This is an audio recording of a Skype call between Erin Kissane and myself. Erin wrote the book on content strategy so I was lucky to get her help and analysis.

By starting out with content strategy, the things that we learn here can help inform visual design choices later to come. We got a lot more from this than that, but it's good that this got to happen early in the process instead of late.

We talk about:

  • Starting with inventory, goals, and a survey to understand the readers. Here are the survey results.
  • Diving into analytics and why going in with something to prove is best.
  • Figuring out engagement through analytics / User expectations
  • Topical browsing and internal search by topic.
  • The problem we have with blog post analytics and the current URL structure.
  • Google AdPlanner Tool == useful. We use it to compare similar sites to CSS-Tricks.
  • Difficultly in getting from certain types of content to others.
  • Crosslinking, starting with the most popular.
  • Outbrain. What you might want to read next links.
  • Yoast's tagging tool.
  • Weekly posting schedule.
  • Curating conversations, "what's hot".
  • How Almanac isn't a great name (sorry Erin!)
  • Pre-posting checklist.

The file below is the result of a shared Google Doc where Erin and I worked back and forth while doing the content strategy work.

Comments

  1. User Avatar
    daniel.jeffery
    Permalink to comment#

    Erin Kissane, very impressive – i have read her book and i always hear that people talk very highly of her.

  2. User Avatar
    Mike Legacy
    Permalink to comment#

    This was definitely a hard one to get through. Only because I didn’t have anything to physically watch, so I didn’t pay attention nearly as well.

    • User Avatar
      Chris Coyier
      Permalink to comment#

      I’d recommend tossing it on a portable music player and listening in the car. That’s where I do all my best audio listenin’ =)

    • User Avatar
      Krinkle
      Permalink to comment#

      Hehe, don’t forget to watch the road ;-)

    • User Avatar
      Krinkle
      Permalink to comment#

      I was looking in the comments while listening (since there was no video to look for), but then I accidentally submitted something and the audio was gone (duh!). Perhaps we can make it submit through AJAX (e.g. a bit like on GitHub)?

  3. User Avatar
    Justin
    Permalink to comment#

    Very nice, love the casts so far.

    Unfortunately, I clicked on a link in the description while listening, and I was redirected from the page. Any thoughts?

    • User Avatar
      Darfuria
      Permalink to comment#

      Open the link in a new tab ;)

    • User Avatar
      Justin
      Permalink to comment#

      Well obviously new tab..But to be 25 minutes in to the audio and just click the link because I hear them reference it, then get navigated away, was brutal..

  4. User Avatar
    Darfuria
    Permalink to comment#

    It’s so odd to hear somebody say that you’re getting thousands of new visitors – people who are visiting CSS-Tricks for the first time. When I think of how long I have been coming to CSS-Tricks, it seems bizarre to me that there are people out there who the website is relevant to who haven’t visited before.

    • User Avatar
      john dugan
      Permalink to comment#

      Completely agree… very weird to hear about the amt of first timers.

  5. User Avatar
    Christopher Geary
    Permalink to comment#

    I really enjoyed this, I didn’t think that I would as I’ve never really looked into much depth about the content structure of a site, and how to get content to people more effectively.. This is definitely something I do want to learn, and I may consider purchasing Erin’s sometime in the near future.

  6. User Avatar
    Rodrigo Ibarra
    Permalink to comment#

    This was awesome Chris, Erin’s book it’s great too.

  7. User Avatar
    akurtula
    Permalink to comment#

    hi, great stuff. is there a way I can update my account to get the file what you are talking about of this cast.
    I am getting this “Only Bear level users have file access.”
    Thanks

    • User Avatar
      Chris Coyier
      Permalink to comment#

      Hello! Sure, yep, email me at chriscoyier@gmail.com and I can explain how it can work.

      I’m gonna bury this comment just to keep comments on track about this particular content rather than specific user access issues.

  8. User Avatar
    Maurice Cherry
    Permalink to comment#

    Excellent conversation, Chris! You definitely hit the nail on the head with regards to using analytics to help drive design and content decisions for the website redesign.

    Sometimes companies just want to try out something cutting edge without realizing how it may impact their audience (or even knowing what their audience’s behavior is!).

    I’ll definitely check out Yoast’s Tag Optimization tool — looks super useful.

  9. User Avatar
    espellcaste
    Permalink to comment#

    A really interesting interview… Content strategy is something very important in a redesign and it cleareafied a lot of thing for me…

    Thank you! Just started watching and I’m loving it! =)

  10. User Avatar
    Krinkle
    Permalink to comment#

    Is there a link or source you can mention about the “average time on site” subject you talked about (for Smashing Magazine, Wikipedia etc.)?

  11. User Avatar
    Gary Armstrong
    Permalink to comment#

    There are ways to put all the urls in a bucket from Google analytics POV. You would write a regex that excludes categories that are NOT a blog post and put them into a separate filtered profile. It will only work going forward, but it will give you something.

    The best way of doing this might be a regex that excludes css-tricks.com/[A-Za-z0-9-_ ]/ (with the trailing slash).

    Another way would be to add | Blog | in your page title and doing an advanced filter in GA that only matches that in the title.

    If you want to do redirections, I’ve done similar things, with a hard-coded list of URLs (pulled from the database) in code. I did this in C# though. PHP may or may not be more challenging.

  12. User Avatar
    Vlad GURDIGA
    Permalink to comment#

    One thing that I really want to nod about as a newcomer is your conversational tone. This is really really one thing that will keep me going through the series. :) Thank you!

  13. User Avatar
    parkerbennett

    Google’s Ad Planner tool has been sunsetted. They now steer you to https://adwords.google.com/da/DisplayPlanner/Home

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