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37 Things To Keep in Mind When Writing Web Content
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

In the search engine industry, one phrase that we have all heard time and time again is that Content is King! If you want to rank well in the search engines you have to create content... content should be informative and useful etc etc. Yet I often come across websites and blogs that do a terrible job with their content development.

I understand that blogs originally started out as basically personal online diaries, and that many blogs consist of slang and industry related jargon. However when I come across a blog that is supposed to be a professional resource, I expect the content to be well written and useful and updated regularly. It doesn’t matter what type of site that you have, it doesn’t matter if your site is B2C or B2B, writing effective web content is not something you just do and push out into the online universe. Content development should be well thought out with consideration of who the intended audience is. With that in mind, here are 37 things to keep in mind when writing web content.

1. Keep it Simple – don’t try to impress with 5 syllable words
2. Make use of bullets and subtitles
3. Don’t be Wordy – don’t get fancy, or use wordy intros. This can be an indicator that you have no idea of what you're talking about.
4. People like lists
5. White space is cool.
6. Be coherent – keep it tight and together.
7. Copy of about 400-600 words is ideal for SEO and the long tail of search.
8. Take a stand – don’t sit on the fence
9. Title – Subject – Support - your subject and support material should tie into closely with your title.
10. Titles should be catchy and informative – clickable, and clear.
11. Do not use misleading titles – linkbait or not, don’t lie to the audience
12. Lead in sentences (first sentence or paragraph) should get to the point. Tell the reader what the article is about first thing.
13. More stuff less fluff - Information is better than fluff every time.
14. Make your content somewhat unique - establish a unique perception towards the topic that you are creating content on.
15. Sans serif fonts are easier and faster to read on computer screens.
16. Link to related resources
17. Regularly update your content
18. Don’t write content for the sake of writing content
19. Content should be easy to print.
20. Plagiarism is not cool
21. Avoid the sales pitch with informative content
22. Know who your audience is
23. Write content that your readers will understand not content that is full of industry jargon
24. Pictures should be specific and informative, not generic or ad-like
25. Photos should be relevant to content.
26. People in pictures should look friendly and down-to-earth.
27. Images should be sized properly.
28. Always check your spelling.
29. See point # 5
30. Grammar IS important. Unless you don't want your site considered as being professional.
31. Online press releases should be even tighter and more professional than Web copy.
32. Each page of web content should focus on a single topic (don’t try to over optimize)
33. Like a good songwriter, create content that will stand the test of time. A good song is a good song. A good web page of content should remain a good page of content.
34. Don’t place advertising in the middle of your content (unless you want the reader to never return to your site)
35. Avoid ambiguity (leave that for the government and lawyers)
36. Be careful with using humor – some people are easily offended
37. Make your content informative

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, March 20, 2007  
  • At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Industrial Search Engine Marketing said…

    Jody this list should be mandatory form that SEM's must provide to their clients. Great info.

    in regards to items 22 and 23 - Id add that no matter who your audience is, it'simportant to find a way to indirectlyappeal to a more web savvy audience of linkers, too. In order for content to be effective 'link bait' as possible, the most unlinkable content can be attractive if spun the right way. But how to B2B companies find this balance? Can both sides of the coin be addressed?

  • At 8:47 AM, Blogger Jody said…

    I really feel that if B2B sites provide interesting content that their prospects will find informative, useful and somewhat unique then links will come naturally. The key point here is to not write content for the search engines, but to write content for your target audience. Building your external link inventory via link baiting just happens to be a bonus.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • At 3:05 AM, Blogger Surmayi Devochka said…

    Awesome content, Jody. I am designing web content, and believe me these 30 points are stepping stones to it. Thanks a lot.

  • At 8:44 PM, Blogger zoom said…

    thanks for such clear guidelines..these r really very helpful.

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