Content | 5 Tips for a Successful Web Project, Part II

5-Tips---Content

This is the next post in our Series, 5 Tips for a Successful Web Project. You can visit the first point on Scope Creep here to find out ways that timelines and budgets expand, as well as strategies for keeping them stable.  To recap the list:

  1. Understand what Scope Creep is and how it impacts your project
  2. Consider that writing your own content might be harder than you think
  3. Assign a single point of contact for communication/decision making
  4. Make a plan for acceptance testing
  5. Figure out Hosting, Domain Registration and SSLs

This entry is on the subject of Owner Provided Content.

Typically, during the phase of developing a scope, one of the questions we ask is, “Would you like us to write the content, or will you be providing that?” Many site owners answer, “I’ll take care of that.” Now, there are many reasons for a client to create their own content. Perhaps they already have existing content in place. Perhaps they have a tight budget for the project, or believe that they are the best person to create content. After all, no one else knows their business as well as they do.

At coolblueweb, when a client agrees to supply their own content, we add a line to the design document that reads: “The Client is responsible for the content.” We also list the pages on the website that will require content. Then, we create a schedule for the project and let the client know the date we will need the content.

Then we wait.

And sometimes we wait even more.

Business owners have a lot on their plates. They have a lot of people to organize and they’re busy with the day-to-day logistics of running a company. Sometimes they aren’t writers and writing content can become a dreaded task, getting pushed further and further down the to do list.

What are the ramifications of this delay? Well, for a developer they can be momentous. Once a project is off schedule, developers are left scrambling to catch up. If another project is scheduled for that time, sometimes there is no choice but to tie off the no-content site, let the client know that the completion will be rescheduled when the content is received, and send them a progress bill for the work done up to that point. No one likes an invoice for website work when that site isn’t live.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid falling into this trap:

  1. Take an honest assessment of the writing skills and writing interest of the person tasked with the job.
  2. Consider the amount of time it will take to provide content.  Do you already have website content that can be repurposed with a little refresher?  Are you starting from scratch?
  3. Build some extra time into your consideration. It’s easy to forget that, once the content is written, you’ll need time for internal review and revisions.

If you’re feeling unsure about your ability to create your website’s content within the necessary time frame, consider hiring a professional content writer (and coolblue offers this service!). When you hire a professional, the time required of you is reduced to answering a phone survey, maybe providing some product/service slicks and reviewing proofs. You also benefit from the style and clarity a professional can bring to your project. Content writers keep the SEO of your site in mind and make sure that their words speak in a language Google understands.

If you would like to keep the content writing in house, communicate clearly at the inception of your project how long it will take your team to provide that content. Once your development team is aware of your personal timeline, they can build it into your project plan, keeping your website on schedule and making sure that everyone is happy!

Next up: The Importance of Communication

Paula loves interacting with great clients on a range of interesting projects and enjoys spending time in her garden.