The first thing visitors to an unknown website see is the design. If it meets the visitor’s expectations after the first couple seconds, they will stay on the website for longer. But here comes the decisive factor: the design can’t compensate poor content. If the visitor doesn’t find what he’s looking for, he’ll soon leave the website, and that is just what you want to prevent in any case. Thus, good content is necessary, as it convinces your visitors to stay and return to your website. That way, visitors turn into customers and increase the conversion rate. It all just proves once more: Content is King
But what exactly is good content? What sets it apart from others and how is it created? I want to try to clear up any confusion on that with the following five factors of good content.
No matter how good your content is. If nobody finds it, nobody will read it. That’s why you need to consider some essential factors when it comes to the searchability of your content. Some of them being:
- An h1 headline (including the primary keyword)
- At least two h2/3 headlines (Sub-headlines with relevant keywords)
- Metadata (Title tag, meta description)
- Links to related topics (internal links)
- Alt tags for images (Alternative texts are used to describe images and thus, support a barrier-free website)
Is your text well-structured and easy to read? Then you’ve done everything right. However, if you doubt it, you should first check whether your text follows the principle of the inverted pyramid. This principle is also referred to as funnel structure and is often used in journalism. Here, the topic’s core makes up the biggest part of the text and is presented right at the beginning. In contrast to print media, web visitors tend to jump between sources quicker if they don’t see that the text contains what they are looking for right away. Cut to the chase quickly! In the core, six questions are answered (Who did what, when, where, how, and why). Next up is the source of information (7th question = from where), as well as further details. At the end of the text, go into detail on backgrounds, causes, or connections.
After checking for the principle of the inverted pyramid, and adjusting your text if needed, you should bundle content. Content that belongs together should be summarized in one paragraph. If content is based on previous material, it is only natural that it is added right afterwards. Also, make sure that you integrate enumerations, numerations or graphics to lighten your text. Nobody will read your content when it is pure text without paragraphs or other reliefs. Thus, always view from the reader’s perspective when creating your text and question the readability!
Last but not least, you need to consider the style requirements, if there are any. If you can choose them yourself, you should stick to them for future texts as well. Once you decided to be on first name terms with your readers, stick to that! Did you display your first article in justified formatting? Then, you should present your next article in that format as well, and so on.
In conclusion, you should consider the following for the readability:
- Principle of the Inverted Pyramid
- Bundle Content
- Integrate Enumerations, Numerations, and Graphics
- Consider Style Requirements
3. Comprehensibility and Added Value
Aside from general readability, your content also has to be comprehensible and offer the users added value. For that, first, think about who you want to appeal to with your content. What is your target audience? Does it have any knowledge on what you report about? Does it know about technical terms or should you explain them?
Once you’ve answered all of these questions, and figured out your target audience, make sure that your text’s context is available. If your text is based on information from a previous text, put a link in the beginning so that the reader can connect to that information. Of course, your post should never be completely ripped out of context, as your website will never be able to cover all topics, thus, always keep the goal of your website in mind, and only write texts that fit this context!
Not only your written content, but also an integrated video that is used to loosen up your text needs to be comprehensible, and suitable. Thus, also question integrated graphics or videos. Is the connection between text and video evident? Is the video of high quality, as well as well explained? If you are unable to directly answer these questions with “yes,” you should explain the connection as well as unclear questions on the video. Generally, the following applies: Introduce videos and graphics in the text, so that the reader knows what to expect.
The added value is an important factor of good content, which is why you should always treat this aspect with high priority. Write about themes that you are interested in, or that you know a lot about, as only then, you’ll be able to make sure that you won’t bore your readers.
Always remember: A text that answers the questions of a “random” visitor in an interesting and diverting way will be read, accessed a lot, and even shared.
4. Action Orientation
Action orientation serves the purpose to determine, whether your text is designed to allow your readers to become active or not. To turn a passive reader into an active one, it is important to directly address him, and express your appeal to action. A comment option is also a good way of starting a conversation with the reader.
The internal links described in criteria no.1 (searchability) also serve the purpose of becoming active. That’s because there are internal links to other topics that are only briefly addressed in the current text, and provide further information. The reader will click them if he is really interested. Another option is placing social media icons below the text, which the readers can use to share the content via social networks.
In conclusion, these paths can be chosen when it comes to an action-oriented text:
- Appeal to Action
- Comment Option
- Internal Links
- Social Media Icons
Your text should not only be able to make your reader get active, but also get him to recommend your article. To do so, you need to provide some good reasons, and directly ask him to share the content. This way, you remove worries of not being allowed to share it. The mentioned social media icons also serve the purpose of recommendation, as they provide an easy option to share your content.