Choosing website content

The first rule of website content is: don’t put content online just because you have it.

Think like your visitor. What are they looking for?

Web users have little patience. They’ve come to your website for information, and they need to find it easily. Extra content makes it harder for users to find what they really need.

Choose content carefully. If the copy exists somewhere else, just link to it.

Web content as conversation

Every use of your website is a conversation started by a busy site visitor. When choosing content, consider the questions they might be asking. Questions like:

  • What programs do you offer?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What jobs are out there?
  • What’s your fax number?
  • How do I see an adviser?

Not many of your visitors are going to ask, "What's their mission statement?" or "What speakers did they have five years ago?".

What are prospective students looking for?

Our surveys of high school students show that the top things they wanted to know were:

  • cost of attending (tuition, housing)
  • financial aid
  • career options, starting salaries
  • admission requirements, how to apply
  • degree requirements (what courses they need to graduate)

To learn more about choosing your content, attend a writing for the web workshop.