A Question of Content

A Question of Content


A Question of Content

08.11.2011


A good content writer may not be an expert in the theme he or she has to write about for a particular website, but by the end of a particular project, they should be. 

Quality content defines a quality website. A beautifully designed and integrated website that functions perfectly is all well and good, but if the content is poorly organised and shabby, it might as well be written on a scruffy sheet of paper. 

There are many stages of content writing that ensure a website’s long term success, and these begin with the correct planning and research, as well as a detailed analysis of the level of content that competitors are offering. 

Who is the Target Audience?

The first goal for any content writer is to know who his or her target audience is. Who is the website aimed it? What do the target audience need and want to know?

Existing Content

Existing content can always be used as reference, to discover what has worked, and what has not within a previous website. This existing content can provide useful company information, and can also offer an insight into any holes that may exist. 

Research

A good content writer must collect his or her research from a wide range of sources, to provide a satisfactory overview of a business or person, that is engaging and more importantly, relevant to the client.

The second stage of content development involves a Content Quality Checklist:

Relevancy/Usefulness

Apart from aesthetics, keywords and user interests must be met. Good content will ensure that a company’s user goals and business goals are met. These involve the sale of a product, a client query, positive website feedback, or a booking, for example.

Accuracy and Readability

Here you must ensure the content requirements such as accuracy: in terms of facts, names and statistics are scrutinised, clarity is checked: can the website’s font be read clearly, how is the size, and colour? Are the spaces and formatting clear enough? Is the content poorly organised into cramped chunks with no discernable paragraphs, or is it nicely spaced out for a pleasant user experience?

Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation

These ‘rookie mistakes’ can easily and quickly bring down the quality a website, even if all of the other points of content quality have been carefully observed. Creating and maintaining quality content involves the detailed assessment of content for any mistakes of punctuation, spelling and grammar, any factual errors, and the relevancy and usefulness of the final content. 

Style/Voice

A professional, error-free website involves the checking and rechecking of all final details. However, a highly professional content writer must too be able to adapt his writing style or voice to the style or corporate identity of each individual client. 

A blog article is not written in the same way as a News article or company profile: each has its own unique goals in terms of user satisfaction and importance, and the writing style should be able to adapt to these different areas. This adaptability provides fluidity to a website’s content. The website identity as a whole s varies greatly, whether it is a personal website for an artist, designer or photographer, to a detailed property website to a group of companies.   

Keywords and Meta Descriptions

SEO should never be underestimated. A website’s content, from the page titles and headers, to the blog articles and news articles, should always be optimised for SEO, ensuring a website’s higher rankings within search engines, and a greater return on investment.

A content writer must always keep in mind his target audience, throughout all of the initial stages, and even after all of the content work has been completed. The content writer, along with his client, must then analyse what the user will want to next? What updates can be included, and what content can be revived in order to keep the website fresh and of course, always relevant?

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