Before choosing a template and the colors of your website, you need to focus on the content you will publish. Without content, you don’t have a website.
What is content?
The content of a website is every piece of information being displayed:
The content is thus everything that is going to be visible on your webpages. Once you have gathered all of this, it will become easier to think about the elements and the structure of your website.
To create relevant content, determine your website’s goal
The first step in creating any website is to establish its objectives. It will influence the content, the functionalities, and also your budget. Websites have different objectives:
- Inform and educate – The goal of many associations and non profit organizations is to raise awareness on a topic and to get people involved: how to reduce waste production, how to promote humans rights, … They often display many information on their activities and their mission.
- Sell a product or a service – e-commerce websites have many forms and objectives. If you want to sell a product, do you ship worldwide? Do you sell unique handcrafted products?
- Provide exchanges between people – There are many platforms that provide a space for people to exchanges services, publish classified ad, ask questions, …
Those goals are not mutually exclusives. The World Widlife Fund, for example, gives information about nature preservation, and also has a shop on its swiss website. Be careful though on having too much objectives: you might end up with a complex website where visitors are quickly confused.
All those goals have an impact on the content that is going to be published. They will also influence the functionalities of your website. If you want to sell a product online, you will need the elements that enables you to do so: payment options, selection of quantity, user account, etc.
It is also interesting to point out that two people with the same job might have different objectives. For example, a restaurant owner might want a website to inform his clients about opening hours and location. Another restaurant owner may use his website to sell food directly to the customer, or to let them order take-away menus.
Who are you creating your website for?
Knowing who you are aiming for will influence the language you use and the information you need to publish. If your target audience are lawyers in international trade, your content will be very different from a website designed for personal trainers.
Some websites are designed for a very specialised audience. In that case, they use technical words that people outside of the audience might not understand. And it is OK, because it matches their goal.
Describe your audience in detail. Think of your visitors as real people: it will help you create a user-friendly website. This is what designer call a persona, or user profile. Here are some information you can use to describe your personas:
- Personal information
- Professional information
- Work experience
- Technical background
- Device(s) owned
- Ease of use of smartphone/computer/…
- Time spent online
- Online activities (shopping, social media, …)
- Information wanted
- Results wanted
You can also a photo to your personas: it will help you build a website for humans 🙂
Objective & target audience: the solid foundation for your website
Your objectives and your target audience constitute the foundation of your website. Once you are clear on them, creating your content becomes easier.
And the good news is that if you take some time to define your goal and your target audience, you can go to a web developer and be clear on what you want from her.
It can be tricky to start from scratch
I’ve been looking at websites for a long time now. I have been assessing them for a living, I know how to make them user-friendly… and yet, when I had to create my own website, I felt completely lost! “The shoemaker’s children always go barefoot”, as we often say in French.
Sometimes, you are tempted to publish everything you have on your website. There is a risk with this choice: your website might become overloaded and too complex to use. So don’t skip this step! Think about your goals, your audience, and then start putting together your texts, pictures and videos.
Do you need help to set your websites objectives or to brainstorm about its content? Find out how we can work together!