Every website owner has to create great content. It is the only way you build a following for your online business. It is important that you say the right things, but it is also important how you say them.
Today, I will focus on basic principles of website content publishing that all audiences require. You have to match your presentation to your audience. In a forum, or chat room, you will use informal language that matches the temporary, informal setting. On a web page, you have to write as your audience expects you to.
Only the website owner can judge how formal or informal to make their presentation. You might have a specialized market. However, the average Internet surfer requires certain basic standards. If you do not meet those standards, your visitor will leave, and is unlikely to return.
Website Content Presentation
In my screenshot, I have chopped of the right-hand sidebar. Most people ignore it, and I’m going to join the movement for getting rid of sidebars. I realize now that they are just a distraction. If you have something important to tell your visitor, it should not be in the sidebar, because it will be ignored. If it is not important, it should not be on your page. My new article on getting rid of the sidebar is coming soon.
I have deliberately shrunk the screenshot, and added some distracting Shrewdies text. When someone visits your website, especially the first time, they are not focused on you. Their first view is a bit cloudy, unless you make it clear to them.
The words do not register until your visitor starts reading. If it looks hard to read, the visitor will leave before reading a single word you wrote. It might be exactly what they are looking for. It might answer every question they ever had about your topic. If they leave without reading, your words have no meaning.
With practice, and the tips I’ve given you below, you can avoid losing visitors this way. You need to start as soon as you can. You can go back to your pages any time, and make them look better. This is important as your site develops when you identify pages that are not performing as well as you intended. Start today, and establish your own good content habits.
Good Content Habits
It is very important to get good habits early on. The most important habits that will improve your audience participation are structure and proofreading. They work together.
Web Page Structure
Structure breaks your page down to manageable chunks. If your page is not structured well for a search engine, you lose results ranking until you improve it. If your page is not structured well for your visitor, you lose that visitor forever. There are many things that cause you to lose visitors. You might not be able to change them all, but you can always add structure to a page.
If you are writing a novel, you can create structure over several chapters. For a web page, you have to use headings. Your web page should be about a specific topic, but within that you might have sub-topics, or different aspects of your topic. By breaking your page into manageable chunks, separated by headings, your reader is drawn down the page.
The other great thing about headings is that they prompt you into writing clearer content. Some people prefer to write freely, then go back and add headings in the appropriate place. Others prefer to write the headings first to anchor the key aspects of their chosen topics. I prefer to set out headings first most of the time, but sometimes it is easier to write whatever is in your mind first.
You are not carving in tablets of stone, so write however you like. Just don’t publish your page without headings, unless it is a very short piece about a limited topic.
Within each heading, you need to break sentences into paragraphs. In some respects, these are more important than headings. The average Internet surfer will not be able to read more than 3 or 4 sentences without a paragraph pause.
Bullet points, or numbered lists can help your page to flow. They make much easier reading than long sentences. Use them whenever you can to highlight key points. Let your content flow with:
During proofreading of this article, I realized it was too long. I will publish Proofreading For Profit another day.
Website Content Starts With Good Habits
Start your good habits today. The more you practice, the easier it gets.
Do you understand why page structure is important? Do you need any specific help on structuring a page to attract customers for your online business? Share your experiences, opinions, and questions in Shrewdies Make a Website Group, or Shrewdies Website Help Chatroom.
I have more thoughts about structure, with special relevance to search engine ranking. I also have to complete my proofreading for profit article. If you want to be notified by email when I publish more on this project, please subscribe to Shrewdies.com Updates Service.
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