In "Content Driven Websites”, content becomes the most important aspect of website production. By focusing on the content, you can create a website in a shorter amount of time that will be more effective and have a stronger design.

To create a content-driven website, follow this four-step process:

The first and most important part of creating an effective website is to establish realistic goals of what you want to achieve. Think about why you want the website in the first place. Some reasons might be:

  • Providing an introduction to your company or organization with a "digital brochure" website
  • Supporting your sales-related efforts with product information, white papers or a shopping cart
  • Disseminating information to your constituents
  • Taking donations / selling merchandise
  • Promoting your events / activities
  • Managing your files and your customers
  • Getting feedback

Don’t take this preparatory process lightly—it isn’t easy to do. Often, there are competing interests, and many day-to-day activities to keep you distracted from concentrating on the big picture. You may want the assistance of a business or strategy consultant, or a website producer.

If you are pleased with the direction in which your site preparations are going, you can move on to Step 2 - Organize your Content .

Now that you have set your goals, gather your available content and start putting it into a website editing software, which allows you to easily organize the content within the website.

Some point to keep in mind:

  • If you have an existing website, move the whole of the website over. It is a straight-forward operation to cut and paste all the pages in the existing format (without having to decide what to save and what to throw out). 
  • Create a website structure that tells the story based on the goals of the website
  • Move pages into the new structure
  • Add additional content to the website in the appropriate place
  • Add empty pages as a place-holder for content that needs to be added
  • Create content to be added
  • Add images, graphs, charts, videos as appropriate to compliment the text

Review the website from time to time. Often you can find interesting new perspectives and insight on how the website can be organized, possibly with better ways of achieving your goals or delivering a clearer message. Ask the following questions:

  • Does the content match the plan? Are we improving on the plan?
  • What are the weak areas that need work?
  • Which areas should be trimmed?
  • Has a certain aspect of the site emerged that should be emphasized?
  • Is there a better way of organizing the website based on what we have put up?

You may consider hiring a writer to help you with the content creation process. It is good to have someone with an outside perspective to write about what you do. Also, if stock photos are not sufficient for your website, a photographer or graphic designer can help.

Once you are satisfied with the content and the flow, it’s turned over to the designers to support the goals and bring the content to life.

You have now uploaded most of your content, organized it, had a few ah-ha moments in putting it together and are generally pleased with the overall flow of your website. Now you can add some spice to your message.

Review the website with your graphic designer. Show him or her how the website meets the goals that you have set for it and point out some interesting elements to which attention could be drawn. Focus on the main message, but also on other, perhaps smaller yet important bits that might peak your visitors’ interest.

The more organized the website is before you hand it over to the designer, the more freedom and space he or she will have to creatively bring your goals to life within your parameters.

On the other hand, completing the design before the content is fleshed out could substantially limit how impactful you could make that content—a better organization could be ruled out. Alternatively, a new design would need to be generated and re-implemented, adding cost to the project.

Still, the right design may not be crafted on the first try. Work together with the designer until you arrive at a design that works.

Once the design is finalized, hand it over to the technical people to move your project to Step 4 - Implement Website. You’re only one step away from a website that complies with industry standards and is search engine-friendly.

Fortunately, implementing a website is not nearly as arduous, expensive and time-consuming as in days past. Using online editing tools (also known as content management systems) such as Village CMS means that you can edit content independently of the design. In addition, templates, search engine optimization and analytics can automatically be built into the website without the editor needing to perform specific tasks.

Implementation is now often the least time-consuming aspect of building a site—it can take only few days, rather than weeks or months.

Websites can also offer multiple services such as invoicing, shopping carts, simple or complex forms, and mailing lists, all available through the use of "Software as a Service" options. From the user’s perspective these services all appear to be on one website. 

Perhaps most importantly, this approach ensures that we no longer have to burden overworked web designers or developers with simple maintenance tasks such as uploading or editing content, and editors do not have to learn complicated or inflexible software programs to update a website.

Congratulations. You are on your way to giving birth to a brand new website.

Yikesite has been designed with a content-driven approach at its core. Most of this revolves around making sure that as a web professional, you can concentrate on the content at the beginning of a project. Our Template Sites are designed using black, white and gray. So, you can get the function of what you need in a site, but you are not putting color in until your message has been refined.

Next, we make it very easy to add content to your site. Using the simple page creation, you can build out a site map of a complex website in a matter of minutes. For a given page, type in the name of the subpages and hit enter. A new page is created and automatically appears in the menu system. To edit a page, click on the edit link at the bottom of the page. Change your content. Save. Done.

Once you have the majority of pages in the site, reorganize the site to your liking. Go to the page you want to move. Click admin, then the move button. Move the page, all images, files, modules and subpages to where you want it. Again, the website menu is automatically updated. If you want to experiment with a radically different organization, you can always duplicate your site, so you can go back to where you were if it doesn't work.

Once you have your website organized the way you like it, you can now show it to a designer. They will know exactly what to do graphically to enforce the main messages of your website. Implement, and you will have one happpy client on your hands.