Without content, we can’t design, we can’t create tags and collections for products, and we can’t launch your Shopify store.
Websites revolve around content and the number one thing which will inevitably hold back a website launch is content. This is why we tell our clients at kickoff to start preparing content and make sure to emphasize how important it is, but that's not always enough.
There are a lot of reasons why a client may not have content ready
A website project is most often one more thing that a client has to add to their already full workload. It can sometimes be hard to find time to set aside for this extra work. This is why, as an agency, we often need to reach out.
- Maybe they’re having trouble finding the time to write
- Gathering content from other sources such as members, partners, or staff might be proving difficult
- Content writers could be suffering from writer’s block or perfectionism
- Product details may be incomplete – no photographs, descriptions, or weights
- Return policies or shipping rules might not be decided on yet
Keeping content moving along
There are definitely things that we, as an agency, can do to help clients stay focused and deliver content. Sitting back and waiting only leads to frustration and pushed timelines, and it’s our job to make sure we can avoid this.
What can we do?
Keep clients on track through regular check-ins
At our project kickoff meetings, we find a timeslot for weekly meetings that is convenient for everyone. These meetings are important because they force us to take a look at everything we’ve accomplished in the past week, what’s coming in the next week, and what we need to start getting ahead of in advance. This is also a great time to remind clients about content. Saying it frequently and insisting on its importance helps to emphasize how much content relates to everything.
Offer in-house services
We offer content writing and editing in-house, as well as photography. The plan may have been to find have an internal team member to write content but sometimes clients don’t realize exactly how busy they will be. When time is going by, it can be a huge relief to the client to know that you can take over the content.
Contact sources on the client's behalf
Offering to do the legwork and contact sources on the clients' behalf can also be a big help. Agencies can be great at being the nag that’s hard to ignore. Our reputation depends on getting quality work done on time and on budget, so we often aren’t penalized for being thorough in this department.
Make to-dos more specific
If we’re looking for a lot of different types of content, it can be useful to break out every content task into a separate to-do. If we really want to knock things off of the list then these should be as specific as possible.
- Write home page content
- Write about content
- Write product descriptions
- Write product images
- Write return policy
- Write 5 blog posts for the content bank
Provide tips for writing for the web
Writing for the web requires an entirely different style. Audiences are most often scanning quickly to find what they need. To help get over a writer's block hump and start thinking about how audiences digest content online, it can often help to share some general guidelines on writing content for the web.
- Keep words, sentences, and paragraphs short
- Cut all non-essential words
- Use lists whenever you can
- Use headings to separate ideas into digestible chunks
- Remember that a lower reading level is generally best, no matter who your audience is
Always think content first
It’s easy for clients to get caught up in the glamour of a new website and to get excited about a new design, clean navigation, and the ability to sell products. But websites are nothing without content. Try to do everything you can to stress the importance of content as close to the beginning of a project as possible. It will have the biggest impact on time and budget, and, ultimately, allow clients to start selling products sooner rather than later.