Writing content for the internet is not as simple as it may appear. For this reason, many companies invest in well-versed web editors to write their webpages for them. However, small or starting businesses may not be able to afford this luxury, and may be obliged to script all their pages for themselves, unedited.
Remember that your webpage represents your company. You don’t want it looking unprofessional, inconsistent and amateurish. This is a guide to help you prevent that from happening, so that your site content is eye-catching, informative and engaging.
Essential Elements for Web Content Excellence
- Truthful headline with an irresistible hook – The headline is a key ingredient to a quality page. You need it offer interest and value to your visitors, snagging their attention and drawing them in to read further. Every story has a hook; put in time and effort to brainstorm and locate it.
- Keep your reader’s attention span in mind – Often people have short attention spans, and they want to garner the relevant information right now. Bearing this in mind, it is a good idea to have your first sentence sum up the entire copy; leaving them to decide whether they wish to read on. Your sentences shouldn’t be too long, and your paragraphs should be kept short. People don’t want to read an essay: make use of bullet points and sub-headings to break up the page for easy reading.
- Concise, clear, lean information – Your visitors want you to get to the point. Avoid being verbose, spell-check your work, and steer clear of overly complicated jargon. Ensure your grammar is correct too. No one will want to share your content to their audiences if it’s substandard as it’s a reflection on them, and sharing is part of what makes your website useful.
- Include information about the author – Your readers are interested in the personal touch, as it adds credibility. Who wrote the page? A sneaky troll? A well-versed and highly-recommended expert? If you want your page to be taken seriously, you need to include this information. Bloggers and journalists will feel more inclined to link to a page with someone they can hold accountable to the story. Include the writer’s name, preferably with a photograph and a link to their biography.
- Link to any respected sources – Reader’s like some evidence to back up what they are reading; they are often uninterested in personal opinions. Include links to reputable sources for any statistics or stated facts.
- A unique vantage point – This may be tricky, but if you can manage it, it will really boost interest. With so many pages out there, you want yours to stand out. Avoid just re-stating what other sites have said, or publishing lists of links. This makes it easy to just pass you by. Add true value with excellent research.
- No pagination – Certain web publishers like to split up articles to increase page views and ad impression financing. For example, an article on the “10 must-see attractions in Cape Town” might get divided into 10 separate pages. This is a double-edged sword however, making information harder to access and increasing the hassle visitors have to go through to find what they need.