Why your website needs a content optimisation plan — and how to get started

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Our websites and digital publishing channels don’t exist just to look pretty. We created them to get stuff done, right?

We publish content on the web in order to support our users to do things they want to do, and that we want them to do. Things like:

  • purchase a product, tool, or service
  • register for an event
  • subscribe to our email newsletters
  • request answers, advice or support
  • engage with a community
  • submit feedback

Language plays a crucial role in that. The copy and content we publish makes or breaks our ability to cut through the online white noise, resonate with the people we want to reach, and positively influence them to do all of the above.

Content optimisation is the iterative process of reviewing, testing, and making improvements to your web content, so that it’s in the best shape possible for getting done what it needs to get done.

So what exactly does your content need to get done? What does it need to be optimised for exactly?

 

3 valuable goals of website content optimisation

 

When I’m talking about content optimisation, I’m talking about optimising your content for three specific things:

Search and discovery: content is findable through contextually relevant search queries and browsing behaviours.

User experience: content that is easy to understand, use, and navigate through.

Conversion: content draws attention, sparks positive emotions, and compels users to take decisive, beneficial action.

You get the above three areas performing in concert with each other, and you’ve got yourself a lean, mean, website machine optimised for success. Go you!

So how to go about forming a practical plan for measuring, testing, and improving on the above three areas?

Here’s how…

 

A 3-step website content optimisation plan

 

Step 1: Benchmark

Figure out and get consensus on what ‘good’ looks like for your website, in relation to how it supports your business goals and user needs.

Steps to take:

  • Review your business strategy and goals. What are the key priorities that your website needs to support, in order to be valuable?
  • Review existing website analytics conversion goals. Cross-reference them with your business strategy and goals. Do they align?
  • Audit and review your website content and copy, for things like SEO, clarity, structure, and persuasiveness.
  • Do some user research. Establish who your key users are, what they want, and need — via analytics, surveys, and behavioural analytics tools like Hotjar.
  • Carry out some competitor analysis. Who else is doing similar things to you, and what can we learn from their websites and digital channels?

Step 2: Hypothesise

Translate your findings into a set of recommendations, ideas and testable concepts that pave the way for website performance improvements.

Steps to take:

  • Analyse and identify key lessons and themes from your benchmarking process.
  • Produce, circulate and present content optimisation insights, recommendations, and hypotheses for improved performance
  • Produce a set of testable copy and design concepts (such as wireframes), which illustrate what ‘better’ could look like.
  • Formulate and get agreement on a testing plan, using the above copy and design concepts as a basis, including your chosen methodology (concept user lab testing, user surveys, A/B or multivariate testing on live site, etc.) and tools to be used (User Testing, Optimizely, Google Optimize).

Step 3: Test

The proof is in the pudding. Find out how your recommendations, ideas, and concepts stand up to real users by running your tests, collecting data, and acting on insights.

Steps to take:

  • Run your tests, following a robust and consistent process that collects good, reliable data.
  • Analyse testing data and translate into meaningful insights that lead to next steps
  • Review and iterate, making edits and revisions to content, as appropriate.
  • Keep going — content optimisation is open-ended…!

Benchmark, hypothesise, test.

If you’d like to get started with content optimisation for your website or any other digital channel but you’re not sure where to start — I can help. Feel free to get in touch.

Joseph Phillips

Joseph Phillips

Copywriter and content strategist

Joseph supports organisations to achieve their business goals and serve customer needs — by publishing clear, purposeful, and value-adding content, through:

  • copywriting for the web
  • web content optimisation
  • content and UX strategy consultancy

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