Preparing Website Text Content

It's all about Content NetSense Media Blog

Content is king, so they say in the web development world, and for good reason. We define content as any information that is displayed on your website. Without content, your visitors have nothing to read, they have nothing that will help them learn about your message, company or vision. And chances are, if they cannot easily find that information, they won't be coming back.

While the term content can apply to media, such as images, videos, music ECT. We'll discuss the importance of having written text content on your website in this post.

Be Prepared

If you come to a website developer without your content ready, chances are it will cost you more money in the long run. Putting a website together quickly all depends on the readiness of your content. If you only have ideas or you're planning on using your developer to write the majority of the content for you, it will cost more money. Take the time to write out everything you wish to include on your site and the process will go faster and cost less.

You know best

No matter who you hire to put a website together for you, they are not going to know what information you wish to convey. No one knows about you or the services your company offers better than you, and there is an unfortunate shortage of psychic web development tools these days. You'll need to communicate your message to your web designer.

You will need to provide all of your information in some form in order for it to be on your website. At the least, a paragraph for each topic and a general outline of your information will be required.

Start Simple

Developing the written content before you start putting the site together is always the best approach. Write all of the content first, then build the site around that. Remembering that you'll need at least one piece of written text for each page on your site will give you an idea of how long it will take to develop the site you are envisioning.

A common mistake is to start with the idea of having multiple areas on your website, then trying to develop content for them after the site is built. The better way is to start writing the content first, then add additional pages as you develop the content. It doesn't make much sense to have an "About Us" page, if you haven't written the content for that topic. It's better to avoid having blank pages on your site if possible, it serves no purpose other than to remind you that it's not finished and possibly frustrate your visitors.

Break it up

If you need a website online immediately, taking a multi-step approach to the content development is a good way to go. Start with a basic home page containing basic info to get the site up, then add more pages in the next phase, and so on. This method along with some basic planning will allow you to have a website up and running and control the budgeting aspects until you are ready to move forward. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are most websites.

Content defines structure

Think about the vision of your website. In general, you'll have a home page, then other pages based on the content you are presenting. You may have a "Services" page that generally describes your services or an "About Us" page that tells people about you or your company. It's a fairly basic concept to understand, but it serves you well to think about the fact that every page must contain written content for it to be useful to your visitors.

Content vs. Design

A lot people who are just starting out with a website may place priority on the design - we feel this is not the correct approach. You may have the nicest looking website on the block, but without information your site will lack substance. While you do want your site to be visually appealing, the main concept of a website should focus on your content first.

Usually, the majority of people who are on the internet are searching for information. Information about companies, topics of interest, ECT. Unless the information they are searching for is "Best Website Design" and they are specifically looking for innovative designs, the actual design of your site will always take a backseat to the content you are presenting.

The best approach is to start with the content first without even thinking about the design. Designs can always be modified, but the content is always what defines the structure of the website, and having structure opens the door to more design possibilities.

More is More

Simply put, the more content you have, the more pages you can have on your site. Written content can go a long way, not only in conveying information, but in assisting in search engine results. All major search engines search primarily for text within web pages. They may first index the meta tags, but then they will search for those tags in the content of your pages - the more matches there are, the higher up your page goes on the list. The more pages you have, the more text there is and the more likely a search term will come up in the results, plain and simple.

Text Means Text

Another common mistake is to use images of text in order to achieve a certain look, to use a specific font or for other design related reasons. It may be acceptable in certain cases, but in general this is a bad idea. The most simple reason is that search engines cannot read this text - all it sees is an image file. Also, users will not be able to copy or print this text easily, or even read it at all if they are using a mobile device that does not display images. It also increases the load time and bandwidth usage for your site. If it is information you wish to be fully accessible, you need to type it.

Example: you may have a flyer for an event on your website, it is an image file like a JPG or GIF. The flyer has text on it - dates, name of event ECT. This is not text - it is a graphic. The text within the graphic is not readable by search engines since it only exists on the image file itself. The solution would be to post the image of the flyer, then also type in the text nearby - this covers your graphic needs and informational needs.

Example 2: You have written all or some of the content for your website in Photoshop or another graphics program and saved it as an image file, or maybe scanned a document and posted the image files of this text on a website. Never do this, it increases page load times and bandwidth exponentially and it limits your visitors options while decreasing your SEO potential. Always type the text out in a word processor before placing it on a website or giving it to your web designer.

One more reason worth mentioning is accessibility. If a visually impaired person is visiting your site, they are depending on a text translator to convey this information. No written text means no translations.

Bottom Line

Hopefully this information will help you along in your quest to get your website online, just remember that there is no substitute for writing content. Depending on the complexity of your site, you may have some work to do. If writing content isn't your thing, you can always use our content development services. It costs less for you to do it yourself and it pays to do it the right way.

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