Content clearly is the foundation of a great website. However, content population is a process many don’t quite understand.
Without knowing the details, content population might seem like simply copying and pasting content into your CMS, hitting the publish button and calling it a job well done. But content population is a term that encompasses a critical, multi-step phase in website design and content development.
Here are some steps to consider when you’re ready to begin the process of website content population.
Step #1: Audit Your Website Copy Docs for Directional Notes
Content development is a long, detailed process that you may have decided to work on with your internal team, or an external writer or agency. Whether you’re planning to use a CMS theme or a custom design for your website, you’ve probably thought about the different pages in your sitemap and the types of content you want to display. But have you indicated where each of your copy sections will start and when a new one will begin in your copy? Are there notes in the margins of your copy docs indicating where an image should be present and where additional graphical elements may be needed? Have you outlined or used a template that makes it easy to identify which types of headers and styles you’ll use? If you’re content development doesn’t include this type of directional notes, you may experience difficulties with your content population.
We recommend using a content development template that provides a visual overview of a site’s content and ensures the right content is delivered in the right way.
Step #2: Gather the Assets to Include in Content Population
Content population is not just copy. It’s also images, meta content, graphics, the details on forms for users to fill out, event calendars, product descriptions, menu layouts or a blog entry. Website design itself is interlocked with content. It should display content in a way that gets the reaction you are seeking from your users. Content population also can refer to content from many different sources. For example, if you’re moving content from an old site to your new one or “repurposing” content from other sources, you’ll need to start organizing and locating those assets.
Keep in mind also that any page of your website could become the “entrance page” for a user. A cohesive design and a consistent tone with your content is critical. To make an extreme example, you don’t want beautiful images and a warm, conversational tone in your copy on one page and then stark, black and white images with a blunt, sarcastic tone in the copy on others.
Step #3: Understand How Content Population Works in Your CMS
Picking a content management system is among the first, most important steps in website development and there are many important factors to keep in mind. In terms of content population, you’ll want to understand the full editing capabilities of your CMS.
There are many differences between CMS themes and platforms, each of which creates a different experience for both users and developers. For example, older versions may have only HTML, while newer versions will have WYSIWYG, which allows developers to see what a page will look like as it is being created (it stands for “what you see is what you get”).
All of this is important because business owners often want something that is not easily created in the CMS they have chosen. It’s imperative to understand the design and content parameters of a CMS before you choose it, so that time is not spent trying to create something that is highly improbable (or maybe even impossible).
Many website development and content marketing agencies offer content population services. Bayshore Solutions has worked with thousands of clients on creating a content development plan that gives their site the look and feel they want to achieve on every page. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you create a website you’ll want to show off for years to come.