The starting point for any successful website is not the design – it’s content planning. If your WordPress agency doesn’t talk to you about planning out your content first, they’re not doing their job properly.
It’s all too easy to jump straight into designing your website, but without proper content planning you can end up with a site that looks great but accomplishes nothing.
And you don’t want that, right?
Content planning might not be the ‘fun’ part of a WordPress website project, but it’s what makes the difference when it comes to ranking in the search results.
More than just a sitemap.
Here’s why content planning is more than just a sitemap.
If you just plan out your sitemap, write content for the pages and push the site live, you’ve missed the most important thing about your website – your visitors.
Unless you provide one single service or sell only one product, it’s highly unlikely that everyone who lands on your site is going to be looking for the same thing.
Just laying out the pages of your site isn’t going to provide your visitors with the journeys they need to find the content they’re looking for.
You need to guide them to the right place.
How putting design further down the project map can benefit your site.
Content planning is about putting your visitor first.
And what they are looking for is an answer to their question – they want to know that you can provide it.
The design of your site is not going to give them this answer, your content is.
If you park the design stage of the project until you’ve planned out your content and user journeys, your site will see more conversions, increased dwell time and better ranking in search engines.
- When someone lands on your site from a search, they are instantly after something that answers their need.
- The quicker you can convince the visitor that they are in the right place, the more likely they are to engage with the page.
- The more they engage with the content, the longer they spend reading it – this improves your rankings.
- The longer they spend on the page, the more chances your CTAs have to get a conversion.
- Obviously the design of the page (UX best practice and so on) influences the visitor, but it answers they want – they could be set in red or green text, they could be in a masonry grid, but if they are simply not there, the visitor will bounce off your page in seconds.
The amount of time visitors spend on your page sends strong signals to Google about how relevant your content was to the keyword.
High bounce rates and short dwell-times harm your rankings.
Simply planning your content properly to make your pages more sticky will improve your rankings, UX and conversions.
How to plan your site content
It doesn’t matter if you are planning a new site or looking to improve an existing site, you can still use these simple tips to plan out your content.
- Create visitor personas for your main types of customer and list what each one wants from your site
- Audit your site’s pages to check that it has content that works for each persona
- Identify any gaps in the content you have for each persona (are they looking for something you’ve not written about)
- Produce a content writing plan to plug any of these gaps
- Ensure your homepage (at least) has links or calls-to-action for important ‘wants’
And don’t forget…
The above is a very basic outline, but you must also take into account:
- The focus keywords for each page and how they line-up with your personas and search intent
- On-page SEO for any new content, together with internal and external links (where possible)
- Image content, correctly ALT tagged for each page or post
- Calls-to-action for each page – this might need to be something more specific than just a link to your contact page
As we said at the start of this post, content planning might not be the ‘fun’ part of a WordPress project, but it’s one of the most important.
If your content is messy and full of holes, all you will achieve is a high bounce rate and a drop-off in the rankings.
One more thing:
At Toast, we do A LOT of content planning work – both for new sites we’re building and for current sites that we’re improving.
If you’d like to find out more about what we can do for you, call Dave or Charlotte on 01295 266644 or click below to send us a message.