I've been developing content for websites for as long as there have been websites! So I've learned a few tricks along the way to make this often-arduous and always-time-consuming process easier for all involved.
My process has developed over the years as I worked on website launches that were spectacular disasters in terms of process. Lack of a clear scope of work, disorganized development, review and approval of content, missed connections with the client or web developer and lack of documentation all contributed to various failures along the way.
What I hear from the web developers I work with is: "I wish all my clients organized their content this way." Frankly, it keeps me organized too and gives me a means to share the site architecture and content with the client before it is sent to the developer.
By the way, these tips are helpful whether you are working on a client website with a developer, or working on your own website. You can never be too organized!
Learn from my mistakes and follow these 7 simple steps to organizing website content:
Step 1: Visualize the Architecture
I work with my client to define how we want to organize our content into pages. This informs the navigation of the site. My advice is to keep it simple and not suffer from "navigation sprawl." Everything doesn't need to have topline navigation. Think of navigation as "buckets" of information. Come up with top categories and drop in sub-pages beneath them. Sounds easy but many clients are over ambitious about having all content on the home page. It's counter intuitive, but it's harder to find information crammed into a disorganized home page vs. having it logically organized by category/navigation.
I set up a site map in Google Sheets and share with the client and the web developer. I use multiple tabs so that as the project moves along, I can add more information (more on that later in this post). Note that each page of content links to a Google Doc, so as I write content, I link the Doc to the Navigation Sheet. This also gives everyone a feel for the user experience of the site and how visitors might move from the home page into interior content pages. It also addresses content for the often-forgotten header and footer files.