By Adam Barber published July 12, 2012

Why Content Marketers Need to be Involved in Website Redesigns

website redesigns, CMIFor some years now, SEOs have been making their case for early involvement in the web design process. Fed up with getting asked to “SEO” sites after all the big decisions have been made, the search crowd has produced a stream of blog posts, white papers, and wireframe templates to secure their place at the table from the outset.

In an age where more and more businesses are looking at content to fuel their online marketing activities, it’s time for content marketers to make a similar push. Whether it’s a funky new website or an overhaul of an existing site, the content strategy should be getting discussed from day one.

If you’re responsible for a major build or redesign job, here are three valuable contributions content marketers can make — if you get them involved from the beginning of the process.

No content, no SEO 

Have early discussions about site structure and scalability, so your content can really drive your SEO. My subhead is obviously unfair on the better SEOs, who have long since broadened their skills and expertise (morphing into fully-fledged online marketing consultants), but content — and more importantly, content strategy — can make a massive difference to the success of your search campaign.

Truly effective link building, for example, is much easier when you have relevant and useful content on your site for people to link to. The same goes for attracting natural links. Early discussions about the site’s structure and user journey, specifically with the content in mind, will ensure that valuable pages with good conversion potential get found more often.

An appropriate content strategy will also support your SEO efforts by providing relevant pages that can win more of your target searches and convert and monetize your traffic. Getting your editorial calendar and keyword strategy on the table early will at least ensure that the site structure and layout is set up for scalable site growth.

Content + context 

Maintain a clear focus on the functionality required to leverage tailored content and drive conversions. One of the most compelling benefits that a good content strategy can deliver for your website is to put your conversions in context. All website owners should have a clear focus on what they want visitors to their site to do. There needs to be a measurable conversion opportunity (an email sign-up, a form completion, a download, etc.) on every page.

To boost your chances of achieving that conversion, you need to align your content strategy with the action you want your audience to take. A general inquiry button is much less compelling than an inquiry button directly related to the page your visitor has landed on. If the conversion is a natural next step, they’re more likely to take it.

website redesign, boost your credit score, CMI

In this example, a call-to-action about obtaining a credit report has been pulled into an article about boosting your credit score. This makes the conversion a natural next step for the reader.

website redesign, infographic, CMI

Here, an infographic is being used as a hook to encourage visitors to download a white paper on the same subject.

If a content marketer is present at the early design stage, you can ensure that the functionality to support customized calls-to-action is in place. The same applies to the linking between your pages. The ability to pull in links to related pages — a helpful how-to on a product page or a white paper download on a related blog post, for example — can be really useful and something your content marketer can champion.

Content assets 

Broaden the scope of the site with compelling content ideas. Website builds and redesigns are rarely short of great ideas, even if they can sometimes get watered down when the hard reality of budgets and technical limitations take hold. But you can never have too many great ideas, which is my third and final reason for tapping into the expertise of a content marketer early on in the process.

Your content specialist can bring a lot to the table in this regard. This could be some editorial material (e.g., a blog, case studies, features, interviews, white papers, landing pages, how-to guides, FAQs) or other content assets (e.g., a video library, an image gallery, a dedicated infographics section).

The more obvious stuff, like a company blog, is likely to get raised anyway, but some of the more unusual types of content might be a great fit for your business and really help with what you’re trying to achieve through your website. If you have a content marketer there from the outset to help you develop some compelling content options, you can ensure that the site design, architecture, and functionality are all up to the challenge.

video tutorials, CMI

 

Microsoft infographics gallery, CMI

Want more content marketing inspiration? Download our ultimate eBook with 100 content marketing examples.

Author: Adam Barber

Adam is a director at Castleford Media, a custom news and content agency based in Sydney, Australia. Castleford is a leading provider of tailored content marketing solutions, supporting our client's web, social media and email campaigns with unique, white label content and expert consultancy. You can follow Castleford on Twitter @castlefordmedia or connect with Adam on Google+.

Other posts by Adam Barber

  • Karen Webber

    Great post, Adam!

  • http://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog Jill Tooley

    Adam, this article is timely for me because I was recently invited to participate in my company’s site redesign meetings. I couldn’t agree with you more! Many of my co-workers don’t know the first thing about the SEO aspect of it (only the visual appeal), so it did me some good to add to the conversations. You could have the slickest website on the internet, but it won’t do a bit of good unless there’s good content to lead people there (and retain them)! Excellent article. :)

  • Debbie

    Fantastic post Adam!  We completely agree! We are often contacted by businesses when they “need a new website” or new website content, and can never stress enough how important is that we work closely with the designers, whether in-house or an external firm, to ensure content is optimized and mazimized for effectiveness. Too many times we’ve been asked to retro fit content to design or optimize content after the fact. Thanks for brining up such an important topic!

  • Jamespgallant

    Well done, Adam, and great examples. For far too many orgs, the website revamp is design-driven (and development-driven), a sexy container into which to pour ipsem loram. The best way to envision and execute a site is to consider every element as content, from the page text, images, and videos, to the metadata, SEO, art direction, and layout. Thanks, Adam, great article!

  • rogercparker

    Several great takeaways here, especially in the “Content + context” section, i.e., “There needs to be a measurable conversion
    opportunity (an email sign-up, a form completion, a download, etc.) on every
    page.”

    I also like the examples supporting the “Broaden the scope of the site with compelling content ideas” point–including the emphasis on infographics and other “category” pages shown.

    All in all, it’s nice to see the words “website redesign” referring to more than color, type, and layout! 

  • Hans

    You summed it up very nicely, Adam. Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/ringo66 Joseph Kalinowski

    Great post Adam. Speaking from the creative side of the ball, I think it is extremely important that content marketers and designers work together.

    Referring to Debbie’s comments, the pendulum swings both ways. Designers have also been asked to somewhat “work backwards” or retro fit design to make things work. All the more reason to have a core team set that includes content marketers/creators with designers and programmers when planning a design or redesign… this way it assures that the site is always moving forward, not backward.

  • http://twitter.com/bd_richardson Ben Richardson

    Great real world examples here of content marketing leading to conversions.

  • http://www.MarketingBlogger.com/ David Frey

    I was just counseling with a consulting company about this the other day. In the past, the front page of a consultant’s website would include stuff about them, their products and their services. In addition, they would usually just have a link on their nav that said, “Blog.”

    Today, I believe consultant’s (and most other company’s) sites should have their content front and center so as to pull their visitors immediately into their world and prove their expertise. In other words, the blog should be front and center with nav links to their products and services (and within their content).

    It’s a content world today rather than a “sales” world.

  • http://humanwebsite.com.my/ Kent

    Hi Adam, the 1st and 2nd examples are very useful. Anyway, thanks for the free download eBook link! :)

  • http://www.mmask.qa/ Jobs in Qatar | Qatar Jobs

    Adam I appreciate your sharing very useful advices for
    marketing you have shared I think quality content can become worthwhile asset
    so I always focus on my content that support me to achieve marketing aim.