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October 11, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
For many businesses, a website is a digital headquarters or storefront. It’s the place where you invite your audience to visit, browse, and engage with your brand. Many companies feel pressure to make their websites perfect so that they never lose a conversion or sale. Perfection is a tall order, especially when it’s impossible for your brand to be perfect for every lead, every time. Instead, preparing a user-friendly, content-rich website is a better goal. Today, we’re discussing how to create a web content plan to map out what information you want to share to meet those milestones:
A content plan is a roadmap document or collection of documents and tools that help you take ideas from your strategy and turn them into marketing assets. When creating a web content plan, you’re mapping out the ways to bring your web strategy to life. The steps you choose for the plan ensure every piece of content for the site is relevant, cohesive, and valuable for your audience. The best web content plans address areas like:
Content strategy and content plans work together to turn ideas into valuable brand assets. When done right, using them to complement each other helps your company attract and keep clients and customers. The strategy phase is where you brainstorm content ideas and decide what resonates best with your audience. Most brainstorming sessions focus on how to get your audience to interact with your brand and ultimately make purchases.
But if you don’t have a structured, logical way to bring those ideas to life, you won’t get the results you want. That’s where a website content plan comes in. Your website is your home base online. It’s the place you direct people to from other content channels. It’s also the hub of your online business activities. You need a simple structure and plan for getting all those content ideas onto your website in a user-friendly way.
The web content plan not only helps you choose what type of content to add to your site, but where to put it, and who’s responsible for getting it there. This makes the web content creation process easier and quicker to complete because there’s an expected workflow to follow from beginning to end.
Related: 7 Reasons Your Company Needs a Content Plan
Use these steps to create a web content plan that showcases your best and most important information in ways that are appealing and helpful to your audience:
During your web strategy development, your team will set goals about what you want to achieve with your brand website. Goals are unique to every company and can be based on industry, audience, and team capacity. When setting goals for your website, consider the following questions:
These strategic questions help you consider what you want to achieve from having a web presence for your brand. When choosing web content goals, it’s important to attach them to key performance indicators (KPIs) you can track throughout the content lifecycle. You’ll return to these KPIs later in the web content plan to determine if your efforts are successful or need improvement.
Before you can put any plan in place, you have to know what tools, resources, and staff you have to work with. Think about the scene from the movie Apollo 13 where the team on the ground has to figure out how to make a square peg fit in a round hole using only items available on the spacecraft.
Though an extreme example, this is how you should approach any project, including content creation. Look at the ideas you generate in your content strategy and the resources available. Then, find a way to make them work together. Resources to consider include time constraints, budget, and team capacity. Assessing your resources shows the team what’s available to them and can help organize priority tasks when you develop a content calendar.
When you assess your resources, you may find a lot of tools available that you can use in a content plan. But just because you have the tools doesn’t mean you have to use them all. Decide which ones are right for each content creation project or stage of the project. Some of the most common ones you may add to your stack include:
Another carryover from your strategy development, you need to know who exactly is visiting your website before you can create content for them. You can determine who your audience should be by creating audience profiles and customer personas. Then you can use website data to find out who’s actually visiting your site.
Google Analytics is a great web metric tool that gives insight into your visitor demographics. Collect the information from this portal and compare it to your profiles and personas. If you find there’s a mismatch between who’s currently visiting your site and who you want to visit, you can work the changes into your content plan. Things like topic selection, user-experience features, and promotional tactics may all help pull in the right audience segments for each page or content type.
Before you do an update, overhaul, or create anything new, you first have to know what content already exists on your website. To run a website analysis, take stock of all your pages, downloadable assets, and other content people can access on your domain. Content audits are also great for finding duplicate content, which can hurt your SEO. They’re also helpful for identifying content gaps where you’re missing information that could bring in more visitors.
Google Analytics, again, can help you find out which pages on your site have the most visits and popularity. Looking at the content and structure on those pages helps determine how you can make changes across your site to get better results.
CopyPress has another tool to help with your website audit. When you request your free content analysis report, we give you data about the best-performing pages on your site and what topics they rank for in search. Aside from on-page content, our report also looks at your site’s backlink profile and how your content compares to the competition. These additional features not only help with your content creation plan but prepare you to do next-level search optimization to increase your organic traffic and reach. Ready to get started? Share your information with us below.
“CopyPress gives us the ability to work with more dealership groups. We are able to provide unique and fresh content for an ever growing customer base. We know that when we need an influx of content to keep our clients ahead of the game in the automotive landscape, CopyPress can handle these requests with ease.”
Director of SEO at Auto Revo
Choosing which content to add to your website is a two-part process. First, pick what topics to cover for each page, article, or asset. For example, your main navigation may include services pages that tell your audience about what your brand does. This counts as a type of content. An “about us” video on your home also counts as web content.
The second part of the content choice process is picking the medium to share information on your topics. Your focus areas are industry specific. They cover what your brand does and how it benefits the audience. For content types and locations, the most common web features include:
Your options for page and content choices on a website are almost limitless. Especially if you have a skilled development team that can make your ideas a reality. While it’s tempting to include a lot of content on your site, the same rules apply as any other content marketing. Keep everything valuable and relevant. When choosing pages and content, think about how each one relates to your brand goals and audience needs. Choose only pieces that provide value and clarity, and omit any fluff that could clutter your navigation.
While a page counts as content on its own, you may have a variety of smaller content pieces on each one. For example, you may have a block of text on the about page that tells your brand story. But if customers scroll further, they may also find a “meet the team” video interview. Both represent individual types of content that work together to make one page.
If you think a site map is just for technical SEO and web designers, think again. Creating a site map for your content, or a web content map, can help you plan where and how to position information on your site. A web content map is a visual representation of where everything appears on your domain when it goes live. Similar to an outline or a table of contents, this document shows the hierarchy and structure of pages around your site. It’s important for figuring out the relationships between pages and their content.
You can use a web content map to rework your site organization from scratch. This document also helps when you’re creating new content that needs to fit with your existing site structure. Account for all top-level, sub-level, and hidden pages within your site and how people access them. Doing this helps you build your internal linking structure so that it’s easier for people to find your content.
Related: How a Site Map Template Can Help You Build a Better Website
Once you know what you’re creating, figure out the timeline for getting each piece made. An editorial or content calendar is the best way to make it happen. Within this visual guide, you can assign due dates and times, team members to work on each piece of content, and publication locations. While all your content will go on your website, you can specify the exact page or navigation position for each piece of content.
Editorial calendars also let you designate where and how to promote your content across channels. For example, you may note where your team should share a link in an email newsletter or create a LinkedIn post.
Related: Content Calendar: How To Create One and What To Include
Content creation for the web looks different depending on the campaign or project. Sometimes, content creation involves a lot of writing and editing. Other times, it may include designing infographics or filming videos. No matter what pieces of content you plan to include on your site, make sure you assemble the right team and keep communication open throughout the process.
Ensure that your team has everything they need to follow brand style guidelines. Run a thorough review process before sending content to publication to make sure it’s on-brand and provides value to web visitors.
eBook: Why Should You Have a Style Guide? [Download Now]
Similar to content creation, every web publishing project looks a little different. Publication often depends on the web platform you use and who has the authority to make updates and changes. Sometimes, your web developers may publish content if there’s a lot of coding involved to make it look just right. If you use a content management system (CMS) or web builder, designated publishers or even writers may be able to upload content directly to your site.
After publication, it’s important to test and make sure all your content works properly. Look to make sure it appears how you expect it to on the page. Test all content on both desktop and mobile devices. Appearances sometimes look different depending on the operating system or screen size. If you notice an issue with your content, be sure to fix any problems before moving to the next steps.
While getting your content published on the site is a large part of working with a content plan, it’s not where content creation ends. Because all your web pieces exist in a digital space, make sure every piece and page has the best chance of showing up at the top of search engine results for optimum keywords. The best—and only—way to make that happen is by prioritizing SEO for everything your team creates.
Though SEO best practices can differ slightly between content forms, many of the same rules apply no matter what. Make sure everything you publish applies to your audience and matches important brand and industry keywords. Pay attention to both on-page and technical SEO with your website. Some of the technical elements take place off the page and your audience never sees them. But these behind-the-scenes details could help your site become more favorable and recognizable with Google and other search engines.
Related: How To Do Advanced Content Optimization for SEO Like a Pro
Though your content lives on your website, it doesn’t have to stay there. Organic traffic from search engines thanks to SEO is great. But if you want to get the most out of the content you spent all that time creating, you need to promote it on other channels, and within other areas of your site.
To promote content within your site, consider pop-up boxes, interstitial ads, and alert bars. These tools work best to showcase conversion content, such as webinars or newsletter sign-ups. They’re also good for advertising new or upcoming content. Use these tools sparingly, as too many clutter up your site and could annoy visitors. Another way to promote content right on your site is to develop an internal linking strategy. Creating content in a topic cluster model allows you to interlink among related pieces and share more information your audience might like.
Outside of your domain, you can easily share web pages, videos, and articles on social media or through direct messaging channels like email. Simply share the link for the page you want people to see and craft a post or blurb about it. For even more targeted promotion, create UTM links you can track through your analytics programs. These links let you see where you’re getting traffic on your site thanks to promotional efforts.
When working with a content plan, don’t forget to build in time for metrics tracking and analysis. You’re not creating content for fun. This marketing strategy is supposed to help you meet specific goals. The only way you’ll know if you meet them is to track analytics and monitor the KPIs you set back in step one.
Your analytics programs likely do the work and collect the data for you. All you have to do is review the data or export it to sync with your KPI dashboards. Then you can conclude how well your web content plan executed your strategy.
Related: 12 KPI Dashboard Examples and Their Benefits
Most web content is evergreen, meaning it stays relevant for a long time. But a best practice of web content is to revisit old pieces periodically to make sure they still function at peak performance. Revisiting and refreshing old content includes checking links, images, and videos across your site to make sure they work properly and point to the right locations. The process also includes fact-checking any potentially outdated information, like statistics. If you find errors, replace them with new, updated material.
It’s helpful to do these kinds of reviews at least once per year, if not more. Refreshes allow you to make sure that no matter where or how someone finds your content online, they always find timely, relevant content. You can do these revisions in tandem with scaling content and creating new pieces. That way, you always have a mix of fresh ideas incorporated alongside your updated content.
Even with the best web content plan, there are still other things to consider when trying to get people to find and engage with your pieces. Perfecting your SEO helps. But keeping up with every Google algorithm and core change to get the best rankings may make you feel like your website and its content are always behind. That doesn’t have to be the case.
Join CopyPress and Search Engine Journal for a webinar all about the Helpful Content update. At this live session, you’ll learn from our CEO and Founder, Dave Snyder, and the Director of Marketing for Search Engine Journal, Heather Campbell. They’ll teach you everything you need to know about the latest changes. Discover how to create helpful content for Google and ways to recover if your site took a hit. You’ll also learn how to scale your content through authority by leveraging your subject matter experts throughout the content creation cycle.
Sign up today to reserve your spot. Can’t join us live? Registrants also receive a recording of the live session to view at a time that fits their schedule.
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