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Thought Leadership, Best Practices, Insights and Examples

  

Make-or-Break Content Strategy Moments for Your Local Government Website

by Jessica Terashima
Post Date:02/16/2016

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 Whether you’re embarking a long-term redesign, or trying to scope small changes, there’s always an opportunity to use Content Strategy principles to improve your customer experience. But there are certain points in your website’s lifecycle where Content Strategy can be the make-or-break difference in the success of your website.

Content Strategy is all about deploying the right content, in the right amount, to the right people at the right time. It requires that you look at your content from the user’s perspective and understand the conversation that your content creates. This approach can foster improvement at any time, but is especially crucial when redesigning a website and migrating content.

Brand New Site, Bad Old Copy?

If your organization is going to invest the time and money it takes to design a new website, it’s worth the extra bit of effort to make sure that the copy you have still makes sense, is formatted correctly and is organized according to your new site navigation. Have you ever visited a slick municipal website with empty pages or pages full of unformatted legalese? These sites represent a wasted opportunity, essentially delivering a piece of coal wrapped in a fancy bow. While it’s great to have a beautiful website, your customers will be left unsatisfied if the content doesn’t work.

Content and Design That Work Together

The City of San Marcos, CA website’s focus on good content strategy shows in the details. For example, they made sure that task-oriented pages like the Business Licenses page are easy to read, understand and the action options are clear. San Marcos’ resident-oriented approach makes it more likely to engage and delight citizens.  

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Just the Fact Ma’am

Trash collection information – what’s your collection day, when will there be closures, what do I do with unusual or hazardous items – are common, yet easy to overlook questions most city residents have. The City of Culver City, CA incorporated good content strategy into their new design by adding a Trash Services action button on the homepage and creating a dedicated Recycling & Trash Services page with those key pieces of information depicted with easy-to-digest tiles, rather than a long confusing page covering all facets of local waste management.   

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The Trash Collections page provides a contact phone number at the top of the page and clearly states when trash will not be picked up. There is also a link to a handy Trash Collection map.

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Plan Ahead, Finish the Job

When thinking about a website redesign, it pays to consider your content before completing your design. That way you can make sure your content works in harmony with your visuals to offer residents a simple and seamless experience. Vision offers Content Strategy premium services as well as additional resources to help you master this vital element of your website, at any stage in the game.

 

Are you communicating effectively on your website? Does your website content engage your community? Download a quick checklist to help ensure that you'r content is clear, concise and understandable.  

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