Content modeling checklist for Headless CMS
There are many tasks related to content modeling in a headless CMS, so it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. It’s always good to have a list of possible action points you can refer back to. This list can help you with that.
- Prepare a content strategy with your persona journeys across various channels.
- Add your and customers’ goals and possible CTAs.
- Identify friction points and touchpoints.
- Review your analytics data and list top content items and search terms.
- Perform a content audit to filter out ROT (content that is Redundant, Obsolete, and Trivial).
- Check if these analytics are enough for determining the performance of content and its usefulness to your consumers.
- Map content KPIs to company goals.
Determine the content model for your core content
- In the writing phase of structured authoring, there is no place for form. The form is not the author’s job. Identifying the semantics (the meaning and relationships) in the text is.
- Every content model is unique and consists of content types, the assembly model, and content elements.
- Content modeling is collaborative, and the best results are achieved if all stakeholders are involved (also important for the buy-in).
- Check your CMS’s content modeling toolset—content types, content items, components, content type snippets, taxonomies, guidelines, and content item variants might help out a lot if available.
- Get yourself familiar with the toolset of the CMS and try modeling different relationships (1:1, 1:N, M:N).
- Use content type snippets, linked items, components, and variants for a highly flexible model.
- Write down your core content and content types based on analytics and/or business and customer goals and add structure to them. Skip formatting & form of any kind.
- Change visual content types into semantic ones.
- Reuse what’s reusable with linked items or content type snippets (find structures that are shared across multiple content types).
- Connect content types with relationships and add validation rules.
- Identify content snippets with the same functionality/same data and merge them.
- Create a content type(s) for chunks and chunk your content items into reusable pieces to avoid content duplication. Limit nesting to a maximum of 2–3 levels if possible (this might have a significant impact on usability).
- Think about how every object will serve your internal and external stakeholders and if it should be part of the content model at all.
- Determine the persona implementation approach if needed.
- Review your analytics data to see what taxonomy needs to be applied.
- In your diagram, associate metadata categories with content types OR content attributes. If a cluster of elements has the same metadata, this may indicate reuse potential by creating a separate content item or content type snippet.
- Find metadata categories which can’t/aren’t being reused.
- Discuss how and where individual attributes and metadata will be implemented (max. 12 items per category).
- Content variations depend on the metadata, so make sure you have identified the metadata supporting these variations discovered during persona journey creation.
- Remove all not-required metadata for browsing content; optionally, add missing metadata categories at the end of the process.
- Do not use WYSIWYG elements, as it points and leads to an unclear structure. Always try to break down the WYSIWYG area into reusable elements.
- Specify how CTAs (calls to action) are implemented.
- As a rule of thumb, only use taxonomies for internal relationship purposes; all content that needs to be surfaced on the front end should be implemented via content items.
Linking the Content and Form
- Every time you consider including a form-related object into your model, discuss if the related functionality can’t be handled by the presentation or business layer instead. Consider replacing them with semantic objects (e.g., Page vs. Topic).
- The front end can be driven via taxonomies not representing the actual layout. E.g., layouts can be driven by the voice or persona metadata.
- Create your sitemap and navigation; primarily try to reuse existing semantic relationships if possible.
- Identify objects which will be displayed as “pages” and specify your SEO metadata elements for these via snippets.
- If required, define the URL implementation.
- Determine how translations are implemented.
Check the flexibility of the content model
Check what would be necessary and would break if you tried:
- Adding new elements/items/types
- Changing the order of elements/items/types
- Changing the names of elements/items/types
- Changing the structures of elements/items/types
- Deleting elements/items/types
- Use Multi-Axis Delphi Card Sorting (Business value & User value) to identify must-have and redundant metadata or content types.
- Check schema.org for missing elements and/or naming conventions.
- Check if the content design addresses friction points in your persona journeys.
- Make sure the supplied metadata categories and attributes cover your sort and filter (search) scenarios.
- Check if you can remove content creation friction for your editors.
- Divide content elements into content groups based on their purpose and permissions to help with the above.
- Content modeling is a rapidly evolving discipline, so don’t be afraid to experiment. If your model, even if it’s unconventional, supports your needs, it might be the perfect fit for you.
- A content model can be used for whatever you need. Besides websites or mobile apps, it can also serve as a build manifest for your app or a configuration tool for your internal testing processes.
- Ensure the collected analytics are sufficient for determining the performance of content and its usefulness to your consumers.
- Review if content KPIs align with company goals regularly.
- Your content publishing workflow may cover more than standard publishing steps. It can incorporate a project-like approach to content production, regular content refresh reminders, persona association reviews, KPI reviews, and others.
- Set up yearly content model audits and reviews as content models may evolve, as do yours and your customer goals.
What to read nextAre you ready to govern your content?