Here we will cover frequently used tools that can help you during the content modeling process.
Usually, you’ll be figuring out your core content and core content types in the initial content modeling phase. The easiest tool to use is a whiteboard with post-it notes. Use tools that allow you to frequently update your drawings, so pen and paper are not a good fit in most cases.Frequently, using mind maps allows you to flesh out the most important content model structures and relationships. An alternative to a whiteboard would be a collaboration tool – for mind maps Mural.co or Miro.com.
Review the data
If you work with existing content, check your analytics to see what content is in demand. Itʼs advised to also check relevant search terms. If you are missing this data, make sure you set up relevant monitoring on your new project. As an alternative, do a core content model workshop to identify important information for your customers.
Tables and diagrams are friends
At this point, you’d be slowly identifying content types and their elements. It’s easy to lose track of what belongs where, so you might need to switch to different tools to capture the increased fidelity of your model. A good start would be draw.io or a simple spreadsheet. Making changes at this point will be a bit more cumbersome, so don’t hesitate to double-check your designs from the previous phase a couple of times before proceeding.
Take a shortcut - reference schemas
You might think, “What do I use as a reference?” Using references is not a bad practice, but avoid a 1:1 copy as every business is unique. There is, however, schema.org website that can be used as a sanity check to make sure nothing important was missed. It’s rarely required to implement all elements mentioned for a given object, but it can be used as rough guidance in case something obvious was left out.
Main modeling principles
Continuing with the coffee example, the first step of coffee preparation is to decide what kind of coffee you are going to make. Those coffee recipes are different content types. One recipe allows you to make the same coffee over and over again, and so do content types. They allow you to create content items, instances of the content type.