Probably the most important thing when starting a new project is the content. But in 90% of all the cases you will have problem with it. Clients can be disorganized when it comes to content nevertheless they’re building a website from scratch or providing content from the current one.
We all deal with different kinds of clients. Some are more and some are less organized. And even before you start building a website there is a problem you have to solve — content. When you work with large companies and corporations you have to deal with different parts of the company as well. If you have some luck (if this can be considered lucky at all) you will deal with a department called (pause, please) marketing department.
They usually have their own vision on how to organize website content — what is important and what is not. But, in most cases they are actually experts for print marketing and not the web. Web is somewhat different since we all try to focus on quality call to actions, microcopy and content cross–linking (among other things).
On the other hand if you deal with a smaller client they don’t have the necessary expertise to produce top quality content (in most cases). We usually try to help our clients with it and the first step is organizing it. Here is how we do it.
How to use Dropbox to organize your web sitemap
We used Dropbox for years and most of our clients use it as well. We love it for all kind of stuff (and not only content organization) but if you’d like, you can use some other online file sharing service.
First we start with building a sitemap. Every folder in Dropbox will become a page or a section.
Notice that every folder in the website root has a prefix–number. This is used to determine it’s position in the navigation. If it is not that important to you just leave it out. We usually create a folders for Home and News. These are empty folders since the home is defined in wireframes and the news are uploaded on–site. Nevertheless we realized this helps our clients not to get confused. You might also noticed a folder _notes. This is denoted with an underscore so it always shows first in the folder hierarchy and we use it for special production notes.
If you go a step further, for example you want to see what are the subpages for Jastrebarsko:
For every page that will have some static content we have this kind of structure:
- _notes are used for general notes about the current page
- photos in this case are used for storing photos that will be used on the page. Depending on the page and it’s function it’s good to have a larger photo choice so don’t hesitate to ask your clients to pick few extra photos as well.
- for storing actual content (formatted) we usually use Microsoft Word. I know, some of you don’t like proprietary software and that’s ok. You can use Libre Office instead. On the other hand you could also try Google Docs instead of Dropbox.
- if there is something else (a file) that is needed to show the final page you can upload it in the current folder, but in every situation more files are needed I like to keep them organized into subfolder. It’s your choice.
At some point you could choose to have a SEO expert come in to your project. They may be employed by either you or the client. In any case by using Dropbox it’s easy to add them in the shared folder and the only thing we suggest them to do is to add a SEO prefix to document name they’ve optimized. Some examples:
- instead About_Jastrebarsko.docx we will get SEO_About_Jastrebarsko.docx
- if you want to have more version–like control you can choose to prefix every filename with the date like this 2014-01-21–SEO_About_Jastrebarsko.docx
I hope that this tips will help you be more productive when working with clients. And remember — the best way to produce a quality website for your clients is to educate them in the process.