How to Find the Most Important Pages on Your Website

If you attended our Planning and Writing Web Content training you’ll recall we cover the topic of core pages during the day. These are the most important pages on your website.

We know that more than a few people struggled to identify these core pages on their own sites. Especially once they’d left the cosy confines of our training sessions, with one of our content officers on hand to help out…

It’s not an easy concept to master as many of our websites are split into sections that could arguably all be seen as important. But here’s a method you can easily follow:

Start with a purpose

Traditionally, websites were created at the University because there was a service, a school, institute, centre or whatever. Sites existed simply because they could – so they often didn’t start with a well-defined purpose.

No one stopped to ask ‘what are we trying to achieve with this website?’

The downside to this is if websites don’t have a defined purpose, then they can literally host ANYTHING. Sorry for shouting, but it’s true. Thousands of pages of unrelated content, hundreds of pictures, videos, power point presentations, blah blah blah – you name it, we’ve seen it.

It’s better to focus on your audience’s wants and needs.

So we have a specific undergraduate website, rather than a Marketing and Student Recruitment site with undergraduate content.

Create your site purpose

  1. List your website users/audiences. For example potential staff, media, international students, researchers.
  2. List the tasks your users come to your website to do. For example contact staff, apply for a course, check event times.
  3. Think about the business goals your website is supporting. For example, recruit staff, encourage collaboration, share news, advertise courses.

These lists are your new BFF and invaluable, they’ll form the basis of your site purpose statement.

Identifying your core pages

The next step is to identify those core pages that will support your site purpose.

Start with your list of user tasks and your list of business goals. Your core pages are those where these two elements meet – where your user can complete a task and you can convey your message.

For example, on a school site users often want to contact staff. One of our University-wide business goals is to enable collaboration, so our staff profile pages are core pages.

Another core page example would be a page about a CPD (or any) course. Users want to know what, where, when and the cost – we want them to apply, contact us, sign up – our business goals.

This exercise combined with data from analytics to show your most visited pages can help you identify your core pages quite easily.

Now you know…get going!

Set aside a few moments to make those lists, and use them to identify your core pages.

We can even help you plan content for these VIP pages. Download a core page template from our website. It’s straightforward and quickly helps you focus on what should/shouldn’t be there.

You can even use your core pages to prioritise what work to tackle next on your website.

Let your core pages help you decide what’s important and what’s not.

Once you know who you’re creating your website content for, and understand what they want to do/know – focus effort on these core pages and by default, you’ll create a better website.

Related posts

How to Use the Core Model to Improve Your Web Content

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Expert Approval for Our Content Strategy

Our team has successfully implemented two huge content strategy projects (Undergraduate and more recently Postgraduate) yet we’re always looking to improve our skills in this area. Lisa and I attended the latest Nielsen Normal Group (NNG) training on Content Strategy to pick up even more pointers.

We weren’t disappointed. It was a really inspiring and practical course, full of great ideas for techniques to help with content creation, and client buy-in.

We came back fired-up with loads of ideas to improve our processes and firm up our strategy – I left with a long ‘to do list’.

And the even better news? Turns out that by following the guidance from NNG and other experts in content strategy, we’ve done a fantastic job at the University, and we can take pride in what we have achieved so far.

Approval from the experts

Affirmation from a room-full of content professionals that the work we are doing is; absolutely the right thing to do to improve our websites, pretty advanced and even admired – followed by requests to share our best practice with others…well, wow!

It sure felt like a pat on the back from our peers that understand what we are trying to achieve, and a real boost to the team just when we needed it.

Top five tasks on our content strategy ‘to do list’

So, on to our to do list, here’s just the top 5…

  1. We’ve created a really good content strategy for Postgraduate – now we need one for the rest of the University
  2. Apply content strategy to our content strategy – pull out the top five principles and use them everywhere as keywords in our communications
  3. Create a University-wide tone of voice
  4. Use the results of our content audits in a more visual way to help colleagues see the benefits of our work, and the improvements made to usability, readability, accessibility etc
  5. Share Google’s outline about how to get good search results – and how we already do this in our content guidelines, and the training we deliver

Discover for yourself

If you’re interested in where we got our content strategy inspiration from – and more importantly why content strategy is so important for websites – there is a wealth of guidance available.

I’d recommend ‘Content Strategy for the Web’ by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach. It’s a really easy read, and pretty much a step by step guide that has lived on my bedside table for many a month.

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Introducing Our New Website Media Management Training

In our team update from 1-14 October you will have seen a mention of a new module we’ve added to our Go Mobile training: Website Media Management. We developed this in response to requests from the first cohort of Go Mobile editors for more help managing images.

Our training on planning and writing web content, and using the T4 content management system, cover some of the ways images can be used in the new template. The new media training takes things a step further. It covers:

  • when to use images
  • sourcing images
  • selecting images
  • preparing images for publication
  • best practice for documents
  • uploading assets to T4’s Media Library

Sourcing and selecting images for your website

The primary source for images for your website should be the University photo library. In the library you can:

  • browse or search for photos
  • save relevant images to your lightbox so you can easily find them again
  • download the approved University logos
  • access student profiles

In the training we cover some tips for getting the most out of the photo library. These include using multiple lightboxes, browsing by keyword and viewing all photos from a selected photographer.

When it comes to selecting images, we provide guidance on how to select images for the four core themes identified in the University branding guidelines; student experience, sense of place, teaching and learning, and research.

The most important thing for image selection is to choose photos that are natural or appear to be observed, rather than staged. That means nobody looking directly into the camera!

Editing images for use on the web

We recommend that our editors use the free, online photo editing tool, Fotor. Its clean user interface makes it easy to upload, crop and resize images to the required dimensions.

Even if you have access to Photoshop, if you’re not a regular and proficient user it can be overwhelming. Fotor is a straightforward alternative.

I wrote a post earlier in the year that includes advice on editing images for use on your website.

Feedback from attendees

There have been three sessions so far, with more to follow in December. The feedback has been very positive:

‘Great information on the use of appropriate images in terms of context on the web page’


‘Really useful advice on when to use images and how to select the most appropriate ones’


‘Good to get practical, hands-on opportunity to edit and save images’


Further information

For Go Mobile editors, you’ll find lots of guidance on using images on our demo site.

Not yet part of the Go Mobile programme and want to improve the imagery on your website? Get further information from the image guide on our website (University login required). This includes a step-by-step guide for using Fotor.

And I’m always happy to take questions in the comments.

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Go Mobile: the Story So Far

Our Go Mobile programme is up and running: 17, yes 17 (!) sites went live in September.

Phase 1 (our ‘beta/test/is this even possible’ phase) was a success. And because of this, we’re going to carry on and put the rest of our external-facing website through the programme.

Go mobile explained

Go Mobile is a project to make our website mobile responsive. This means it works on desktop computers as well as tablets and mobile phones.

But we’re not making things easy for ourselves. As well as adding a responsive design we’re also:

  • improving content – rewriting for mobile
  • updating assets – our new design needs higher quality images to support content
  • moving to a new content management system (TerminalFour – T4)

You can see some examples in action:

Oh no! Why have they changed everything?

Some of our feedback, particularly from University staff, has been unhappiness that we’ve changed or moved things. Remember we’re doing this for the greater good!

Our websites now work just as well on mobile as on huge desktop screens. Go Mobile is about improving access for all.

Key developments cover navigation, design and content


How you move through pages needs to be simpler and easier for mobile (smaller screens). Navigation is improved for those using desktops too. We’ve made sites shallower and removed redundant content.


Design enhances your website but doesn’t rule it. We’re always thinking about what our users want from the web content. For example, we’ve made sure that images are impactful and support our messages. But we’ve made sure that our template prioritises for you: on mobile, images shrink and drop under content.


Text for mobile is written in short, easy to read paragraphs.  This helps when it’s stacked for smaller mobile screens.

We’ve also introduced styles like the introduction which helps to focus the point of the content on the web page. It’s allowed us to firm up our content standards. A paragraph should be around 20 words because this works better on mobile.

Even though this is part of writing for the web/writing for mobile, a lot of our changes are just about good writing generally.

So, how did we do it?

By magic of course! Well actually, a whole lot of design, technical and word wizardry.

We worked closely with colleagues in our IT Service (NUIT) as well as those in schools, faculties and central services.

We developed a brand new suite of training for our web editors. This covers editing in the new system, writing for the web, defining site objectives and using media (images and videos). We also introduced various tools to help you evaluate and improve content.

Find out what our web editors thought of the Go Mobile process.

Next steps

There are exciting times ahead. We’re turning attention to Phase 2. This is where we take the rest of the external website through Go Mobile. We’re planning to do this between January and December 2016.

It’s going to mean a lot of change for the team:

  • Agile ways of working
  • focused, time-bound project cycles to get through all the sites
  • extra staff
  • new office space

It’s going to mean a lot of commitment from our faculties and services. We need staff dedicated to developing their websites working with us and giving time for training on writing best practice and the new content management system.

We’d love to hear your comments on what we’re doing. Either comment here or use our feedback form.

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Reflections on Go Mobile Training – a Guest Post by Ivan Lazarov

This is the second in a series of posts giving you an insight into the Go Mobile programme from the perspective of a web editor.
Ivan Lazarov
Ivan Lazarov is a Public Relations Assistant in the Press Office. His work involves a range of projects, including the International Research Impact campaign, raising awareness of the outstanding work carried out at the Careers Service, helping promote entrepreneurship stories, developing publicity opportunities in India and creating video content.

As part of Go Mobile he is editing the Press Office and Research websites.

Key take-aways from Go Mobile training

I changed my attitude towards creating and publishing content thanks to the Go Mobile training. It helped illustrate the importance of a structured approach prompted by the evolving media production and consumption. Starting with analysing the website data, through to having a hard look at your content to some great tips and ideas. The training covered all aspects that help publishers deliver key messages and engaging content.

I learned a lot of new skills, but I must admit that I still need to look at cheat sheets when editing. Hopefully, this will change soon. The Top 5 Tips for writing for the web are excellent. I refer to them even when I’m not creating web content – they are a useful when I write press releases and internal newsletter articles.

The Hemingway App and headline analyser tools are interesting and I try to use them to streamline my content when possible. I also use Fotor to crop photos and do other minor editing when I don’t have Photoshop available. I highly recommend all of these tools.

The training is hands-on, with plenty of examples and scenarios to work with – I really enjoyed that. Also, the small-group dynamic ensured that all participants were engaged throughout the session. The exercises (not intended to put you on the spot!) helped us put the training into context and align it with what we do every day.

Getting stuck in to editing

The T4 training has been essential to help me get up and running. I’ve edited a number of pages within the Research website and the training is now helping me better understand the development of the Press Office website. Once the Press Office website goes live, we’ll be using T4 all the time to publish press releases and multimedia content.

The Writing for the Web training is helping me craft content that will be fit for the new content types and users’ expectations. As I mentioned, it has helped me optimise the way I write in general.

Advice for other Go Mobile editors

Try to put the training in context and ask lots of questions. The Web Team are friendly and very helpful. Also, use the opportunity to talk to the other editors and exchange ideas.

Don’t worry about taking too many notes – I am a profuse note taker, but the Web Team have produced detailed guides which include everything you need to know and can be used as a reference once you hit the ground running.

Ongoing support from the web team

The web training team run regular drop-in sessions for Go Mobile editors. They also provide space for editors to work when they need some quiet time. I think this is great and recommend you to make use of it.

When I come across any issues, I talk to the Web Team and get them sorted out right away. Many thanks! For me, the support available is more than enough.

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