Desperation is a great motivator -- content edition

We’ve all been desperate.
Desperate for just one more hour in the day to finish the work we started.
Desperate for extra cash burning a hole in our pockets so we can upgrade to first class on the flight and not have to sit next to this guy who’s clearly had too much to drink.
Desperate to see the sun after what feels like 900 straight days of rain (amIright, Minnesota?!?).
Desperation can be a big turnoff, but it can also be a great motivator. Especially when it comes to website design and content.

Seriously, bear with me here. You’re a designer creating a website for a business. You might work in-house, they might be a one-time client. You’ve created a beautiful design, the core client team agrees the design is beautiful, but the whole project is on hold because someone, somewhere is still trying to figure out what content is going to populate the site and where that content is going to come from. There’s argument, content is assigned, it falls to the bottom of someone’s to-do list and six months later that gorgeous new website that could be generating new business, impressing current customers and fostering engagement is withering away. Or, possibly worse, someone gets tired of dealing with it and issues the decree to, “Just use the content from the old website and make it fit with the new site.” As the designer, the gorgeous new site you worked so hard to produce is now paired with garbage content — destined to live on the ninth page of a  Google search.

bad websites

This is often when my phone starts to ring and it’s where you can turn that desperation into motivation. And this is where I can help you turn that frown upside down.

Your problem? Beautiful design, no one knows what content should go where.
My solution: Ideally, your website design team would include a content specialist from the beginning, but as that doesn’t always happen, a content specialist can spend some time with the site map and help determine what you’ve got, what you need and where on the website it should (and shouldn’t) go.

Your problem? Content? What content? 
My solution: A writer (copywriter, web writer, content specialist, brand journalist, etc.) asks the right questions to determine what content is going to resonate with the target audience and get them to take action as well as help the website rank best in search.

Your problem? The team loves the website, but just wants to use content from the old website.
My solution: If the previous content is well written and fits nicely into the new website, go for it. Since that almost never happens, it’s time to explain that it’s pointless to have a new website design without fresh content and a strategy to keep it dynamic. A new website has one-time PR value (if that). Well thought-out content keeps people coming back for more.

Web designers, make your job easier and work with a content strategist or a writer from the very beginning! You can create in tandem and have stunning visuals with evolving content that helps get the site found, rank highly in search and keeps people visiting to see what’s next. If that doesn’t happen from the very beginning, make your job easier and bring in a writer when you need one (even if you think it’s too late). It’s never too late to implement effective words that perfectly complement your exquisite website.

Desperate for help? Need more tips? Feel free to contact me at any time with questions and for additional resources. Lynne (at)