Why WebContent2010 gets my conference budget
June 7th 2010
I’m going to a conference on called WebContent2010 tomorrow. I’ve been trying to explain to people what it is going to be about, and so I thought I’d get it down in writing before I go, to see how what I learn compares to my expectations.
Working in the web design industry, we’ve gone through all these phases of concentrating on various aspects of the process like the visual design, (and separating design from content with) HTML and CSS, user interface and experience design, information architecture, accessibility, the list goes on. But one massive area which hasn’t had so much attention is content. We are still, in 2010, letting clients copy and paste content from printed brochures onto websites.
When I worked as a front-end developer for another company, there was always a moment post-deadline, when we’d handed over a website and CMS to the client, but we were still bug fixing and tweaking and we’d look at the website and say “Oh gawd, look what they’ve gone and pasted into their About Us page” [snigger]. Followed swiftly by “Oh well, s’not my problem” as we scurried back to that all important CSS adjustment of 2 pixels.
Now I run my own company, when I see something that my client has added to the website which I think is inappropriate or which needs some other attention I’ll send them an email or talk to them about it on the phone right away. I am acutely aware that it doesn’t matter how good our design looks, how well the site is coded or how easy it is to use, if the content of the website isn’t interesting or useful or maintaining the brand identity, then the website isn’t working. I think I’ve always cared about this, but I haven’t always been in a position to do anything about it. Now I’m not in a position to to ignore it.
I have enough difficulty getting clients to pay for copywriting, so convincing them to pay for content strategy is a whole ‘nother hurdle. But it must be done at the beginning. It is always the first question you ask a new client anyway: Why do you want a website? The answer to that question lays down the foundation of your content strategy.
I hope to come away from this conference having more language to talk about content strategy convincingly to clients so I can pursuade them to invest in it. And also gain the toolset to implement a content strategy to make a successful website.