Less Is More When Creating Web Content
Most writers who are new to the Internet have a tendency to write too much–the goal is to keep users moving through the site. Long, dense chunks of text slow Internet users down, and tend to make them want to skip over things, or worse, bounce to another site. It’s far better to break a subject into multiple web pages, than to have one long dense page.
Use section headers to break up text and guide readers to key points. Introductory paragraphs or homepage (front page) or sidebar teasers should be painfully short, and encourage readers to click on links leading to clips, or photos, articles, or other pages, etc.
A Website’s Homepage Must Encourage Users to Click Through
The “home” page is the “front door” of any website and should be exciting and welcoming without overwhelming. For any, and every, website the homepage must encourage visitors to click through to further content pages deeper inside the site, and not bounce off to another site.
Top Websites Have a Mix of Internal, Outbound & Inbound Links
Smart web developers work hard to develop links on every page, but not too many. These links should be a blend of several different types. Every page should have a mixture of inbound, outbound, and cross-content (internal) links.
Because one of the ways that Google and other search engines rank websites is by the number of other sites linking to them, it’s important to cultivate inbound links from other sites that point to the content pages being developed. For example, if CNN.com links to a page on a Mardi Gras website, the link on the CNN site is said to be an inbound link for the Mardi Gras website. This shows that the site has some standing and credibility with CNN.
While both inbound and outbound links are important, one of the most powerful links is one that links to complimentary material within the same website (cross content). This creates a web of interlinked content, and a comprehensive, authoritative archive of information about the subject in question.
Creating Content Webs Promotes Website & Credibility
One of the best ways to get visitors to stay on a website (moving around from one page to another) is to create cross content links between pages. If a website specializes in a particular topic, the publisher or web designer should use internal links (within that same site) to move readers around. For example, the page that displays information on how to build a window box has a link to the site’s page on choosing flowers for window boxes, which has a link to the site’s page on choosing gardening tools, which has a link back to the original article on building window boxes, etc.
This is where breaking a longer article into shorter segments pays off. When search engines comb a website looking for keywords they’ll discover these webs of content and rank them higher for having multiple occurrences of that keyword, and interlinked pages covering the same topic.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
While keywords are important, and search engines do look for multiple occurrences of words, it’s not enough to simply insert a keyword multiple times. Choosing the right keywords, and judicious use of keywords that are the most likely to be looked for by Internet users interested in a particular subject are far more important than just using lots of keywords.
Optimization is the art and science of choosing and implementing the words and phrases that are most likely to stand out and be searched for by readers of a given topic. For travel writers that might mean using “Galicia” instead of just Spain. But “Spain” might also be useful somewhere in the article. Then again, “Galician Spain” will not only be found by readers searching for Galicia or Spain, but by those searching for “Galician Spain”.
To make the process of choosing effective keywords and phrases a bit easier, Google offers a keyword tool that helps web developers find the most sought after search terms for their given subject.
Content creation is the final and definitive step in starting a website, but it is only one small step in the content management process.
Content Management is the process of organizing a website’s content and the development process for that content. In order to guarantee SEO and message consistency it’s important to maintain a clear chain of development and approval for any content that makes it to the web.
For website owners, entrepreneurs, and web developers working alone this may not be much of a problem, but in an office with as little as 3 employees, it can quickly get confusing as to who is responsible for editing, layout, and final approval before content gets uploaded onto the website. Having a clearly noted plan of content management is a must for all web development projects.
Content developed specifically for the Internet should be kept concise and to the point, and include relevant inbound and outbound links. Keywords and phrases should be chosen for maximum SEO effectiveness to insure that the majority of interested readers find the web pages in question.