Step 3: Give your content a makeover
The new CMS allows for more flexibility and diversity of content – giving you a fantastic opportunity to get your message across in a variety of engaging formats.
Make your content search engine friendly
To do this you need to get into the heads of your audience members and define their keywords.
Keywords are the words/phrases that you would expect users to type into a search engine to find the information you are displaying on your web page. You should assume that this is someone brand new to the site. What information are you providing? How would a new user search for this in google?
For example, if your web pages are about promoting summer photography courses for students, you might expect the user to type a combination of the following words into google to find your website:
Once you have decided on the right keywords/phrase to describe the information on the page, you need to make sure that your webpage actually uses these keywords in its content. This will help a search engine match a user search with the right page on your site.
The most optimised pages do the following:
- Keywords included in the first words of the page title.
- Keywords used as headers.
- Keywords are found in the body content more than twice.
- Images on the page employ alt text that includes the keyword.
Top-tip: While including keywords will point google towards your site, its complex algorithms mean it will only rank sites highly that provide valuable content. Content is king! The simpler and easier you make your site for people to use, the better the user experience and the higher you will appear on a search.
Keep your audience in mind
The content of your web pages should be focused on the needs of the user. When revamping your content you should be aware of your main audience(s) and the best way of communicating this information to them. Things to consider include:
- Tone: what is most appropriate? Authoritative, informal, conversational?
- Level of knowledge of the user. Are they likely to be very knowledgeable (e.g., fellow researchers), or are they uninformed?
Adapt your style for the web
There is a host of information to help you optimise your content for the web on the web guide but here are some top tips to remind yourself of.
- Less is more: Make your sentences short. Find the essence of what you need to say, and cut everything else.
- Layer the information: Put brief summaries at a high level on your site, linking to detail at a deeper level. Users will keep clicking through for more details if the trail is clear
- Call for action: Use action words, and not just labels when writing links. E.g., Order your copy of our MSc brochure or Listen to our podcast.
- Write visually: Use sub-headings to support scanning. Web users read in short chunks, getting enough info to make a choice, move on or take an action. Use lists to break up content.
- Avoid acronyms: Avoid using Imperial-only acronyms that may alienate your user. Even if your pages may be aimed at an internal audience, if the page is public other users will be able to view it.
- Show, don’t tell: Photographs on your website can support or enhance your message. Instead of writing long paragraphs to describe what something looks or feels like, try and capture it with an image. For more information, see our photo guidance pages.
- Broadcast it: Link to your webpages from social media sites such as twitter, facebook, Instagram. To get started, see our social media guide
- Accessibility: Make sure your site complies with accessibility rules (PDF)
Now you can proceed to the final stage of the heathcheck.