Populating your Website
Posted by Jon Roth - Dec 29, 2008
Planning Your Content
Planning and generating content is often the most challenging phase of a new or redesigned website project and is where we've often seen projects stall before launch. Enthusiasm normally runs high at the earlier stage when you're vision for the site is fresh and you're imaging the site features, the visuals, and all the people who will be visiting and using your site.
When you see those first design comps, your imagination gets another boost as you get closer to the site's interface and navigation. Now that your energy and enthusiasm are high, it is the time to flesh out your content outline and begin creating and/or collecting your copy, images, and other media that you want to display when the site is launched.
If you wait until the design and programming are all done, you've completed your approvals, and the features have all been tested, you may find that your energy level and focus on the project have been spent to the point where generating content just becomes too much work. To solve that, we recommend creating your content outline before you even see the design comps. Then count up the separate pages for which you'll need to write, collect, or otherwise assemble content.
Take the total number of days until your scheduled launch day and divide that number by the number of pages you have planned. That will tell you how many pages you need to come up with each day to hit your schedule. It may be that you only need to collect content for one page every three days. That's fine and good to know.
If your site has an online store component with product listings, or some similar feature with content elements like product listings, then determine the number of listings you would like to launch with, and add them into the equation. You may have a content page every three days plus two product listings a day to generate descriptive copy for plus perhaps find photos or take digital photos.
The best of all possible scenarios is to have all of your current content ready prior to launch, and then to add new content as you get it.
Short of that, have as much ready as possible and schedule some time each week after launch to add to the site.
Long term, you should be adding content on a regular basis anyway in order to best serve your audience and keep the search engines interested.