Define The Structure of Your Posts

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Start the content creation process with a plan in which you determine which pages and categories best reflect the needs of your target audience. This is often referred to as the 'sitemap' of a website. The structure of your pages can, for example, be based on your products or the company structure.

If your readers primarily come to your website for news, you should feature news on the homepage and not place it on a subpage.

Here's an example:

For his photography blog lichttraeumer.de, Martin Wolfert has focused the homepage on 3 important categories:

  • 1. Product tests

  • 2. Exposure technology

  • 3. WordPress Tips and Tricks

Category 1+2 have a different target group than category 3. Nevertheless, every reader finds the relevant content in a few seconds through a short description. Due to the arrangement of the categories, the photographic topics (left and centered) have a slightly higher priority than the WordPress tips - this fits well with the focus of the website.

Screenshot of the lichttraeumer.de homepage

Analysis tools such as IONOS 1&1 SiteAnalytics or  Google Analytics help you to know and understand the interests and "click paths" of your website visitors. Optimize the structure of your site accordingly with categories and pages.

Define Categories

Organize your website by creating categories and an overall page structure. For example, if you offer content for small businesses, the following categories might be useful:

  • Build your own brand
  • Maintain customer relationships
  • Sell online
  • SEO
  • Cloud security
  • Improve website performance
  • IT outsourcing

Create Pages

Here are a few examples of the most important pages on a website:

  • Home - Here you can briefly introduce your project or company by discussing the main categories. Be brief, simple and interesting so that your readers want to know more. Present a main image or several high-quality images to make the home page visually appealing.
  • About Us - Tell your readers about your project, company and team and show them what sets you apart from the competition. Where are you from, what are you doing and where are you going? 
  • Products/Services - Make it easy for your readers to learn more about your great products and services. Provide detailed product information and show what makes your products unique. Customer reviews and user stories help your readers to get to know your products and support the purchase decision. Prospective customers like to rely on the recommendations of others!
  • Blog - This can be news from development, marketing, support or the community. A blog is a great way to quickly post short articles about new products, industry news or events on your website. The blog gives your website a voice and your readers the opportunity to get to know your project or company personally and feel connected to it. Share insights, news, helpful tools and resources, and other topics that will help your readers move forward and showcase your industry expertise.
  • Contact - Offer a contact form and add your company name, address, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail address and opening hours.

Structure of Your Posts

Once you have defined the categories and pages, you can build your content to tell an informative and exciting story.

Rule of thumb: Your content must be able to stand on its own. Each post describes a story from beginning to end with a high level of detail.

If a post requires background knowledge that you cannot integrate, first create a post that provides that background knowledge. This always makes sense if the post can be reused as a source of information for other posts.

For example, if your tutorial contains a step "Upload data via SFTP", it is a good time to create a post for this sub-task.

Here are some tipos on how to structure your postsin a meaningful way.

Titles and Headings

A good title names the subject, the conditions and the plot. Like this: <What> <Conditions> <Action>

  • Positive example: Install Magento on Cloud Server under Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Negative example: Cancel the installation process that has already started.
Introduction / Brief description
  • Summarize what it is about and which methods and tools are used.
  • Give practical reasons why the post is useful to your reader.
  • Define the goal: What has your reader achieved at the end of the tutorial?

An example of a motivating, clear short description:

The module 'mod_deflate' allows compression of HTML and CSS files and reduces the amount of data transferred by up to 70%. The result is shorter loading times for your website.

Prerequisites

Create requirements as a continuous text (1-2 requirements) or as a checklist.

The typical requirements are often:

  • Tutorials with basic knowledge. For example: "Adjust DNS settings" or "Upload data via SFTP".
  • A specific contract type/features
  • User rights/access rights
  • Internal and external tools

Example:

To activate mod_deflate you need:

If certain tools are needed, always offer a checked download link directly. External links will be opened in a new window/tab.

Plot

Guide your reader through a tutorial using a concrete example. At the end of the tutorial your reader should have successfully played through the example himself. If possible, choose your examples so that your reader can build on them.

Actively formulate all steps and combine them with meaningful examples. The reader must act to be successful:

Step
  • Correct (active, the reader must act): Insert this code at the end of the .htaccess file.
  • Wrong (passive, unclear who acts): This code must be inserted at the end of the .htaccess file.
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/xml text/x-js text/javascript text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml application/xhtml+xml application/x-javascript application/javascript application/json
Intermediate Result

Ensure that your posts are easy-to-understand and user-friendly!

If you post a lengthy tutorial, offer support with intermediate results after each intermediate steps. This helps to test the reader's success and serves as motivation to continue. The intermediate result summarizes what your reader has achieved and what information is needed for the next steps.

Here's an example:

You have now finished setting up the MySQL database. All information about your database can be found in the database overview. Please save the following information:

  • database name
  • database user
  • password
Result / Conclusion

Briefly record what your reader has achieved and show your reader the next steps.

This article was published on 24 Oct 2018 by sebastian.zientek as part of the topic Content Marketing ###ARTICLEINFO_SENTENCE_END###.