Modern web development is a complicated process. There are a lot of components to consider, such as hosting, back-end and front-end frameworks, databases, content, image optimization, CDN’s, spelling, code validation, accessibility, SEO, analytics, backups… and more. One area where the client can help is the content.
Many projects start with the content, text and images, still in flux. Ideally, the web development team is looking for finished content before starting the design process. It is important to realize that the content should be at least 75% complete before the project start. Why? Because content, in many cases dictates functionality. Functionality then has an influence on technologies that the website needs.
How Content Affects Functionality
Let’s say that your business has I higher than normal changing of sales team members. Maybe it is due to the growth rate of the business and routine promoting of the sales team to management positions. Because your sales team is composed of 23 individuals, and they are routinely changing departments, it would be a good idea to keep them in a database. Then the website can build a sales team directory on the fly sorted by department, products, etc. This will have many advantages over having static text on a page.
If this content was not developed before the website is built, there is a good chance that the developer may assume static content for this page and may not include database functionality for it. While this scenario is not the end of the world, it does not allow for efficiency.
Does all content need to be 100% complete?
Most of the time, no. But it is important to have the home page content developed along with call to actions. All types of content should be identified on internal pages, such as portfolios, galleries, downloads, contact forms, calendars, directories, login areas and anything else with *dynamic data. A final tweaking of content before launch is common but adding a new set of data or a completely new section will usually be outside the scope of the project and will cost more.
Are there any tools that help with content creation?
Most consultants and developers realize that it is easier to write content, pick photos and visualize the content in the pages, when you can see the site. It helps to start with building a sitemap of the website. A sitemap is a visual representation of the structure and the hierarchy of the pages on the site. There are many tools and different types of project management software that will help with this step. One of my favorite specialized tools is Slickplan.
What is Slickplan?
Slickplan is a web-based collaborative tool for building sitemaps and content. This tool and others like it, put an end to emailing content and worrying about updates and document versions getting crossed. Slickplan goes beyond sitemaps with a diagram maker, content planner and mockup designer.
If you need help with managing your website project, or creating content, FindaWebDesign.com can help.
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*Dynamic Data is data that is changed automatically, or served differently for each user.