Most web agencies follow the same process when it comes to content. The client (you) supplies the content, then the agency (us) build the website. It makes a lot of sense to do it this way. We design around what you supply.
This means there will inevitably come a time in the process where you need to send your content to your web designer, usually in the form of a content document. There are more sophisticated (read: complicated) ways of collecting content, but most of the time they’re simply not worth the time or energy. Learning a new system is difficult. People will usually go with what they already know. Most of the time, it’s Microsoft Word.
HOW SHOULD I SET UP MY CONTENT DOCUMENT?
Here are a few tips to check before you hit send!
1. MAKE SURE IT’S FINAL
Nothing slows down the process like making large content changes after a site is already built. Small tweaks here and there are fine, but creating new pages or moving entire sections around takes time that we’ll charge you for. Making big changes to a Word document is easy. Making big changes to a website takes time. Lots of time. Time that your web developer will charge you for. Finalise your content before you send it and you’ll avoid headaches later in the process.
2. START EACH WEBPAGE ON A NEW PAGE
This might seem insignificant, but each page on your site should start a new page in your document. A website is broken up into pages, so it makes sense for the content document to be divided up the same way. This makes it much easier to scan through when we’re looking for a specific page in your document.
3. USE TWO COLOURS MAX
Use a dark colour for everything (either black or dark grey) and a brighter colour for your notes (eg. light blue). That’s it! That’s all you should need. Deciphering someone else’s weird and wonderful colour scheme takes time. If you’re content document needs a legend or a key, something is definitely not right.
4. DON’T TRY TO BE A DESIGNER
All we want is your text. If you’re trying to describe a complex element like a slider or a pop-up box, just write “POP-UP: This is the text on the pop-up”. Don’t try to ‘design’ one with Word’s less-than-spectacular drawing tools. You’ve got more important things to do than waste your time with design – that’s what you pay us to do! Shapes, diagrams and other objects create visual noise which makes your document difficult to scan. If you’re struggling to describe an element – link to an example of it or give us a call and we’ll talk about it.
5. LESS IS MORE
Only include your site content and relevant notes. Nothing more.
6. BE CONSISTENT
Keep the styling of all element types the same. Style all headings to look the same. Style all body text to look the same. Style all lists to look the same. Consistency goes a long way, especially in large documents.
7. SEND IMAGES SEPARATELY
Don’t copy and paste images into your document. This creates extra work for you (pasting them in) and us (saving them out). Word will also compress your images so they won’t come through at full size. Send images via email or another cloud-based tool like Dropbox or Google Drive.
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