27/03/2018

3 basic steps to create content hub

How to create a good content hub? Even though it’s not an easy task, it’s certainly worth attempting. A well-managed content platform will work for our brand and its success in long-term perspective, at the same time building user engagement, brand awareness and website traffic. What do you need to remember while creating a content hub? Here are 3 fundamental steps to achieve this goal.

 

1. Goal and strategy

Think about it; what do you wish to achieve through your website? Maybe all you need is to update your current one? You have to define your goal; whether it’s information distribution and, if that’s the case, who is supposed to receive it: the media or a particular customer; perhaps your goal is lead generation or product/service sales? Do you want to gather a new audience or engage the existing recipients? Consider all pros and cons, list the possible trouble spots; think about potential threats and benefits of the project. Conduct the SWOT analysis, consult it with your partners. You have to define a clear goal of your website and its assumed impact in business or social surroundings.

How will you measure the effectiveness and report the results? As soon as you define your goals, the next step is to think about how and when to reach them. Consider the time frame, divide the project into stages. This way, thanks to smaller steps, it will become easier for you to reach your goal. Each stage will bring you closer to the finish line.

When you define your goals and strategy, it will become easier to refer to them and verify any doubts; for instance, when at a later stage it turns out that your website has more sales elements rather than information.

2. Name and domain

Having defined the strategy frame, define the name of the website and choose the domain. Surprisingly, this might be the most difficult stage. A good name and domain are just like a good advertising slogan or a book title. This is what SEO as well as good copywriting rules come down to. Remember such classics as “Coke is it!” or “Just do it?” The name has to stand out; it’s got to be characteristic, easy to remember and type into the search engine. How to do it?

Apply the same rules which you would follow while creating a new brand or a unique product. According to Seth Godin’s advice from his brilliant book titled “Purple Cow,” you’ve got to create something special. Something impossible to miss; something exceptional, interesting, intriguing.

Oftentimes you might realise that you need to combine creativity with numerous imposed requirements and rules. What you need is a compromise. Think about your brand identity and character; regardless whether it’s a company or an organisation, a product or a service. Look into the company brandbook, if there is one. That’s where you will find any limitations or framework which you need to consider for your website.

Consider whether the name and the domain do not clash with the company profile. Perhaps your goal is to change the current image? Will a long and fancy campaign name look good on mobile devices? In order to avoid any misunderstandings and unpleasant surprises, you have to find answers to these questions.

Don’t forget to check whether your catchy name viewed as a URL without Polish language characters doesn’t get a new, unwanted meaning. It’s very easy to score an own goal!

Remember that your website and domain do not have to share the same name. However, by unifying the name, you’ll make it easier for the users to find your website. Also, bear in mind that you cannot extend the domain reservation onto the next period; you have to buy it, otherwise you will lose it.

 

3. Content and context

Organise your offer, or the information you wish to post, into categories. Define the ones you already have and those to introduce in the future. Arrange them according with various criteria, e.g. alphabetically, chronologically, or by degree of importance. And this is just the beginning.

When you’re done with categorisation, ask yourself the following question: what are people looking for online and how are you going to provide it? Is general and boring information about the company, or a collection of old press releases, really that important? Draw the context map. When you finish, you’ll be halfway through; that’s your outline of information structure.

Draw it on a piece of paper, then transfer it to PowerPoint or Canva, give it a shape of a tree or a  ladder. Start from the main page and add all the other elements; this will enable you to see the size of the website. Then, mark the links between particular elements. Which of them should be connected and why?

When you have your diagram, no matter whether it looks like a star, a hedgehog or the London underground map, review all the elements. Are all of them really necessary; are any of them repeated? Can each of them easily take you back to Home page? This template or diagram is the beginning of the website architecture.

Now it’s time to allocate the content, assigning it to particular sections or subpages just like you would do with closet shelves or storage units. Match them with your tabs and mark the shortest and most intuitive way to find any desired content. Don’t store the basic necessities in the attic or basement; don’t put the washing powder into the fridge because no one is going to look for it there.

While drawing your website architecture template, don’t get fixated on what you want to sell or communicate to your visitors; instead, think about what they want to gain while visiting. If their goal is to purchase something, your products or services should come first. However, if your website is informational, you have to make sure it features interesting content which will attract and retain the users, leading them deeper into the website.

When you finish drawing the website architecture template, you can use it as foundation for your sitemap. How to create it?

First, create a Word document. Prepare the website menu, all the key tabs and their locations. You can also mark the subpages; don’t forget the SEO as it affects the online visibility. The URLs should be short and clear; they should not include Polish language characters. Stick to the following scheme: Home page → Subpage → Article. Create hyperlinks which will lead to the right elements on your website.

Separate the internal links from the external ones which will lead outside your website. Mark the ones not to be indexed by search engines. This way you’ll prevent driving the traffic out of your website as well as duplicating content; instead of duplicating certain texts, make sure to connect them by links. Leave some space for “Home” button, search box, sign-in/up forms,  the legally required information such as the cookie policy template, and any other forms.

When you’re done with describing the strategy, choosing the name, registering the domain, categorising the content, designing the architecture template and the site map, you can move on to the next stages, such as designing the layout and coding. However, that’s another story and we’ll get back to it some other time.

Want more? Check out our other articles at http://www.multipr.pl/eng/blog/your-audience-has-a-task-to-complete-help-them-by-publishing-valuable-content and http://www.multipr.pl/eng/blog/what-is-a-digital-hub .

  Piotr Durski, Content Marketing Manager in Multi Communications

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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