4 Web Content Best Practices
A new year is a good time to examine your web content writing practices to ensure that your site still delivers a rich user experience each time your visitors stop by. It is quite easy to add new content to your site, but you can still miss out on the visitor’s experience. After all, you see your site differently and that difference can blind you to what your visitors are seeing.
Web Content for Marketing
Let’s take a look four ways you can improve the delivery of your exceptional web content, by helping you to serve up a more powerful website in 2013 and beyond.
You may write for academia or you may write for grade school children. Whatever your target audience may be, your writing should advance accuracy and clarity.
Comb through your text to audit sample pages. Modify outdated information and make grammatical and spelling corrections if needed. If your content style has improved since the site was launched, compare your current style to your initial style. You may need to conform your archived pages to your current best practices.
It is easy to lose focus of your website, broadening its appeal to suite your audience. While taking a broad approach is not wrong, it can make your site disjointed.
Evaluate where your website is today and where you want to take it in the coming months and year. You may need to visit certain pages and rewrite content that lacks clarity and requires brevity. Insert section sub headers, break up large paragraphs and update your internal linking to reflect new content. Make it easy for your readers to follow what you have to say throughout your website.
Clearly, it is easy to make new content and add that information to you website. The saying, “Google loves fresh content!” is partially true — the search engines are looking for new, relevant and good information — not just words slapped to a page. Those articles you post that add value to the user experience is content that gets read and shared.
Always avoid writing duplicate content. If you have a story that appears on another site, do not post the same story on your main website. Instead, write a fresh article for your website, one that offers visitors information that is unique, relevant and interesting. Of course, plagiarizing is an ethical issue and should not be practiced. If you use information found elsewhere, ask permission and cite with abandon. Use a tool such as Copyscape to ensure that your pages pass copyright muster.
Taking the fresh content idea one step further, always write with the user experience in mind. Not the search engines — including Google. You can always optimize your pages for search engines, but search engine “robots” are not people and will not look at your page the same way that human readers do.
Be careful with your prose. What you write should flow naturally, be interesting and avoid the obvious…as in gaming your article for search engine attention. Your titles should be smartly written, make use of magnetic headlines and come in under 80 characters, preferably at fewer than 70 characters. Choose your keywords carefully and never deceptively hide or cloak text from your readers, while making these words readable by search engines. Again, your readers are your priority, not the web search engines.
There are additional areas where bloggers, webmasters and other web content contributors can make improvements. For one, if you want to make your site easier to read, then check out its Flesch reading score. That score should be below “very difficult” and is a tool that is included with Microsoft Office and found elsewhere. Another area is to break up your large paragraphs into a smaller, more digestible layout including one-sentence paragraphs. Web and book reading are not the same and page design should reflect those differences.
You may find that reviewing your site’s editorial policy is important too. This means making use of style sheets and adhering to a style guide such as the Chicago School of Manual or AP Stylebook across your pages. Such organization makes it easier for people to follow your site and demonstrates to everyone what standards you have in place. Those standards should be understood by your guest writers too, with that information published to your website.
New Year New Content Goals
Are you ready to advance your website this year? You need to be as millions of new pages are added to the web every day. Your competitors are making improvements to their websites, therefore you should undertake your own best practices this year, setting up daily, monthly and quarterly evaluations to ensure that your website remains on target.