A recent blog post from Elissa here at Union Street Media, tackled the subject of why thin content can harm your search engine rankings. Now that she got the hard part out of the way, I wanted to provide a quick list of ideas to get you to write better content:
- Write What People Want To Learn About
In some cases you might be able to enlighten them with a brand new topic but in most cases, visitors are looking for popular topics that you can tap into with insights. Keep an eye out for hot topics as you read newsletters, emails and websites.
- Provide a Reason for Visitors to Come Back
Your best visitors are often returning visitors, so if you can set a standard of regularly updated content especially on a blog, then you will fare better. There are only so many new visitors you will be able to tap and still convert.
- Provide Something Unique
By unique I’m not saying ground-breaking – just make sure it’s your own work. Search engines will not value content if it originated somewhere else. Understand your product or service fully and keep finding fresh angles to present the information.
- Avoid Commercial Content on Your Blog
This does not mean you cannot draw attention to your services or tout your name, but for blogging in particular, you’re better off keeping it non-commercial to avoid turning people off with hard selling. Most importantly, know your audience and write for them.
- Less Is More
Search engine updates aside, it can be frustrating to a visitor to have to piece together information spread across different pages. 1 single page on a topic that satisfies the searcher will build more trust, reduce frustration and position you more as an authority. That does not mean however, that you should write tomes of lengthy, dry content.
- Make It Easy to Interact
So many websites have an element of Web 2.0, that visitors have come to expect. On a blog of course, commenting is a great way to encourage interaction. On a website, you could provide a form or a video to watch to allow visitors to drive their experience. Remember, the Web is not a passive medium.
- Make it Fun
Videos, images and social media can make visiting a website enjoyable. A more advanced website might have features like Add to Wishlist (Amazon) or Add to Queue (Netflix) for instance. A fun experience that a visitor can drive themselves will keep them coming back.
- Make It Easy to Scan
Most visitors scan web pages, so provide emotional triggers by way of good headlines. Think newspaper headlines and bylines to keep people interested and scanning. Even the New Yorker’s lengthy articles will have headline hooks throughout. Remember to use the active voice and short sentences, to keep things moving.
- Make It Easy to Share
We live in the era of social media, so not only sharing is expected, but it’s a great way to get your content seen by many. If you have great content, it can spread rapidly, so try to use formats that promote people to share on Facebook, Twitter, and the like.
- Manage Your Time
Above all, make time to write good content and give it the time it deserves. Cramming everything into one day can create laziness or fatigue. Also large gaps of time between writing content can negatively affectconsistency and flow. Try to get on a weekly or monthly schedule depending on your goals.
Good luck, and please provide your own tips or disagree with mine!