The old adage, “content is king” is extremely true when it comes to your website. After all, it’s the content for which the users visit your platform to gather information about your business and hence you have to be “right” here. Needless to mention, garish content will only pull away the traffic.
However, it must be noted that the content outline is as important as the content itself. If your site lacks proper organization, no matter how quality the content is, you will only end up with disappointed visitors. The content outline plays a key role in determining user experience at your site and also the consumption rate for your content. You have to be really particular with the planning of your content outline and your site’s operational layout.
So, what do the experts have to say about drafting a perfect content outline? Well, the article below shares some insights here on how to assure the right content outline.
Before getting into the discussion, it must be mentioned that the content outline is most likely to vary as per the theme of the site yet the creative process would be somewhat alike everywhere.
As with any building, creating a perfect content outline too begins with a neat content architecture. Once again, the process would differ with every site but the basic rule of the thumb is same for all you have to structure the pages & outline the content strategy first before you pen down the first word of your copy.
According to experts, one should organize all his ideas regarding the web pages, sub-pages & navigation structure first to get a hang of desired user behaviour. Ask yourself some relevant questions first. Which pages are going to have the maximum visits? Would your users browse the website as a static content platform or more of like a blog?
Try to get the answers first because the site architecture can make or break your content strategy. Hence unless you plan ahead, you might be preparing yourself for a catastrophe.
The sitemap of your website plays a major role here as it enables one to plan the content visually- which consequently means you will have a clearer picture of how all your webpages connect.
If it’s a blog, it’s better to organize the categories & subcategories beforehand. Chalk out which topics you would like to have for the site and what would be the sub-topics. When you are ready with the complete structure of your categories, it would be way easier to write content & placing posts in pertinent categories- compared to starting with your content blindly.
“Flexibility” is the rule when you are at the architectural stage. Brainstorm as many ideas as possible, be ready to tweak them if the needs arise, scribble notes & be mentally prepared for tons of drafts for the content. Perfectionists would always be particular about drafting navigation before creating pages.
But then, it would be better if you think of the page structures first without coercing pages into specific no or yes categories. Be liberal with your creative wings and be ready to remove/add ideas if needed.
And yes, research is also major at the architectural stage. So, don’t be lazybones and put effort to find out what the users actually want and expect. A sneak peek into the competitors’ sites won’t harm and in fact, can be really enlightening. Check out which pages are pulling the maximum attention or how they have labelled the pages in their site navigation. Study their site architecture well.
As you get the basic frame for your website, it’s time to plan for content ideas. What kind of content your visitors are going to expect or want on your site? Which topics are primary? How can you structure them comparatively?
Before you take up the pen, it’s wiser to plan up the ideas as they will show you the map to your content. It’s a huge time saver any day and you will have a clearer idea of the initial content of your site- whether it’s for static pages or a blog.
A tip that works here is creating a short list of ideas & working on them individually. Just have a few relevant keywords or a couple of sentences about each so that you can have helpful snippets for your content that will make things easier for you -as you sit down to enlarge your ideas. And yes, you can always use such snippets as handy reference points for both headlines and content body.
However, again, give yourself easy creative liberty at this stage. You should be looking forward to fitting the pages into site architecture but you should also be adaptive to alter the headlines and topics if needed.
Now, it’s time to plan for suitable content styles for your blog posts and web pages.
Would there be image galleries or slide shows? Do you think users would prefer embedded video? How about special boxes or tabbed widgets?
When you can have a proper idea of the final form of the content- you will find it a lot easier to craft the content eventually. Why not go for individual blog post outlines with hints for headings & sub-headings?
You have finally reached the final step of your content outline before you actually sit down for write-ups.
Let’s check out some helpful tools for content wireframing-
When it comes to the most popular tools for online diagramming, Gliffy is a hands-down top favourite. Mostly deployed for flows & charts, it’s an amazing aide for drafting content wireframes too. It would be smarter to link ideas right from a Word doc or Excel Sheet & create a unified single content. In fact, that would be a huge time-saver.
WriteMaps is quite a thing for sitemap-specific web services. A new site will always need a sitemap and here you have a tool to help you from start to end. This tool can help users write content & organize the pages smoothly in a meaningful interactive sitemap. All your content would be accessible online so that it’s easier for you to share them with clients & collaborate on novel ideas. The fun part is that the tool allows you to colour-code the pages based on relevancy, topic or completion. Everything can be transformed into PDF format for easy offline sharing.
Be liberal to plan & try out new ideas till you finalize the content outline. The tips discussed here would be handy for any kind of site, be it an online store or a corporate website.Next PostPrevious Post