The easy guide to planning website content
Jessica Baldwin / Updated June 4, 2022
Planning your website content is the biggest step in developing an effective website.
"Content" is more than just the text within the site. It starts with prioritizing information and determining the specific content that will appear on each page, including images, videos, charts and graphs, written text, headlines, and more.
Below is our simple framework to help plan your website content.
1. Create an ideal customer persona
Defining your ideal customer (ICP) is a critical step that will help you attract and engage your target audience. An ICP is an essential component of an effective content strategy. An "ideal customer persona" is a profile of a singular person who represents the prospect most likely to buy your product or service. It includes your ideal customer's demographics, needs, goals, problems, and more.
2. Write a key benefit statement
How does your business uniquely help your ideal customer? Why should they choose your organization over any other in your industry? Your key benefit statement conveys the value that you offer to your customers. It will help guide the development of text and headlines for your website.
3. Define your call to action
What action should your website visitor take to become a client or customer?
- Schedule a meeting?
- Buy a product?
- Request a quote?
- Download a resource?
- Call you?
What is the initial action you want them to take? This is your primary call to action (CTA). You want to design your website around helping your website visitor take this action.
4. Create an outline
Now that you know who your website is speaking to, what your organization's key benefit is, and what the website visitor should do, it's time to outline your website (aka create a sitemap). Make a hierarchical diagram or flowchart that includes all of the pages your website needs. The topline pages or categories will be your menu headings. Your diagram will also serve as a guide for your website's navigation.
Every website needs a homepage. Place it at the top of the flowchart. Your homepage needs to communicate what you do, who your product or service is for, and why it matters to the website visitor. It should also tell them how to take action (they won't take action right away, but they must understand what to do when they are ready). Go back to your ideal customer, key benefit statement, and call to action—plan to incorporate these elements on your homepage.
In addition to a homepage, most websites will also need an about page. Your about page should provide background on you and your organization's history and experience. Your about section is where you can build trust with your audience by outlining your expertise and letting them get to know the people behind the organization. If you have multiple people within your organization, consider including team bios under the about section.
Every website needs a contact page. You want to make it easy for your prospective customers to reach you. List all of the ways your website visitor can get in touch with your organization. You may choose to include a contact form here. We would encourage you also to have a publicly available email address and phone number. Your business should be accessible to your customers and prospects, building trust.
The other pages that your website needs are dependent on your business. Services, Shop, Pricing, FAQs, Careers, Blog, and Resources are typical menu headings. But, as you can imagine, each of these headings won't be relevant to every business. Make your menu specific to your business and the needs of your customer. Refer to your ideal customer profile. Ask yourself, "what information does this person need to be able to find on my website?" Prioritize your menu with answers to that question.
For example, if you're an accounting agency, you could include a menu item for "tax preparation" and another for "bookkeeping." An e-commerce shop that sells apparel may choose to have their main product categories in the menu - "tops," "bottoms," "accessories."
All of your content may or may not fit within the main pages associated with your menu headings. Use subpages when you have more information to convey. Subpages should fall under the main categories within your site hierarchy. For example, your about section may include subpages for your company history, team bios, and a press page. In our e-commerce example from above, the tops section may have subpages under it for blouses, sweaters, and t-shirts.
Testimonials help communicate your organization's key benefit from your customer's perspective. They provide an added element of trust with your website audience. You can create a page of testimonials on your site or place them strategically on your homepage or other essential sales pages. Consider gathering a few testimonials from existing customers or clients for your website. If you don't have customers or clients yet, that's okay! Be sure to start asking for testimonials when you do.
4. Create the content
Now that you have a sitemap outlined for your website, it's time to dig in and develop each page's content. When you create your content before starting the website building process, it will streamline the entire process so you can launch your website faster.
Pro-tip 👉 As you're developing your content, you may want to consider researching a few keywords to include on each page. You can get keyword ideas using free tools like answerthepublic.com and seoreviewtools.com. These tools will provide insight into what people are searching for related to your industry. Try to incorporate these keywords into your headings and paragraphs to improve your rankings on the search engines.
Each page should include:
Give each page a title. Your outline probably already lists the page titles, but you can expand them as needed.
Start writing the text that should go on each page. Include headings, lists and bullet points, and supporting paragraphs. Don't forget to include notes to link to other pages where appropriate or include a button with your call to action.
Consider where you may include testimonials, stats, article links, or other critical information.
You'll want to incorporate imagery into your website. Begin thinking about which pages need photos, videos, audio files, charts, infographics, or other visual assets to convey information. Make a note on each page for the media you intend to use.
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Creating a website sitemap and developing content for each page may feel like a huge undertaking. It is! However, it's an essential step to launching an effective website.
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