The most important aspect of any website support request (which is commonly forgotten amid the look and functionality desired) is the one thing that website visitors will pay the most attention to: Your content. That’s why we recommend content-first web design.
Content-first web design
Our Client Success team provides a wide range of support, depending on our clients’ specific internal bandwidth and needs; from basic content entry via the WordPress backend to complex design and development projects such as intranet and client portals. Whether we’re asked to design and develop a new landing page, add accordions to product pages or even spotlight resources on a home page, at times the toughest part of a request’s discovery process is getting at least an idea of what the copy that will be displayed will be, especially when it hasn’t yet been finalized.
When developing databases for websites and applications, programmers have to plan on both the type of data (text input, date, integer, floating number, etc.) as well as the potential length of the information that will be stored and presented within corresponding fields (short vs. long/multi-line text). The same planning should always apply before the design phase of any request. What is the maximum length of a header that will be displayed? How much of a blog post’s detail should be included in the snippet included on the main blog listing page where a user can decide to “read more”? This approach and line of questioning is often referred to as content-first web design.
You can ask a website team to bring your ideas to life on great-looking pages, but are you prepared to provide sample content that will help designers create page layouts and mockups for your approval before developers get in there and start programming?
Content is also the key ingredient in allowing your website to show up in search results. It may include keywords, internal links and call to actions which search engines use to determine the relevancy of your web pages so that they are presented in search results, leading to organic traffic to your site. Content also allows your site visitors the flexibility to search for resources within your site (if, in fact, your site has built-in search functionality).
Another common issue we are presented with when clients update copy themselves are unwanted HTML tags and other nonsensical verbiage within the published content. 99% of the time this is due to copying and pasting directly from a Word document. The best advice we can give clients when we see this is to first copy and paste into a plain text editor such as Notepad (for Windows users) or TextEdit (for Mac-heads) and then copying and pasting into the WordPress backend. Simple solution, but a pain to remember. But that’s what we’re here for.