Posted: 2012-02-01 15:45:01
One topic that crops up time and time again at TTMG Internet is website content development.
Whenever there is a deadline to meet, it always seems as if it is the content part that slows everything down.
This can be really frustrating as the content part of the project is almost always out of our control. It sounds awful to say that it is the client that gets in the way of their own deadline, but it is often true.
However, there is usually a good reason and that good reason is always related to time. Clearly, the operational (money generation) imperatives of the business must always come first and it is difficult to argue with that.
There is more to this than meets the eye though, because the time required to spend on website content development is very dependent on the skill of the content developer.
Someone who writes for a living will not struggle excessively with this, but for many others this is a skill only employed occasionally. This means the problem becomes not just what to say, but how to say it.
This will take much more time if writing is not a core skill. It would be easy for us to say "well just delegate it" when even delegation will require some web site owner input to define what needs to be said. This does take time and there are always trivial distractions like customers or cash flow that can get in the way.
Defining the topics to be presented and how they should be broken down is not necessarily an easy task.
The tyranny of the blank screen or, blank sheet of paper, is enough to stop many people from even starting - even if they can write well.
How then to start if you do not have strong writing skills, are not sure what to write and do not have the time to spend on this?
Well, start by breaking everything down into threes e.g. 3 broad business areas, or 3 products, or 3 services.
For example, an electrician might split the business into: new builds, re-wires and repairs. Someone running a nursery may split the business into: day care, education and nutrition.
Even if you cannot make any of these things fit into 3 headings, the thought process will allow you to identify the additional headings, so you may end up with 5 or 6, but the split will be structured and clear.
Do the same for each subject area you are discussing. Start by organising each one into 3 headings then add the others as necessary if you think of them . Products or services can equally be tackled in three: a general description, what are its features and what are the benefits to the buyer.
Once you have 3 main headings and each split into 3 sub headings of description, features and benefits, you can then start to add detail.
The big mistake at this point is to start writing fully formed sentences. This will slow things down a fair bit. Start with bullet points. This is a bit like a mini brain storming exercise. Just get the points down in any order and do not worry about relevance.
Once you have at least 5 or 6 points down and can think of no more, you can then re-evaluate the list. Start by crossing off, or moving anything that is not relevant under the heading.
The classic mistake is calling a feature a benefit. A volume control is a feature, fine gradations to allow accurate setting of volume is a benefit.
Once you know everything under each heading, you can then organise it all into the order you want to raise each point.
Once everything is in order, you can then flesh out the detail around each bullet point. Remember, you can also retain the bullet points as a summary to make the content easier to access if the reader is in a hurry - they always are.
If the content you are developing is for your business, everything you need is in your head. You just have to get it out into a readable format. This does not have to be difficult, but if you don't normally do this, do it when your mind is fresh - NOT at the end of the day.
Also make time and space for this. You will need to focus for at least an hour, so first thing on the morning or a weekend is good.
Last, but not least, ask for help if needs be - TTMG Internet would be very pleased to help with your website content development, so please get in touch.