What is content architecture?

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    Can your website visitors find everything they’re looking for when they come to your home page? What about the details that were published to your mobile app? Are they clean and organized so that the app is easy to navigate? If the answer to these questions wasn’t yes, you might have a problem with your content architecture.

    Content architecture is a critical component of the user experience, which directly impacts the popularity of your business and its potential to get sales. Most top-performing sites are easily scannable and tailored for quick content consumption as they have good content architecture. In this article we’ll define content architecture and explain why your organization needs it, plus what happens if you don’t have it.

    Content architecture defined

    Content architecture refers to the way content is organized and structured. It ensures that content is presented efficiently, logically, and consistently and creates order and support for the user experience. By creating a clear structure that can be followed, you can make the lives of your content team much simpler and improve the experience for the end-consumer as well.

    Your content architecture is essentially the backend of your content strategy. While the frontend focuses on the style of your content, customer personas, and how everything maps to the customer journey, the backend focuses on other components such as your content models, metadata, and how things are structured within the CMS.

    Elements of content architecture

    Here are some of the key backend components that make up content architecture:

    Content models: A content model provides the process for documenting the various types of content associated with your brand and its content attributes and defining the relationship between them.

    Metadata: Data that provides information about other data, in this case, the content on your website.

    Taxonomy: The way that content is classified and organized so that it can be easily searched and discovered.

    Wireframes: A two-dimensional illustration of a page showing how space is meant to be allocated and how content is arranged on a page. A wireframe is essentially a sketch or blueprint meant to simplify how content elements are related.

    Why your organization needs content architecture

    For businesses that want to navigate the vast digital ocean successfully, content architecture can be a north star that guides your brand. Here are a few of the benefits of content architecture:

    It helps avoid messy and disorganized content

    Having content architecture in place allows you to keep your content organized and provides guidelines that can be followed. When you have a new landing page that needs to be created or a microsite to be added for a localized campaign, content architecture can provide a structure for your developers and designers to follow so that content is well structured. This prevents your brand from having messy and disorganized content that slows down campaigns and frustrates marketers.

    You can reduce content gaps

    When your content team has finished creating a piece of content, they might forget something that enhances the user experience. We’re all human, after all. Content architecture helps you fill gaps that might crop up and ensure that your content is logically organized and meets all of the requirements that a visitor might want. For example, content architecture can ensure that a blog post has a CTA to guide visitors to the next stage of the funnel, or a downloadable whitepaper includes a preview summary to entice your audience to read it.

    Improves collaboration

    Content architecture provides a visual element to the backend parts of your content strategy, which helps to improve collaboration. As a result, developers, designers, and content authors can efficiently work together to identify how content will look on a page and what’s required to produce the best content for visitors.

    What happens without content architecture

    We’ve outlined the benefits your business can gain by having a sound content architecture. But what happens if you don’t have one?

    User experience is negatively affected

    Content architecture affects how content looks on different pages or devices. Without it, you might publish the best-written piece of content ever created, but what your user sees ends up being a jumbled mess with too much unused space or misaligned elements. Content architecture has a crucial impact on the user experience and can be the difference between a visitor staying on your website or going to a competitor instead.

    Personalization is challenging

    Personalization is crucial for most customers today, but your content needs to be organized properly if you want to achieve it. Your content may be messy and unstructured without content architecture, making it hard to personalize for different audiences.

    Omnichannel isn’t possible

    An omnichannel content strategy requires you to seamlessly connect multiple digital touchpoints and provide visitors with the same experience on each channel. For such a strategy to work, you need to be able to publish content to multiple devices. Without content architecture, you could struggle to achieve this, as your content models may only be tailored to one channel. Plus, when new channels are introduced, you won’t be able to adapt your content strategy to them.

    Storyblok: How a headless CMS helps build content architecture

    To build an effective content architecture, you need the right tools and processes to support it. A headless CMS can be the ideal solution for businesses that want to adopt a content architecture to meet the requirements of our multichannel world.

    Storyblok is a headless CMS that helps you organize content as you see fit while supporting the developers and marketers critical to your content architecture. With a component-based approach, it’s easy for developers and designers to work together to create layouts for any channel. Marketers can then create content once and publish it to every digital touchpoint without relying on developers to assist them. You can easily define a structure for your content and create templates that can be mixed and matched for a specific audience.

    Storyblok’s flexibility also makes it easy to create customized workflows that improve collaboration between internal teams, enabling them to work together to create the content-driven experiences that their customers want.

    See how Storyblok can help you build digital experiences for any device by having a look at Creating Omnichannel Experiences through DXP.