Website Writing Guide

Preparing the content

Re-using existing content

Many Web pages are developed using content that already exists. The content may come from existing Web pages or paper-based documents such as brochures, reports and media releases.

Web pages that merely present the same content that was written for a paper-based document are rarely as effective as they could be. This is because usually there are significant differences between the original document and the new Web page. The differences are likely to be:

  • the aims and the intended audiences
  • tone, style and vocabulary
  • scope, structure and layering of the content
  • keyword emphasis for search-engine ranking
  • hyperlinking - one of the Web's most powerful attributes.

So it’s not often that cutting and pasting content from an existing source into a new Web page results in an effective online experience for the user or meets the organisation’s aims.

How to re-work existing content

Step 1: Identify the aims and target audiences for each Web page and the keywords.

Step 2: Create headings that suit the audience, the way they use the Web and the aims of the Web page.

Step 3: Identify content in the existing source that is relevant to your headings.

Step 4: Cut and paste the content under the relevant headings.

Step 5: Edit the pasted content so that it is consistent with the rest of the content on the website, emphasises the keywords identified in Step 1 and complies with this Website Writing Guide.

Step 6: Compose new content to plug any gaps that could not be filled by re-using the existing content.

This step-by-step process will probably result in some content from the sources you are using being left on the cutting-room floor. That is to be expected: not everything in a media release, strategic plan or old Web page will be relevant to a new Web page or suitable for distribution via the Web.


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