User Experience, commonly known as UX, is usually associated with visual design. When asked for examples of UX design, most people would talk about interface design and testing. These people forget that content also greatly influences the overall user experience.
Attempting to create a pleasant user experience for bad content is a futile endeavor, which is why every UX design process should be complemented by a sound content management strategy. In her book titled Content Strategy for the Web, Kristina Halvorson describes content strategy as “an achievable roadmap for individuals and organizations to create and maintain content that audiences will actually care about.”
In this article, we are outlining 6 ways how you can improve the user experience of your website through content strategy. With them, your readers will be able to enjoy useful and usable content that’s well structured, easily discovered, and highly relevant.
Find the Right Content Management System (CMS)
Your content management system must suit your content. It doesn’t make sense to select a CMS made primarily for short-form articles and pictures if you want to post feature-length articles with detailed statistics, citations, code blocks, and multiple illustrations. Some content management systems can be maintained even by people with no background in programming, making them suitable for smaller teams with no IT experts.
Modern content management systems contain many extra features, from web analytics to digital marketing post scheduling. These features can help you realize your content strategy and publish highly readable content on a regular basis. Without a suitable CMS, your content strategy will be undermined from the very beginning.
Hierarchically Organize Your Content
Just about every user experience designer is aware of the importance of breaking down information into clearly defined sections. By allowing users to access content in a hierarchical way, you make it easier for the user to find relevant information. Properly organized content also improves readability and aids with comprehension.
Don’t be afraid to venture beyond wireframes into the realm of user pathway testing. Modern users are impatient because they know that the information they are looking for is most likely available on several websites. One or two extra clicks it takes users to get to the right page could be the difference between a high bounce rate and high conversion rate.
According to the Plain Writing Act of 2010, all US federal agencies are required to use plain language whenever they communicate with the public. The FDA states that “writing in plain language helps readers understand the content in a document the first time they read it.” This is, of course, nothing new to editors and copywriters who have read The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. from cover to cover. The thin style guide has been preaching the merits of brevity and clarity since it was first published in 1920.
One of the main UX design principles is the ability to maintain a certain flow. A clearly written article that makes a good use of cohesive devices and visual formatting helps readers digest the information it contains.
Keep a Consistent Tone
The tone of your content should reflect the values of your organization or business. This is easy to achieve when your website features just a handful of articles written by a single person, but it becomes much more involved when you have to deal with multiple content publishing channels and a whole team of copywriters, social media experts, and editors.
To avoid inconsistency, it’s best to create a style guide for everyone to follow. It should clearly state your core message and goals, specify which style is appropriate, and instruct writers and editors how to handle common stylistic problems.
Optimize for High Conversion Rates
Look at a handful of content marketing examples, and you’ll quickly learn that a prominent call-to-action is a key to high conversion rates. This and many other techniques can be incorporated into your content strategy. Find out what keywords attract the most visitors and create content around them. Offer your users as much value as you can by trying to solve their problems instead of always talking about the bigger picture.
Think About Discoverability
The arrival of a visitor on your website should be just the beginning of a much longer journey. It’s your job to figure out what your visitors need and find a way how to present the information to them. Make your website smart so it can automatically suggest related articles based on what your visitors are currently reading. With big data analytics, the world is your oyster. You can create detailed maps of your visitors’ journeys, see which articles are most popular, learn exactly when visitors become bored with your content and leave, and much more.
Augustin Kendall argues that “good UX is all about getting out of the user’s way.” Users who visit our website already know what they want to achieve and your job is to guide them along the way without them even noticing. Good content focuses on its subject matter, instead of drawing attention to itself.