Content is the backbone of your web business. It is why users visit your site, what search engines use to rank your site, and can ultimately make or break your business. To understand the role content plays lets go back to the content = product analogy: no matter how much you advertise, how beautiful your store is, how well organized your displays are, if the product itself is low quality, poorly engineered or simply doesn’t work, your business will ultimately fail.
What Makes Good Content
Good content is well organized, easy to understand and provides the expected information in a clear concise way. Remember that in general, users are impatient, when they open a webpage page they expect to be able to find the information they are looking for almost instantly, or they’ll browse away almost immediately. An average users attention span is 3 seconds, 3 seconds and they’re out!
Studies have shown that web users skim text looking for headers and keywords that coincide with what they are looking for rather than actually reading all the text available. This is the reason that using headers, section and emphasis (bold, underline, italics, b) to help guide the reader’s eye, like map markers, is so important.
A few points to remember:
- Forget the smooth funny intro that made your friends giggle, summarize the entire point of the page in the first paragraph of text.
- Include descriptive heading, or headings on all your pages.
- Accentuate keywords and phrases with bold, italics, underline or links to help summarize the point.
- If a page is very long, see if it can be divided into a few shorter pages, sumarized or even just devided into sub-sections with headers on the same page. This will help your users find the information they are interested in faster, and seem less overwhelming that one long block of text.
For more information on how users read on the web, and how best to write for them, check out this excellent study.