Your business needs a website. You know it – and apparently so does everyone else you are talking to lately. You have started noticing what you like and don’t like about other websites, and have a pretty good list of ideas brewing. Now you are thinking, “it’s time to find a web development agency and get started”. We suggest no, perhaps not quite so fast.

Why? Well, because one of the very first things a good agency will do is ask for your content. “Can’t we get started on the website design, and I’ll get you the content soon?” you ask, “I’ve got a long list of cool features I want my website to have.” If you’ve found an agency who wants to work with you to bring all your dreams to fruition, the answer may likely be yes. A really good agency, however, will strongly caution you that starting on the design of the website without content will extend the amount of time it takes to finish. The adage ‘time is money’ holds true – opting to initiate site design without content will definitely cost you more.

One of four things happen when an agency designs pages with unspecified content, and after that you provide them with content that doesn't exactly fit:

One of four things happen when an agency designs pages with unspecified content, and after that you provide them with content that doesn’t exactly fit:

  • They’ll ask you to trim down what you wrote ( = more of your time)
  • They’ll ask you to expand on what you wrote (= even more of your time)
  • They’ll cram what you wrote into the design, making it look less than optimal (= a reduction in your site credibility)
  • They’ll need to redesign aspects of the site to fit your content (= more of their time +  ballooning project budget)

That said, within a typical website design process, you should certainly expect to have more than one round of design. Additional design rounds, however, should not be required simply to make afterthought content fit. It is most favorable to go into the design process having already thought through your content. This saves time, and in turn, results in a less expensive, more efficient, overall process.

At this point, you may find yourself in a quandary about how to produce content quickly and freshly. Enter the ghosts of your past. Perhaps, like many of us, you were the student who sat looking at a mostly blank page day after day, with the essay deadline rapidly approaching, managing a paragraph or two now, a sentence or two later, only to finally finish up in a bleary-eyed whirlwind the night before it was due? At that point you were too desperate to stop writing even though you suspected it only made partial sense, and too fearfully relieved when it was all over to care to reread it for so much as punctuation errors. Did you even put a period on the last sentence?

Now your web agency wants your content before they even begin designing your website? How the heck are you going to pull this off? And it’s not just Mrs. Tueller-Stone who’s going to read this – this is going out to the whole world! You’ve somehow got to be competent, compelling and fresh (not to mention all those other things Mrs. T.S. tried to teach you back in the day). Should you pull out your notes from that class? Wait, were those among the ones you burned in the glorious bonfire at the end of the year?

It’s okay, go ahead and wave away all those ghosts from your past. This is not as difficult as you may think, as long as you have a quick and dirty method to get it all done.

Learn our quick and dirty method for generating content in our next post: Quick and Dirty 2: Competent, Compelling, and Fresh

Contact us for a consultation and we'll scare up some great content together.