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Summary of all about content matters

What is Web Content?

Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville defined it as “…‘the stuff in your Web site.’”

It is textual, visual and aural.

This may include HTML, documents, data, applications, e-services, images (graphics), audio (sound) and video files (images), personal Web pages, archived e-mail messages, animations, and many other forms of file and data systems which are found in websites and web pages.

Need a quick read? See List of all about content matters

The Page Concept

This concept of web content as a “page” became blurred when individuals began creating and owning a mosaic page which they often called a “home page” or “Web page”.

Types of Web Content

Essentially, there are two types:

Text web content: This is the actual written word found on a web page, and the main body of words inside images and in text blocks.

Multimedia web content: These are such things as animation, images, sound, and video.

Definitions of the Parts of the Types of the Web Content

Words are a combination of letters of the alphabet making up a sound or a combination of sounds having a complete meaning.

Animations are successive drawings or positions of puppets or models which move when shown as a sequence. They can be created using GIF images, Flash, Ajax, or other animation tools.

Caution: Animations slow down the loading of a web site. So if your website is not dedicated to Web cartoons or animated movies, use best animations with moderation.

Images are illustrations representing the external forms of a person or thing. They can be obtained from photos or clip art or even done with a graphics editor or scanner.

Caution: Images liven up your web pages but Images on Web pages should be optimized to download fast.

Sound is any vibration in the air which may be detected by the ear. It is embedded in a Web page for readers to listen to.

Caution: Sound can be annoying if it is made to be turned on automatically but no provision is made for it to be turned off easily.

Video is the broadcasting of visual elements. It has a wide appeal among web page visitors.

Caution: It can be challenging to add a video which works reliably across different browsers.

Content Management

Companies employ people as content author, editor, publisher, and administrator to manage their content. They may also have a content management system
to operate the system and organize the information for the website. A business may also use content technologies as protection measures to block the copying of their content without permission.

Organizing Content

Content must be organized as to make it visitor- or reader-friendly. Hence, the site must be easy to navigate so that the desired contents could be found easily.

Geo Targeting of Web Content

Some sites resort to Geo targeting of web content. Using geolocation software, the physical location of a website visitor, such as country, region/state, city, metro code/zip code, organization, Internet Protocol (IP) address, ISP or other criteria, is determined (geolocation) and then content appropriate for that visitor is delivered.

Quality Content, 9 Ways to Ensure It

This is the “how” of quality content. To write quality content you must:

1. Create Original Content: Original content can only come from fresh ideas.

2. Create Strong Headlines: The title of your content is the first thing a visitor to your website sees. It sparks the visitor’s interest and curiosity and goads them to read on. According to great statistics from Copyblogger on magnetic headlines, 80% of visitors will read your headlines, but only 20% will continue to the rest of your content.

3. Create actionable Content: Visitors read website content to look for the manner of acting or operating something. Therefore your content must give them a sense of how to apply the information to a dilemma they face. 

4. Create problem-solving content: When people need answers to problems, they query the search engines. The search engines then return possible answers to those problems.

Your content, either covertly or overtly, must provide answers so that readers may gain knowledge.

5. Create content based on facts: Sprinkling your content with sources and statistics is great. Better still, they must be credible and verifiable. So link right to the source or the statistics.

6. Create Content that is Engaging and Thought Provoking: You write an engaging content by:

  • Providing a great introduction: After the headline pulls a reader into your content, the first few sentences lets them decide if it’s up to the headline and therefore worth reading.
  • Asking questions: Including questions in your content makes readers ponder over them, even long after they have read the piece.
  • Using anecdotes and stories: An anecdote as an introduction is a great way to anchor readers in a story. Weaving a story into your content introduces a human element which is often touching and unforgettable.

When your content engages visitors, they comment on it. When your content is thought provoking, your visitors reflect upon it long after reading it.

7. Create content that contains Images and Video: What makes the radio more appealing than the newspaper? It’s the audio. What renders the television more interesting than the radio? The images. So ally sound and image and you have the audiovisual, a winner.

8. Create content that is short and to the point: Your content doesn’t necessarily have to be long to be better.

9. Create content continually: Variety of content is the lifeblood of your website. That not only keeps your readers happy and makes them keep coming back for more but also the search engines would rank sites that are regularly updated.

Quality Content, 9 Sources to Find It

This is the “where” of content, that is, 9 sources where you can find the inspiration to write quality content.

1. Bulletin board or a guest book: Create a bulletin board or a guest book on your website to collect your visitors’ version of an opinion. This discussion will not only keep contributors coming back to check the feedback but also offer you material for a follow up article.

2. Feature Articles: You could write a special descriptive article or interview, a distinctive or a regular article on a certain topic relevant to your site’s theme, educative, entertaining or informational. You could also get a guest contributor or exchange articles with them.

3. Articles of other authors or other websites: You can personalize the articles of other authors and make them interesting through writing an introduction to the subject or commenting on the author’s opinions or conclusions.  

You can also get ideas from subscribing to industry news which you may publish in a separate section of your site.

4. Multimedia: You can upload your own or copyrighted sound, music, pictures, photographs, and video clips to your website.

5. Searching for the best Content: You can scour sites and other resources (eZines, directories, books, offline publications) for the best on a subject, and list them on your site.

6. Reviewing products and companies: Collecting and writing short critical articles about books, websites, music, movies, play, artwork, web designers, restaurants, products, services, etc. could be a regular and good contributor of content.

7. Collecting newsworthy items: You can announce new and innovative products and services, improved versions of old products or services, insider information in your industry, rumours and gossip in your field, swings and developments on your Website.

8. Conducting interviews: Talking to an expert in your field or a famous figure face-to-face or via email or over the telephone provides exciting, valuable content.  

9. Interacting with your website visitors: Interacting with your readers leads to know their preferences, likes and dislikes; collect their complaints and suggestions; get their feedback on your performance; and to gather valuable demographic data on them can furnish fresh content to use on your site.

5 Tools for Collecting Interactive Data

Now, how can you collect this information? Through interactive tools:

a) Polls and Surveys:  Ask your readers about an article, a controversial issue, current affairs, demographic data, and about user preferences.

b) Feedback: Ask a question in the comment boxes on posts, via an email address or a feedback form and say that you welcome feedback and use them to change, improve or act on things and find areas where you must provide content that helps your reader.

c) Group discussion: You can create a discussion group to debate controversial articles and news stories, and discuss other issues related to your website’s topic. This will generate content material for your site.

d) Forums: Create an electronic bulletin board where website visitors can respond to messages posted by others and add their own. This will produce a growing list of discussions which can be encapsulated into a feature article or other form of content on your site.

e) Chat Rooms: With real-time online chats, you can interview participants, especially experts and celebrities; discuss featured topics and issues; and organize workshops and seminars for your visitors. Transcripts of these sessions can provide invaluable content.

4 People from Whom to Get Content for Your Website

This is the “who” of content.

1. Yourself: Creating content for your website calls for three qualities: expertise in your website’s topic, good writing skills, and time.

For expertise in your website’s topic, check Wealthy Affiliate where I got affiliate training.

For good writing skills, check ICL and LRWG where I was trained to write.

As for time, well, learn time management here.

2. Guest contributors: You can announce on your site that you’re welcoming articles from guest blog authors. Check the benefits for the guest blogger and the guest blog.

3. Content Providers: You can also pay people to create content for your website. Check SEO-ready content from TheHoth.

4. Syndicating or Licensing Content providers: Finally you can obtain content from news services that furnish brief updates and news flashes on many topics; content aggregators who collate information from the web on a given topic; Magazines and Newspapers; Content-rich niche portal sites; and other Websites dedicated to your topic.

The Last Word on Website Content Creation

1. Imbue your site with your personality: Letting some of your personality show through your site can make your publication unique and set it apart from the rest. Conveying your values, ideals, ambitions and attitudes to your readers can make them bond with you, trust you, and respect you.

2. Write simply for the web reader: To help your readers enjoy your content, use simple words, phrases and sentences and use catchy sub-titles to set off paragraphs. Break up your content into small paragraphs and let them have a lot of white spaces between them.

3. Mind your Spelling and Grammar: Spelling and the grammar mistakes make the writers appear dumb. Always have a dictionary at hand while writing and run your work through grammar and spell check before publishing. The simple rule is: check if in doubt.

4. Check your Style: A book I like so much is The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White. The other is Write Right, a desk drawer digest of punctuation, grammar and style by Jan Venolia. Both are slim but can save you a lot of embarrassment.

5. Experiment and grow: Running a website is not a journey in isolation. You can imitate what works for those who started before you, those who started at the same time as you can still inspire you, and you can learn a few tricks from many who will start after you.

So keep innovating. If your readers like what you’re serving them, continue. Otherwise, keep experimenting.

To Round Up, Is Content Really King?

Andrew Odlyzko argues that “Content is Not King”, it is what makes your website visitors content and keeps them coming back for more. Content that is useful, valuable, informative, educational or just plain entertaining can attract and retain an audience better than anything else. Content is also what makes the search engines rank your site in their results pages and allow searchers to find your web pages. So, all said and done, content still remains king.

Should you have something to add to this discussion, why don’t you scroll down to the comment box and say it?


Your personal guide to securing your future online

Looking for a more detailed treatment of the subject? See Content matters

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