Content is tremendously powerful.
It defines your website. It distinguishes your brand. It gives your business a competitive advantage. It increases your reach online. And it converts web visitors into customers.
Needless to say, the content you produce on your site matters.
You cannot slap on a bunch of content on your website and hope for the best. All content you produce must follow a certain set of rules to be effective. Otherwise your efforts will be limited and even wasted.
Whether you create blog content for your website or landing pages for new products, the following are 4 rules to follow when creating online content.
1. Put the Most Important Information First
Your website only has a few seconds to capture the attention of your visitors. If they do not find the information they are looking for, then chances are they won’t bother to scroll down to the bottom of the page.
All the important details about your offer should always be included first.
Visitors are often in a hurry to find information online whether it be to solve a problem or to make a purchase. Most small business owners make the mistake of including details about their company which may or may not be relevant.
Most visitors are only interested in how your product or service benefits them.
Including the most important details about your offer first and really addressing the needs of your market will drastically improve your conversion rates.
2. Keep it Relevant
Sounds simple enough but it’s also worth mentioning.
Even before writing a single word, you should have a clear picture of who your visitors are. Focusing on a specific niche in your industry is one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd.
This is why prior market research is also important to determine the kind of content your visitors are looking for.
This makes it even easier to structure content around that individual. But most obviously, it also keeps the content you produce highly relevant.
Producing content that covers a wide variety of topics is risky as it does not distinguish your content from other websites that are already available. Content on your site not only needs to be relevant, but it also has to focus on providing value.
3. Make Your Content Scannable
There is nothing more unattractive than a huge wall of text.
Online visitors are increasingly intolerant of pages that are not written for readability. And research that was done on the way people read online found that a large majority of users scan new pages. Only a small number of test users read every single word.
What this means is your content must be easily scannable.
The following are usability tips you can implement into your content to make it more scannable. Consider using:
- This helps to break up content and provide structure for your articles.
- This makes content easier to read and scan.
- Wordy sentences should be avoided.
- Highlighted text: Highlighting or bolding sentences helps make certain text stand out.
- Images: Research has shown that adding images to content contributes to its performance.
- Every effort should also be made so the visual aesthetics of your pages complement the content.
4. Be Human
You can have all the above down to an exact science, but your content needs to provide value to be effective. Google has this to say about quality content:
One of the most important steps in improving your site’s ranking in Google search results is to ensure that it contains plenty of rich information that includes relevant keywords, used appropriately, that indicate the subject matter of your content.”
Any attempt to manipulate rankings by producing low quality content or stuffing it with keywords is a direct violation of the Webmaster Guidelines and likely to result in ranking penalties.
Understand your audience and write for them.
But also focus on making your content truly exceptional. Then think about optimising your content for SEO to help your pages rank higher in Google. Doing so will already give your pages even more of an advantage online where most websites are unfocused.
Proper keyword research will be able to tell you exactly what your target market is searching for. Focusing content on those queries is one of the best ways to attract traffic from the search engines.
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Whether you write content for a blog or for a landing page, the above content rules always apply.