Content entry phase in website project

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  • bort

    This has been an ongoing problem for my company for as long as I can remember and is only getting worse as the sites we build becoming more complex.

    What I'm talking about is the process of adding content (text, images, video, forms, other conversion tools) to a new website. I feel like this phase is largely regarded as inconsequential by most because it's the most tedious and least sexy.

    Practically speaking though, especially with the sites we build, it's very, very important. Many of our clients sell experiences (travel and hospitality for example) and a big part of the website is to persuade people to visit. The most effective tools to persuade are the images and their relationships to the words (how we've arranged this content on the page to quickly engage people). This is where we struggle. We don't have anyone (besides myself and a PM) that can look at a collection of photography and video, the IA and the copy and make sound decisions on how to combine that content on the page. For us, content entry requires more than just copy and pasting.

    The client can't usually do it because a) they have no ability to choose good imagery (or resize and optimize images) b) they have no idea how to use a simple CMS (even after we provide instruction) c) the timelines don't allow for it normally

    The developers I've worked with, though good at writing code, are generally bad with words and pictures. Their poor communication skills often translates to an inability to take a bunch of text and images and arrange it on the page so it makes sense to the reader and hopefully, leads to conversions.

    We've considered hiring juniors to do content entry but it's never panned out when it comes to sites with complex storytelling and functionality. They just don't have the experience or comprehension skills to effectively assemble copy and images in a sensible, engaging way.

    How do you guys deal with this issue? Have you read any articles that address how to approach this problem?

    TL;DR: Content entry is a bitch and we need help developing a better process.

  • ********

    "How do you guys deal with this issue? Have you read any articles that address how to approach this problem?"

    i deal with this issue by employing the services of a copywriter (online/web).

  • bort0

    So you get the copywriter to select images/video, optimize them, add them to the site as well as the copy? Lucky!

  • ********

    no, but i would definitely add at least a copywriter to the list of possible candidates. since your list includes only the client himself, a developer, and a junior, i'd say that would be a good step in the right direction, for starters.

    • A copywriter is involved in most projects. They're usually of no help when it comes to content entry though. Most don't even know what a CMS is.bort
  • GeorgesIV0

    man, you need the A team,
    copywriter- intern (unpaid slave) - tattoed art director

  • colossalhead0

    I recently tried this tool on a project:

    It won't solve all your problems, but it definitely helps on the collaboration, aggregation, architecting and approval. The devs are super responsive to issues (and they seem to be making steady improvements), and while cost may seem a bit high - it easily paid for itself in time savings. It even has a Wordpress Plugin to migrate your content to that platform. Even the copywriter (who was most skeptical of the product), was won over by it.

    • Interesting. I'll check it out. Thanks.bort
  • doesnotexist0

    i've started to do this myself, personally, because it does need a lot of oversight as far what assets are being uploaded and how they're being prepared. and i typically just include it in the rate for everything, but only the initial upload so they can see how everything works.

    • don't know how a copywriter makes sense for this...doesnotexist
    • Doing it myself has been my go-to in the past. It becomes problematic for larger sites or when your workload picks up.bort
    • Plus, I'd rather not be doing content entry ;)bort
  • orrinward20

    For pure copy stuff I use String tables populated with my best guesses for copy and I've taught our copy guys how to use YML.

    Actual example...

    My front-end view:

    Where they put the copy:

    This works a charm. It's super easy and is actually quicker for us because our acceptance tests don't get broken by copy changes.

    It also makes it super easy for us in the future to make foreign versions of the product.

  • orrinward20

    I introduced this to my new company maybe 6 months ago and it's been great, but we're still the bottleneck when it comes to deploying.

    I'm looking into giving a day course to our more tech-minded copy people about how to activate tests, and then potentially turning the copy of our site into a repo they can commit to.

  • bort0

    So the best response I've received to this issue (outside of QBN) is to hire a content person. Someone that has strong planning, organization and writing skills that would be involved in the project from day one. They would assist in the IA and wireframing, wrangle content and then contribute to the content entry process.

    I like it because it makes my life easier. The downside is the additional cost for a small studio.


  • ohhhhhsnap0

    It sounds like you need an extra person bort, maybe a manager (possibly aside from the PM you currently have), who also can also double as a designer.