May 24, 2011
Here are the golden rules to live by when creating content for your website.
- Your content is NOT for you. Make sure it IS for the people who are visiting your website.
- Don't be boring. When did boring ever win out over entertaining?
- Provide clear pathways to the information. If you refer to something in your content - link to it!
- Be authentic. Be consistent. Nobody want's to read a fake schizophrenic's website.
- Less is more. Nobody wants to read a novel on your site. Most informational pages should be no more than 500 words. Section homepages should be shorter, with introductory copy staying under 200 words.
- Whenever possible, show vs. tell. If you've got pictures, videos, charts, songs, dances, re-enactments, whatever - use them.
- Use bold formatting, or subheads to allow readers to quickly scan the content - because that is what they will try to do. A rule is to add a subhead or pull out bold sentence every 150-200 words of content.
- Use the white space. Don't squeeze your content together to try to fit it above the fold, or whatever you are trying to fit it into. People would rather scroll and have a pleasurable reading experience.
- Use your formatting tools to make your content even easier to read. Bulleted points, grouped types of related content, lists, pull quotes, and paragraph breaks can go a long way towards making your copy more engaging. BUT REMEMBER, not too many!
- Google is reading your content. Make sure the words you use are likely the same words your visitors might use when searching for you.