Content is king

Graham Buchanan
Graham Buchanan

When it comes to websites, content is king.

It’s a mantra that is worth remembering no matter how much search engine optimisation or social media hype we hear.

A website with no worthwhile regular new content is always going to be a case of the “Emperor’s New Website”. It will neither appeal to the search engines nor the human visitors.

If your website is going to be a window to the world, it’s hard to paraphrase the proverbial teenager’s mother’s cry to something like: “Do you really want your company going out like that?”

Content is undeniably important, so why is it such a thorny problem for companies? Typically a company will be in one of two positions:

You have a website you cannot administer and you need to tell your web developers what you want to say.

You have a content managed website, and you still need to tell your web developers what you want to say.

In my experience clients with plenty of new content to add to their website are like hens’ teeth – rare. But even possessing copious amounts of content can be a mixed blessing.

Copy that works well in magazines, brochures and flyers may not work so well as web pages. Content for the web needs, by and large, to be concise and to the point (unless you have a very specialist or patient audience). Be prepared to tailor your content to suit the medium, or – if words are not your strong point – brief a copywriter on the key points that need to be expressed so that they can rework existing material as and where needed.

The fact that the web can get your business in front of someone, anywhere in the world without involving a printer or a postal system is undoubtedly a boon. But there is a difference between editorial and distribution. Just as desktop publishing made everyone a publisher but not a typographer, so content management systems can make everyone a website manager but nobody an editor.

Content management is undoubtedly a very wonderful and great thing – your website is increasingly an important first port of call for any potential business contact – and content management means it can instantly be kept up to date. But content management is the implement, not the execution. Think of it like cooking: buying the utensil doesn’t mean turning out the perfect dish. If you buy a saucepan, the shop doesn’t throw in a bag of pasta and a chef for the evening!

With content management you have a new dilemma. Not only do you have to keep the content fresh and / or growing, but you have to ensure it is portraying the right image for your business, that it is relevant, interesting and appropriate. Do you do it yourself with internal resources or do you outsource to the experts? If it’s the equivalent of one man and a teaspoon, digging your way to victory is going to be slow progress.

At the end of the day content is king and content management offers freedom to do this but is also comes with responsibility. If you are managing content you’re dealing in words, and they need skilful handling.

If you’d like help either in determining a blueprint for your website structure or creating meaningful content, contact Graham on 01323 724159

graham@wsileadingwebdevelopment.co.uk