So, you’re doing a website redesign. Exciting! And ... overwhelming.

While you’re at it, you might be considering overhauling your content. After all, if the new site is going to sparkle, shouldn’t the content shine as well?

Here are the top signs you need a full website content rewrite:

  1. Old: Your current website content is more than 3 years old.
  2. Outdated: The service line pages have outdated treatments or health recommendations.
  3. Bad UX: Your current website has a less-than-ideal user experience.
  4. Low ranking: Webpages are ranking below your competitors in search engine results pages (SERPs).

You've established you need to overhaul your content during this website redesign. Let’s game plan how to make the process seamless. I’ve learned a few things from working with healthcare organizations on massive website rewrites over the years so I'll use those as examples throughout, but this advice applies to any website content overhaul.

Keep these eight tips in mind to make the project a successful one.

1. Identify Potential Roadblocks – and Get Them on Your Side

There will be roadblocks. A stakeholder doesn’t like the rewritten content. Someone wants to change the sitemap organization midway through the project.

Before copywriting even starts, try to predict any challenging stakeholders. Then bring those stakeholders into the project at the beginning and educate them on the plan for the website-wide content refresh. Setting expectations upfront will help the process run smoother.

Related Article: Content Migration: 2 Problems and 2 Suggestions

2. Determine Project Roles

When rewriting your content for a website redesign, set expectations and define roles.

  • Who will work with the web team to plan and publish the content?
  • Who will ensure the copy moves from draft to final status?
  • And the biggest question of all: who will write and edit the content? At a minimum, you’ll need a project manager, writer and editor.

Anticipate project hurdles to keep the timeline moving forward. When assigning roles, delegate someone from the marketing side who can keep stakeholders in check. They can help identify and tackle these roadblocks, so the project stays on track.

3. Write for Search Engines AND People

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen is hospitals and health systems writing only for SEO purposes. Don’t try to become another WebMD. If you only focus on keywords and rankings, you’ll lose opportunities to highlight your organization's unique strengths. Plus, your content will look and read like any other website. Do you want your new content to blend in or stand out? And that leads me to number four.

Related Article: Get Your SEO House in Order for 2021

4. Highlight Your Differentiators

What treatments, procedures and accreditations does your hospital have that your competitors don’t? What sets you apart? Overhauling your content is the prime time to weave in differentiators that will engage and intrigue audiences.

For example, are you the only hospital in the region to offer a particular heart and vascular treatment? Make sure that’s loud and clear in your website content.

Learning Opportunities

Fresh content on your website is a great way to show the world those little-known (yet appealing) details about your organization. These factoids make your website unique and helpful — two essential characteristics of award-winning sites.

5. Stay Organized

Use a content tracking management system that updates in real time, such as Google Sheets/Google Docs or Airtable. This way, you won’t have many versions of the same content floating around (and you’ll avoid the confusion that comes with it). Everyone has access to the latest updates on the project without having to dig for a specific version.

6. Devote Enough Time for Revisions

Writing the first draft is only one small part of the content overhaul process. Getting it perfect on the first try isn’t likely. Factor in plenty of time for rewrites of the rewrite. Your team is pouring their energies into this content refresh, so give them the time to do it right.

Related Article: 3 Obstacles to Great CMS Migration (and How to Overcome Them)

7. Be (a Little) Flexible

Nothing ever goes 100% according to plan — even (especially!) a website redesign. Set a deadline for the content rewrite but prepare to adjust the timeline if needed. During our Aha Media website redesign, there were a few times I knew something needed to be adjusted but wasn’t sure what. My team allowed me to sit with each revision, even if it meant reworking the timeline.

8. Don’t Wait to Get Help

If your website content overhaul involves more than 40 pages, you’re going to need help. Don’t hesitate to bring in a vendor to assist with the project management, writing and editing.

A content overhaul is a huge endeavor in addition to your daily marketing and communications responsibilities. And the earlier you bring in a content agency, the better. They can develop a content audit, competitor analysis, content strategy and write the content to ensure you’re set up for success.

Our markets are always changing and evolving, so your website content must, too. If you’re embarking on a website redesign, now is the time to give the copy a refresh. You can then launch the new website knowing the content writing is optimized, up-to-date and reflects your audience’s needs.

As former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said: If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over again?

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