Carefully reviewing content for relevance and clarity before posting can easily determine the difference between a highly successful site and one that languishes, unseen and unread. By following a few guidelines, content creators can quickly make their site more interesting, relevant and shared.
Format the content carefully.
Readers are, as a rule, impatient to get to the meat of a site. If important information is not easily found, they will quickly move on to the next site. Industry experts routinely recommend using bullets or bold headings, allowing site visitors to move quickly to areas that most interest them. Knowing what interests your audience is a subject worthy of it’s own article, one that I really liked was written by Lisa Barone for Search Engine Watch titled, “How to Write Great Content: Because Awesome Content Won’t Write Itself…”
Keep print content to a minimum. Long-winded sites, with no breaks in the text, are daunting to most people. Focus on the important facts and break up text with line breaks, sub-headings or lists.
Use relevant pictures as well as text. Most people prefer to see pictures that provide strong visual clues to the content. However, do not simply include a picture that is not directly related to the content.
Put the important information at the beginning of a section, not the end. Website readers often scan information, looking for topics they need, and they do not want to spend time reading information they are not interested in.
Focus on the product or service provided.
The key to writing great content is to make it relevant to the site visitor. Most visitors to a plumbing contractor’s site, for example, don’t really care to read the site owner’s family story, even if it seems like telling people about each generation of the family that has been in the plumbing business is important. It isn’t. Simply saying that the current owner is from a long line of successful plumbers is more than sufficient. It is far more critical to focus on the actual plumbing services provided and how those services benefit customers.
Make the content timely, interesting.
Visitors to the plumbing site need to know about current plumbing trends. Writing about trending topics not only engages the site visitor, but it brings them back to the site later. When the content is really interesting, readers are much more likely to share or link to the site, which quickly improves site hits and search engine ranking.
One of the current trends for improving site performance is blogging. Weekly or bi-weekly blogs keep a site fresh and encourage site visitors to keep coming back. Again, the topics must be highly relevant to the needs of site visitors and must be well written. For site owners who are uncomfortable writing, website professionals recommend having someone with industry knowledge ghostwrite the content. The important thing is keeping the site fresh.
Be aware of SEO content layering.
While recent changes in the algorithms used by Google and Yahoo have reduced the importance of keyword or keyword phrase density, keywords are still an important element of garnering site visitors. SEO, or search engine optimization, is essential for determining a site’s ultimate success. Our plumber friend, for example, may want to include keywords like “plumbing leaks” or “sewer backup” in titles and the text body to help lead visitors to the site. While SEO is an area of expertise in its own right, anyone writing content must be aware of the importance of including keywords and keyword phrases in content.
Use social networks to increase exposure and build links.
Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin provide a pathway for finding and attracting more site viewers. Social networking sites are used many times every day by potential website viewers. Becoming familiar with the various sites and the types of people who routinely use them is becoming increasingly important not only for building traffic, but also for linking and backlinking efforts. New networks are constantly entering the picture, so staying on top of emerging social networks will be even more important in the future.
There is no simple, one-size-fits-all, content writing solution.
There is no single key to writing content people like. Rather, anyone writing content must constantly review what has been written in the past, and evaluate the success of that content, when deciding what to write next. Every industry changes over time as technology and the needs of clients evolve. That means content writers must stay up to date on trends in the market place, as well as changing preferences in the way people search for information. Writing content is not a magical formula. Rather, it is a combination of subject knowledge, industry trends and basic writing skills.