Making content awesome

Putting faces to so many names at our Web Community@Bradford: Putting the User First event was brilliant. Even better was seeing everyone enthusiastic about working together to improve the University’s web presence.

The most important part of that is the content on the website (well, as Web Content Editor I would say that wouldn’t I!). As well as giving people tips about how to write for the web, I wanted to get across the importance of the question, “what’s the point?”.

Every piece of content on every website needs to have a point:

  • Is it there to inform, educate, entertain?
  • Is it there to sell something?
  • Is it a portal for the visitor to provide information?
  • Is it a combination of all three?
  • And, does it already exist elsewhere?
  • If it does, could it be improved rather than replaced?
Group writing on flipchart paper.

Creating content for the persona “computer-hating NHS nurse”

I was really impressed by the response to the exercise I set, where each table had just five minutes – yes, five minutes – to create a page aimed at the persona they created during Claire’s exercise, about a new product or service. We didn’t have a huge amount of time to go through all of the pages created, but in that short amount of time it looked like everyone had taken on board the need for a clear call to action, a search-friendly headline and good use – where relevant – of creative media such as videos.

Using personas to target your content is a great way to ensure you don’t fall into the trap of assuming knowledge. Never assume a visitor to your website knows the name or technical term for whatever process it is they need – make it easy for them. If they’re travelling abroad on business for the first time they don’t know the name of the form they need to fill out – they don’t even know they need to fill out a form. Think of the content from that perspective and you end up with:

Travelling abroad on University business

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Fill out this form by a deadline of…
  • Do xyz
  • Read guidelines on xyz (provided here)
  • etc etc etc.

(Clearly I have never travelled abroad on University business and have no idea what the procedure is!)

I’d love to hear your feedback, and as we’re planning to do lots more events and workshops – what would you like to focus on?

Please let me know in the comments, or on our brand new T4atBradford Slack community, where the whole of our web community can share ideas, tips, ask questions, and show off awesome content.

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