The Content Itself
Let’s assume you have followed all the steps in strategically identifying and planning your personas. You are now prepared and it’s time to focus on the content itself. By completing those integral steps you now know what types of content you’ll need to have. And if you have existing content, you need to make sure it’s actually useful and still relevant. To ensure that’s a reality for your site, we’ve identified some best practices that each piece of content should meet:
• Always keep your audience, messages, personality and goals in mind. You want to be sure you are communicating with them in a way that they will understand.
• Get your ideas across quickly and keep your readers engaged. Be organized. Designate a top header for your page that conveys its importance and meaning. Make sure your headings clearly indicate the content of each section.
• Maintain consistency with both language and design.
• Keep your valued information at the top. Content that requires users to scroll vertically loses up to 80 percent of its readership. Your introductory sentences or paragraphs for any key landing pages are prime real estate for your messages.
• Make sure that your "valued" information is useful. Your users don’t want to waste precious time sifting through unnecessary content. If your content isn’t helpful to them, they’ll quickly leave and be even less likely to return.
• With the above in mind, make sure your text is easy to scan. On average, users read about 20 percent of your content per page. Use short sentences and action verbs, and cut inessential text without sacrificing your identity. Highlight essential words. Use bulleted lists to draw out information.
• Keep that content up-to-date! Outdated content will frustrate your users and make you look lazy. Make sure your staff and contact information is up to date and remove past events from your site.
• Appeal to the visual senses. Whenever possible, work with a designer if you need imagery. Infographics are an excellent way to communicate useful information to your audience, show your expertise, and can help increase brand awareness. Not convinced? Check out our infographic blog post.
• Help people find you. Keep the titles of your pages short, and use words that will help users find you when searching. Be clear. If the title of your page or piece shows up in a search, will users know what it means? Don’t forget – your headline should represent your content!
All in all, remember that you’re creating content for people, not search engines (although some SEO practices are helpful to get in front of those people). And those people are your valued customers. When you create something that your audience likes, the feeling becomes mutual, and they’ll engage with you more. The best SEO is a good product, so take the time to consider your users intentions when diving into your content strategy.