The no page left behind initiative
A seemingly infinite amount of user-created content and blogs are all fighting for the greatest exposure and attention in the wonderful world of the web.
Could a few word changes and graphics make the difference between someone reading or leaving? Does anyone actually read this thing? Is this worth the time?
The answer to all these questions is a resounding “yes.” Do we know the exact formula to create perfect web content? Not quite, but we do have a great idea as to how to tailor your pages to both your viewers and popular search engines.
The following are a few tips on how to get the most out of your web space that go beyond making sure to run a spell check before click publish.
To be read, you must first be seen.
The art of catchy and searchable headline writing is a craft that has yet to be perfected, but has been greatly improved over the years. Search engines are like early versions of Watson, the Jeopardy-winning, all-knowing information machine – they don’t understand puns. They may not catch your clever turn-of-phrase or your witty lead-in sentence. That’s why it’s important to lead with your best, straightest foot forward.
What is your entry about on a basic level? Whatever that answer may be – that’s your headline. Following this, you can get articulate and artsy with your appellations. You can be as clever and as catchy as you want. Be rhythmic and rhyme-y in your writing. Your audience, pending the field, will love it.
Litter points of emphasis around your site. Found a new study that’s integral to your industry and was published by an accredited university? Bold that university’s name and the title of the study. That’s important to your message and search engines can pick up on that. While creating your content, you know what’s important, so make it look important.
ADD VALUE TO YOUR VIEWER’S LIFE
It’s simple: give your reader a reason to stick around. Undoubtedly, you have an area of expertise and/or a unique story. The insight to either could potentially add a great deal of value to whomever may read your work.
Don’t be afraid to offer some industry insight to the public – just don’t give away the farm. Be transparent, but don’t give away your specialized business tactics. Suppose you’re in the world of advertising – offer up examples of past failures by big name companies to add interest and add your own personal twist on how the blunder could have made bank to reveal your expertise. Speak about in-the-news stories and how they relate to everyday life. Let the reader know what’s going on in your world by informing them of new advancements and what they mean to your trade. Trust us, they’re not going to turn your findings around for a massive profit.
Don’t talk down to your reader. No one likes to be belittled. Be conversational. Web content and blogs are a chance for you to get on the same page as your audience. Break what you do down to layman’s terms and give them a chance to grasp your work on a basic level.
A bored audience is a grumpy audience.
ENGAGE YOUR AUDIENCE
In this new era, unless it’s a particular case study or story that is excruciatingly important to the reader’s health, well-being or wallet, the text is often times glossed over. Yes, solid writing matters, but you must first catch and hold the eye of your viewer.
Break up your page and add texture to your content. No one likes to drown in a sea of text. Looking at the informational amorphous blob of gray blog will quickly turn a viewer away. To turn that viewer into a reader, use subheads and bullet lists to make the copy look less monotonous. At first glance, the page will look like it has more to offer in an easy-to-read way.
While some question the merit and substance of BuzzFeed, there’s no doubt that the site and its content is engaging. Photos, videos and catchy headlines are all tools they use to attract users. They have a Top 20 list for just about everything. These quick-hitting pieces of content that take a few hours to create, but generate a fantastic amount of page views. Last year, BuzzFeed announced that it reached more than 130 million unique visitors. Perhaps they should come out with a “Top 15 Ways to Make the Web Read Your Page” list?
While informing your reader is key, getting them to actually stay on the page is absolutely crucial. Engaging graphics, designs, photo galleries and lists attract the eye. Use these tools and proceed to profit.
KEEP A CONSISTENT STYLE
Changing things up once in a while can keep your website looking fresh, but switching it up too much can confuse your loyal audience. Unless you can do it tactfully, make sure your content somehow relates back to what you do. Suppose you’re a sports writer – you more than likely won’t make the addition of a romantic comedy movie review blog to your site. That would be silly. However, if you can make that review blog related to your company, you may be headed in the right direction.
Example: “Rudy,” “The Mighty Ducks,” “Remember the Titans” – We’re taking a look back at the classics and seeing how realistic they would be in today’s age.
Consistency isn’t for content only. Keep your tone and writing style on the same wavelength. Have a go-to style guide to help ensure your words actually look and sound like your words. Create a “checks and balance” system for editing web content. Don’t go posting blogs that only your eyes have seen. Who knows, your rant about the way the industry is going down in flames could catch the wrong type of popularity. Make certain that critical errors are kept to an absolute minimum by having a few people look at the post before it goes live.