- 18th Nov, 2013
There’s an old saying about how best to convey information to people – ‘tell them first what they must know, followed by what they should know, followed by what they could know.’
You’ll find it exemplified in good newspaper reporting where the main point of the news is in the first couple of paragraphs, followed by more information which helps to progressively build the reader’s understanding of the how, why, what and when of the news item.
And, just as getting the news across depends on good grammar, readable typefaces, punctuation and the appropriate use of capital and lower case letters, so these factors are equally important to ensuring effective website content.
Content, whether it’s about organisations, people, products or services, needs to read well in order to entice people to act –whether the website is aimed at having people buy a product, sign up for a newsletter, join a club, vote in a survey or simply read information relevant to their interests. People scan-read online, looking for specific content to achieve a certain outcome. Make them read too closely and they give up.
Equally important, content involves the graphical design of the site, the choice of typefaces and the use of colour. The message is clear: seek professional writing and graphic design advice for your website.
Content doesn’t just help visitors to understand the information the site contains: it is critical when someone uses a search engine to look for particular information, or a product or service.
Starting from the top, or the home page, search engines review website content searching for the key words and phrases as determined by the person initiating the search. So, your site should briefly and accurately describe who you are, what you do and where you are located in its introduction. For example your business may be based in Caloundra and supply timber.
It then follows in an ideal world, if you have no similar local competitors, that a search engine should rank your site as number one in the search results.
Obviously in the real world you must differentiate your business from your competition and ensure the differences are reflected in the key words and phrases used on your website. Those differences might be that you will provide specialty timbers, cater for very small orders and deliver from Caloundra to Noosa.
Alternatively, while your business may manufacture products locally, it may have a national distribution and service agent network which are important to a potential customer interstate. Again, those attributes should be reflected in the key introductory words and phrases of your website to help achieve a high search engine ranking.