How to Get Content for a Website?

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A graphic cover of an article about how to get content for a website

There are cases when clients need a hand with content writing. Here are a few valuable tips that can make it easier.

In our reality, the sweet dream of designers is when they get content for a website way before the wireframe is touched. No, designers don’t actually live in a nightmare, but their reluctance for lorem ipsum is real. All too often, clients are ready to hand over a down payment, but they are not aware that their website needs content.

Set direction and limits

Setting direction and limits for content at the very beginning will make for good design. Total creative freedom could only complicate the website workflow and bring lots of senseless work. Direction and limits say to us that we have some problems that need to be solved with a specific purpose.

Most clients are not writers by nature. Writing is a skill that could be learned by almost anyone, but it takes some sweaty practice and long hours in front of the writing tools. It’s a certainty that the person responsible for the content acquisition would tell the client what to write and how. Giving some limits and clear directions related to the client’s business goal at this stage will help the client focus on what is most important.

But don’t forget that going nuts is important as well. The client would be happy to tell more about themselves on some webpage section that could be dedicated right to this purpose. Usually, this section is “About Us”, so keep it in mind to bring some enjoyment to your clients by a bit untying their hands here.

Walk-through the process with a client before writing content

“You need three small titles: one here, next here, and third here”. Giving general instructions on what to write might be a bit vague for a new to the web development person. Arrange meetings on Google Meet or personally, grab the plan for the website (some prototypes as well), and talk over the examples of what might be said.

Here are a few items to talk about:

  1. Keep in mind to discuss that each page, section, and UI element have its own accepted for a good design length.
  2. Try to visualize the outcome and the road toward it discussing each step the user will pass;
  3. Pay attention to problems that might appear;
  4. Talk over eventual text eye-catchers on the pages and how to implement it;
  5. Set deadlines for the content.

Don’t be afraid to remind

There was a story when a client paid for a web studio work and disappeared for one year without saying goodbye. Then he suddenly appeared and asked to continue the work. Well, these funny stories are not uncommon and some clients are kinda like to be Copperfield-ish.

If the client is not Copperfield-ish, they could simply forget about the task, be busy having other priorities, or just require a little motivation. People responsible for the content shouldn't hesitate to drop a line once in a while and ask how the client is doing. It may look annoying sometimes, but both clients and web studios have to respect their time.

Everyday reminders are excessive. Once in a week is fine to let anybody know that you remember about them and wait for their result. But let be honest, if the client or the web studio’s team can’t handle even one project on time and deadlines are moving systematically, there're probably no long-term relationships on the table.

The additional tools make things easier

Don’t hesitate to use automated tools like Content Snare or less automated Google Forms asking for content. These make things easier when the person responsible for content has lots of clients and the wrong move could be quite a time cost (or even money cost). Also, snoozed emails or automated reminders work just fine when there is a need to remind each week. But don’t forget to turn it off when you get a clear answer.

Working with one or two clients simultaneously is less demanding (but it depends), so simple Google Docs could be enough to write down the content and track the changes by leaving comments.

A few last words

If you are a client and you want to have perfectly matched text to the website design, it’s worth to puzzle over how to match content to the website needs. It takes some time, but the result could be just remarkable.

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