost two billion sites that currently exist. It takes a lot of preparation and knowhow to make yours stand out.
Content is the foundation of your website. It’s what draws people in and what keeps them around long enough to convert into customers. You might have fantastic products and services, but without quality, well-planned website content, you’ll see poor traffic and high bounce rates from day one.
Set your business up for success by following this 10-step process for a well-developed website content plan.
The different types of website content
Many people assume creating website content is just a matter of writing some nice words and adding a few pretty images. The reality is more complex. Your content is anything you present on your website that seeks to engage with potential and returning customers. This includes:
Engaging with people through the written word is usually the main focus of your website content plan. But even the written word can take many forms, such as:
- Product descriptions
- Blog posts
- Tutorials and how-to guides
- White papers
- Case studies
What all of these content types have in common is that they should be well written, follow the language of your primary market (UK English v US English for example), and be substantive enough to give real value to your prospective customers.
Did you know?
Including video content on your landing page can boost your conversion rate by up to 80%.
Multimedia content is as important as your written content. People want to see a good representation of what they might be buying, but visual content goes way beyond simple images and videos of your products.
Multimedia content serves a variety of purposes and comes in many different forms, including:
- Product/service images
- Product Videos and other video marketing assets
- Memes and GIFs
Why your content is important
One main reason content is crucial to your website is that it can help establish a good ranking on search engine results pages, or SERPs. If you produce relevant and quality content, search engines will recognize this and rank your website accordingly. The higher you rank, the more people will see — and visit — your site.
But SEO isn’t the only reason your website content is important.
Once you draw potential customers to your site, quality content can help you stand out from competitors. It makes your message clearer and more effective, increases brand awareness and trust levels, and leads to higher engagement and more time spent on your site (which in turn leads to better conversion rates).
10 steps to developing the ideal website content plan
Now that you understand the basics, it’s time to dive into your website content plan. As you design your plan, follow these ten steps.
1. Articulate your value proposition
Keep in mind that a potential customer may be looking at several websites as they search for a particular product or service. The sites that will stand out during their search are the ones that have real personality and that show them why the company is a better choice than its competitors.
To achieve that, you need to clearly articulate both the unique selling proposition (USP) and the value proposition of your products and services. And you need to do it quickly. Your value proposition should be front and center on your homepage as well as any targeted landing pages.
Your unique selling proposition explains to potential customers what sets your product or service apart from competitors (i.e., how it solves customer’s problems in a way the competitors do not).
Your value proposition takes things a step further to articulate why people should care. What value does your product bring to customer’s lives and what positive outcomes should they expect to see?
This is the first step in your plan because it will define the direction the rest of your website content plan will take. What you offer as a brand is the foundation of all future content creation. It is the primary message you want to convey.
2. Audit your existing content
If you have an existing website and are looking to revamp or refresh it, one of the first things you should do is audit the content you already have. This lets you see what’s currently working for you and what may need replacing.
You want to look at every aspect of your current site. Some of the tasks you can include:
- Using a specialist audit tool like SEMrush Site Audit or Google Search Console.
- Ensuring you use relevant keywords that improve your SEO.
- Identifying any technical issues such as broken links or images.
- Optimizing your site for all operating systems and all mobile devices.
- Identifying and removing filler content that serves little or no purpose.
- Ensuring that all your content is original, relevant, and up-to-date.
- Using A/B testing to improve conversions and the effectiveness of your content.
3. Create buyer personas
Segmenting your audience and creating appropriate buyer personas is another crucial step in your website content plan. If you want your content to be relevant and speak directly to customer’s pain points, you first have to understand exactly who those customers are.
The first thing to consider is what your products do and who are the most likely buyers. It’s unlikely you’ll have a single buyer persona unless you’re in a very niche market. Your buyer personas will dictate the type of content you develop as well as how you deliver it.
When building personas, these are some of the factors you should consider:
- Sector the person works in
- Job title/seniority
- Basic demographics (age, gender, education level, etc.)
- Platforms and networks they likely use and where they go for info
- The problems they face and the solutions they want
- Preferred methods of interaction (in person, phone call, video call, etc.)
4. Segment your content
After you create buyer personas, the next step involves segmenting your content. Each buyer persona will have different pain points and respond best to different types of content. Likewise, where a potential customer falls in your sales funnel also influences the type of content they’ll respond to.
The more you can personalize your content toward each segment, the more effective that content will be in ultimately converting website visitors into buyers.
Competitor research and A/B testing are both huge benefits here. What types of content do your competitors prioritize and focus on? Of your existing content, what do specific segments respond to the most? All of this information greatly informs your content plan going forward.
5. Follow the sales funnel
The primary purpose of your website content, once it has helped bring a customer to your site, is to guide them through the sales funnel. While stages of that lifecycle may differ between industries, most of the following points are common ones:
This is the stage where a customer will find you via a search engine. It relies heavily on quality content that influences your SEO.
Now that you have the customer’s attention, you want to increase and maintain their interest. At this point, they want to learn more about you, including comparing your products to your competitors, reading reviews, and finding out more about your company.
You’ve piqued their interest. Now you want to see them seriously considering making a purchase. Where your content can help in this stage is through more details on your products (such as case studies or white papers), more reviews, videos of the product in action, and other content that highlights why they should choose you.
This is the payoff you’ve been aiming for: a purchase. The content at this stage should be designed to encourage that decision. You can include CTAs, offers of free trials or demos, tutorials or how-to guides, special offers, and highlighting your customer support.
It’s nice to see a customer make a purchase, but it’s even nicer when they return again and again to make further purchases. You can encourage retention through content like monthly newsletters, email announcements, and other targeted content.
6. Pick your perfect team
When you have at least a rough idea what content to focus on, you need to decide who will create it. Unless you’re a very small business, this won’t be a one-person job. You also need to decide whether it will be all in-house, all outsourced, or a hybrid of the two.
For example, you might choose to keep product descriptions in-house, SEO work done by a specialist agency, and blogs done by both internal and external writers.
There are two primary factors you should consider when choosing content writers. First, that they can write well and second, that they have knowledge relevant to your products or target audience.
7. Create a content schedule
It’s important to have a content schedule that’s both doable and that meets the needs and expectations of your customers. This should cover all platforms you use, not just your website. It should also take into account any cross-publishing, such as posting your website blog on your social media platforms or using YouTube for marketing.
Your content schedule should carefully consider what you’re publishing and who your customers are. People are unlikely to want to read a new blog post every day, but there’s no hard and fast rule to this and you should again look at what your competitors do.
Some research suggests 2-4 times per week for blogs produce optimum results, but you need to make your own choice.
Specialist websites may publish content such as blogs less often than a general ecommerce site offering thousands of products. For example, if your site offers crowdtesting services, then you may only publish a blog related to your services, such as smoke tests, once or twice per week.
It should also be noted that you should stick to a schedule so customers know when to expect things. If you start publishing blogs on a Monday and Wednesday, then those are the days you should always publish as you move forward.
8. Monitor, analyze, and tweak
Always remember that your website content plan is not static. It should be fluid and subject to change. What this means in reality is that you should constantly track how the content performs and analyze key metrics (such as CTR or bounce rates).
Where content is performing poorly, be prepared to refresh or replace it.
Relevance is also important. That blog piece you published two years ago on building a successful automated functional testing strategy may now have some outdated data or some of the tech mentioned may have been replaced by new upgrades or releases.
Revisit older content on a regular basis to see if there is anything that should be updated.
Tracking and monitoring your content is easy with tools like Google Analytics. Some of the most important aspects of your content you should track and monitor include:
- Time spent on specific pages of your site
- What content is being shared the most, especially on social platforms
- What content is most driving conversions
- What pages are getting the highest numbers from organic searches
- SERPs for your website as a whole and for landing pages
9. Think about what you say
It’s important to think about who you’re speaking to and how you say it. Avoid overly technical language and related jargon unless you know your audience will understand it.
For example, blogs on the best vacuum cleaner on the market are going to contain less technical language than a piece titled “what is automated testing?”.
In most cases, use simpler language and terms that will appeal to more people. However, avoid simplifying things in a way that could be construed as patronizing. Instead, show your expertise and knowledge of your particular sector.
It’s also better to use a conversational tone rather than being too formal. When you write, imagine actually sitting and talking to the reader.
10. Create content that informs and educates
You should focus on quality over quantity. It’s better to have 500 words that give clear information than 3,000 words that lose the reader’s interest and don’t inform them of much.
That being said, quantity and quality sometimes go hand in hand. If you’re writing a technical piece on “what is CI?”, you won’t be unable to fully inform people about the subject with a shorter piece.
Think carefully about what it is you want to convey with your content. A product description needs to contain the essential info and can be done in 300 words or less. A detailed blog post is going to contain far more information, so it can range from 1,500 and higher.
Content is the heart of customer engagement
Your content lies at the heart of how customers engage with you (and how they find you in the first place). A website content plan is not something that should just be thrown together; it should come from a solid strategy that takes into account all the factors involved in your business.
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Use a customizable video template or start from scratch. It’s easy with Biteable’s user-friendly platform, plus 1.8 million studio-quality images, video clips, and unique animations. You’ll make your first video before you can even say “segment my content”.
About the author
Matthew Cooper is the Marketing Automation & Operations Manager at Global App Testing, a best-in-class software testing company that has helped top apps such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Craigslist deliver high-quality software at speed all over the world.