This spring we did something I thought was completely in our wheelhouse: We redesigned and rewrote Aha Media Group’s website.
Rewriting a website? This is literally our day job. We got this in the bag. We often criticize clients for taking so long with content, but you know what? After we had a 3-month delay getting our own content in on time, I knew it was time to look in the mirror.
We are excited to show you the new Aha Media website!
What We Learned
- Ahava should not write it: The person in charge should not write the content. Yes, that person should review and edit, but he or she shouldn’t start off with the base content. Give it to a writer who can devote the time to this task—and has the distance to write about it objectively, clearly and succinctly. If all I had to do was edit, I think it would have gone faster.
- You will add pages, and the site map will shift: We originally envisioned a clean, simple site with a few pages. But as we were writing the content, we realized that we needed additional pages for SEO purposes and to fully explain our services offerings. Working with our designer on a flexible site map and information architecture (IA) was important.
- Content looks different inside of design:Duh! We know that. And yet we still balked when we saw our own content inside of the design. I really wish I knew a way around this problem, but I haven’t figured it out yet. If you have, please email me and let me know.
- Many editors in the mix is frustrating but necessary: I wanted a lot of people on my executive team to review the content and ensure it was a bullseye. Then I needed line editors for grammar. So sometimes, what I got back didn’t sound like what I had intended. Combing through all those comments took time and patience. And to be honest, it was annoying (and made the process take longer). But I knew this feedback was critical to achieving the final product I wanted.
- Done is better than perfect: Could we have said it better? Made it sharper? Were there opportunities to tighten the writing? Hell yeah! But at the end of the day we needed to finish it and lay it to rest. There’s a reason the word “dead” is inside the word “deadline.”
Looking at yourself in the mirror—and then having to write about it!—is hard. But when we came out the other side of this content project, we had a better appreciation of the process (and emotions) our clients go through.
We saw firsthand the importance of being flexible and open to new ideas as they came up. Of building in enough time for lots of back and forth among team members. And of course, of hiring trained, professional writers and editors make the content sound great!