The following page summarises the key steps required when planning and creating content for a new website. You can download a zip file of this page and all the documents, guides and templates here:
A. Research & understanding
Understand your customers
The first step is to understand your customers - their demographics, motivations and goals for interacting with you. Document this in the Website Plan.
Recommended for medium/large websites: Even if you already have a broad understanding of your customer/audience types, you may wish to develop user personas, their primary reason for coming to your website, and their journeys through the site. You can use the User Personas, Goals and Journeys guide to do this.
Understand your competitors & landscape
Have a look at your competitors’ websites and make note of what specific pages and types of content they are using. Does the site clearly convey what makes that company special/different? Can you see how a visitor is expected to move from one page to another? Do you feel compelled to follow through on the site’s call to action? What could you do better?
Have a look at some of the other types of websites you think your users might visit. What elements of those websites make them appealing to those types of people? How could you incorporate these elements or evoke something similar on yours?
Consider starting a Pinterest board, Evernote notebook or other method of saving ideas you like into an “idea board”.
B. Content Preparation
Unless you have a small website and a clear idea of what should go where on the website, you may want to carry out a card sorting exercise to help itemise and structure your content and functions.
Make note of key functionality that your website will need, as well as any optional features/functions you may want to add later. Put this in your Website Plan.
Create site structure
Use the card sorting / brainstorming results to formulate a sitemap, in outline form.
For important/complex pages, you may want to make some sketches/wireframes or notes to accompany the sitemap.
Audit your current content
Review any existing content – either online or offline – to see whether you can tweak and reuse it.
If you don’t have something that can be used, identify where, when and who will be able to provide this and factor this into your planning.
Create/source new content
Source images or video, either internally, through image libraries, or Creative Commons. Resources for free images >
Write web pages following the Content Guidelines and using the Website Content Preparation Template, if appropriate.
C. Gather & Format Materials
Get your logo in a transparent .PNG or .EPS, 800pixels wide minimum.
Format & rename images. Photographs should be .jpg format – only use .png for flat colour illustrations with no gradients. Photos should be the following dimensions:
- Banner or fullscreen images = 2200 - 2500 pixels wide
- Images that will take up no more than half the page width = minimum 1500 pixels wide
I will compress your images to optimise the file size, so you don't need to worry about that, but in case you're interested, here are some further tips on formatting images for web use >
Image filenames should include the company name, plus supporting information such as subject matter, page or keywords, separated with hyphens:
Format & rename downloads. Ensure any PDFs are optimised for web use (eg. not too big, ideally 5MB or less). Since downloads will be stored on your customer’s computer, always use your company name and title as the filename, separated with hyphens:
Refer to the Website Checklist for other materials you may need to provide.
D. Provide Final Content
Create a folder with all the content in it, using clearly named subfolders with the content elements that will be needed, per page or per section.
Make the content available through shared Google Drive, Dropbox, or send via WeTransfer at least3 working days prior to project kick-off. This will ensure we have time to go through any questions or missing elements prior to the start of the project.
Don't panic about getting everything 100% perfect. I will work with you and make recommendations on things like page structure and navigation, so don't worry too much if you get stuck. The important thing is for me to have good quality raw materials to work with.