Structuring your content is one of the most important steps of building a site and integrating and transferring your content to multiple systems, and yet it is often overlooked. Your content architecture refers to the way all your content is organized, structured laid out, labelled and inter-connected.
A well-designed content architecture is key for two things: your visitors’ web experience and your content editors’ content management experience. Your content editors will be able to build, edit and manage content more intuitively and, as a result, your visitors will have a better user experience too!
The benefits of a well-planned content architecture
Back end experience is equally as important as end-user experience, if not more. And yet the majority of companies are primarily concerned with end-user experience. However, how your back-end is organized can have a huge impact on your front-end experience. Ideally both experiences should be optimized and in a way mirror each other.
This is where content architecture comes in. Content architecture is all about backend; how you manage content, interact with it and distribute it between all your systems. A well set-up content architecture will lead to more efficient and seamless connections between content across systems, allowing your content team to work more efficiently and according to their own workflows.
Overall, a good content architecture will improve frontend by:
- Increasing agility of your content team
- Providing them with a clean backend, which will ripple through to the frontend
- Enabling your team to more easily grow the frontend of your website over time and remain more flexible
- Empowering your content team to rely less on developers
- Increasing your CMS flexibility, enabling the easy expansion of your website and of new system integrations
- Perfectly positioning your platform for the benefits of new personalization initiatives, which are sweeping the Marketing world.
So how exactly does content architecture impact frontend and, as a consequence, end user experience? There are many ways. To start off, the easier it is for things to be optimized and managed in the frontend, the more efficient your internal workflows will be, and the more time your content editors will have to create better experiences for your customers.
Having a smooth and intuitive content architecture will also make it easier for your editors to build new pages, edit content and avoid content bugs. And it will enable editors to be more reactive to issues with customer journeys and to build better ones.
A well-planned content architecture avoids putting editors in situations where they might have to hard-code content because the backend is too complex, and allows them to rely less on developers when a change is needed, leading to faster and more efficient updates.
Good content architecture is also tremendously beneficial when it comes to expanding a website. By thinking ahead of what integrations you may need in the mid- to long-term you can ensure that these will be easier to implement and that the integration process will run more smoothly. No more complete restructurings of your website every time you need a new integration!
Finally, with personalization becoming a key player in the future of content management, a well-planned content architecture will best position you to assign personalization tags and categories across all your content.
Ultimately, optimized internal workflows will give you great benefits in the long run:
- Provide a better user experience and flow for your customers and content editors alike
- Increase the efficiency of your content management and editing process
- Ensure that information and products are delivered as quickly as possible
- Cut down unexpected costs and development time
- Ensure future expandability and flexibility as future requirements come along, from design and content changes to enhanced features
- Deliver better personalized content to your users, increasing conversions and sales
- Ensure any website reskinning process runs efficiently and smoothly
So what are the steps you can take to ensure your content architecture is effective
1. Set your goals and objectives
Thinking about your goals and objectives as you begin to structure your content architecture will have a huge impact on how intuitive and effective your internal workflows will be. Think of your key goals and ensure that your next step always keeps them in mind and supports them.
2. Map out your internal workflows
The next step will be looking at every relevant aspect of your content, from workflows that take place daily and areas that require a lot of updates and optimizations, to integrations that you might require in the future security requirements. Literally anything that could have an impact on your content management.
3. Configure your CMS
Finally, implement all these requirements during the CMS configuration process, so that it always supports your internal workflows. This is an important but complex process that will require a CMS that is highly configurable, so that it can adjust to your exact needs.