Content modeling is an art.
You know that you have done a good job only if your content managers are happy.
As a developer, when you are modeling content, you are creating an experience that the content managers will have while creating entries.
When you look at it this way, you model content the way designers create impactful designs with strong UX. Or the way producers make gripping movies. It has to start with the experience you want your users to have.
Let’s look at some of the key things you need to keep in mind while modeling content:
Identify the persona of the people who will eventually use the content types you create. And then, think about offering a smooth content creation experience for them.
You need to answer questions like:
Are my users comfortable creating their own page components (by using
Modular blocks), or are they okay with having simple but lengthy forms?
Do I create multiple content types for each section or create very few content
types with more flexibility?
Would content managers ever need developers’ help after I create content
Remember this: There should always be more flexibility in the hands of content managers.
If they are likely to create dynamic pages, use modular blocks that allow them to create page components on the go. If they are likely to need different forms of inputs, provide custom fields for their specific needs. Use all the capabilities that your CMS offers to provide more flexibility to your content managers.
Provide more help
The emphasis is on providing ’help’ and ‘instructions’ wherever needed. Provide ‘default values’ when a certain value is expected. Add ‘limits’ and ‘regex rules’ wherever applicable so things don’t break. Your content types should be designed in a way that the content managers should not spend even a moment figuring out the technical details but only focus on creating content.
Identify relationships beforehand so you can use ‘Reference’ fields effectively. For example, if your blog posts would have links to detailed author biographies, you can accordingly use ‘Authors’ are referenced content type within the ‘Blog Posts’ content type. Knowing these relationships in advance helps a lot in content modeling.
Bunch items of the same section together using ‘Group’ field. For example, all items of a Hero Unit (such as Hero title, Hero Image, Hero CTA) can be within the main Hero Unit Group field, so managing content becomes easy. Similarly, you can bunch all SEO-related fields (such as Meta title, Meta description) together.
There are several other best practices listed here. Make sure you follow all best practices before pushing out your content types.
Lastly, it’s important to know that content modeling is an evolving process. Look for improvements by identifying areas where your content managers struggle and keep updating content types accordingly.