The goal of content strategy is to figure out what you want to say in the simplest possible way. Don’t overcomplicate the process – your main goal for the site should be obvious and easy to understand. The top-level questions you should ask yourself before beginning any page are:
- What is the purpose and goal of this site or page?
- Whom do you want to visit it?
- What should they do or know before leaving?
Once you have basic answers for these three questions you can begin delving deeper into them to structure your content. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience, so at this point you should be liberal with removing content that is overly complex or not related to the top-level questions.
You should ask yourself these questions for every new page on your site. Some pages will be self-explanatory and will not require as much deep work, like a “Contact Us” page, while others may require more in-depth discussion.
One practical way of organizing content is a Word document with an outline structure for your site map. Don’t start writing anything until you have the structure of the site completely worked out.
Here, we’ve listed some questions you should ask yourself while planning for a website or page.
What is the purpose and goal for the site?
Some combinations of the examples below are fine, but you should not be trying to do all of these at once on every page.
- Provide your unique information for this page
- Display media (video/photos)
- Share news
- Give contact or directional information
- Encourage visitors to take action (register for something, request information, etc.)
Who is your audience?
Who should visit your site? Students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, external media, peer institutions – all count. However, all of these audiences have different needs. A site or page cannot be all things to all people.
It may be helpful to know that the primary audience for the latech.edu website is composed of prospective students, not faculty, staff, or current students.
Is your intended audience your current audience? If not, how do you plan to reach your intended audience? We can work with you to help determine characteristics of those who visit your portion of the website.
Does the point of your page match your intended audience? If not, we can help you re-evaluate your content or purpose for your page. Not every program at Louisiana Tech University needs a webpage or site.
What should visitors do before leaving the page or site?
This will be different for every page. Some pages (purely informational, for example) may not have a task associated with them. But if you want your interaction with your visitor to continue, there may be additional steps:
- Find related information
- Subscribe or sign up
- Share content on social media
- Click additional links that send them elsewhere
- Donate money or volunteer time
Does this information need to be on your website?
Does this information exist elsewhere? If so, link to it. Avoid duplicating information; this way, you’ll always have the most up-to-date information possible. This also keeps the responsibility for the accuracy of the information with the content owner (e.g., deadlines for applications, faculty profile information, list of nearby hotels, etc.).
Should this information be public? Don’t use your website as your departmental file repository. If you need to share documents, explore using a shared drive or cloud services like Google Docs.
Do you have a lot of PDFs or Word docs? Consider making those regular webpages, so that search engines can find them.
These goals should be easily manageable and sustainable for your office. This can be accomplished by focusing on a specific and clear goal that is measurable.
Once you have your basic site map and strategy set, you can start thinking about the details. This includes layout, colors, graphics and the actual written content of the site. We can assist with or consult on many of these elements.
Please refer to the Louisiana Tech University Editorial Style Guide for information on content and style. It is updated regularly.
Promoting your site
Congratulations, you have a perfectly curated, easy to understand and navigate website. Now what? Tell the world, or at least your intended audience. This can be done through a myriad of channels; you must decide internally which ones are right for you. Options include:
- social media
- directed email
- cross-promotion on other sites