Content is one of the most important parts of your website. There’s a reason why many people say “content is king.” There are other important factors, and your website won’t thrive without things like traffic, but what your everyday website visitor will notice most is your content. It has to be good. How do you make sure you’re offering great content to your visitors?
Writing great blog posts is only a part of creating great content for your website. Your blog needs more.
1. Know What Your Visitors Need From Your Content
Great content isn’t always paragraphs of information. Graphics are content. Lists are content. The information on your page in general, however it’s presented, is your content.
It will never be great unless it’s what your website visitors need. If you’re selling a physical product, for example, words on the page are rarely enough. Pictures of the product, possibly including the ability to look closely at the item and at multiple angles, may make the difference. Videos can also be useful.
Don’t, however, rely excessively on pictures or videos. Not every visitor will be in a situation where they can watch a video, and you can only learn so much from pictures. As much as possible, make sure information in your pictures and videos are available in print.
Transcripts are a good idea for most videos. They make videos more accessible to the blind and hearing impaired, as well as to those who just don’t want to watch for whatever reason. Link to a transcript on another page if it’s too much to put on the same page for any reason.
If it’s information you’re providing, make sure it answers your website visitors’ needs as best you can. You can’t predict all needs, but you should have the information your site claims to offer. If it’s an information product, include information to help your visitor decide that it’s the right purchase. Your content should reflect the needs of your audience, not your own needs.
2. Include References When Appropriate
You don’t know everything, even when you’re an expert in your niche. Linking out to appropriate references makes you look better. It reinforces that you know what you’re talking about. It’s one thing to quote a statistic, for example, and quite another to show where it came from. When you’re using information from elsewhere, don’t just quote it, link to your source for it if at all possible.
For example, if you want to share with your readers how long it takes to write a blog post, you can discuss how long it takes you to do so, but it is more effective to also include post such as this one, which says that the average post takes about 3.5 hours to write.
3. Pay Attention To Popular Content In Your Niche
You should know what’s happening in your niche so that you can take advantage of it. You need to do this not only on your own website, but on the sites of major competitors. This information has become fairly easy to gather as many websites clearly display the number of Facebook likes, tweets, pins, and other social media shares a particular page has received. That’s highly useful information.
Don’t assume that your post will quickly gain a similar number of shares. The post you’re comparing your post with may have been updated a number of times through the years, allowing it to gain a large number of shares, even if the most recent update was recent.
Don’t copy popular content onto your blog, of course. Do better. Find a way to stand out from the rest.
4. Be Original
While you want to be aware of what’s popular within your niche, you don’t want to copy what others have already said. You must find a way to make your work stand out from the rest.
If you’re quoting other sites as resources, for example, find better or more current resources than what others are offering right now. Make your post as up to date and accurate as possible.
Look for details to include that others have missed or glossed over. If you can share information that hasn’t been added into similar articles, readers will like yours even if they’ve seen similar work in the past.
5. Solve Problems
Why are people reading your blog? A few people might answer that their blogs are read for entertainment purposes, but most readers are looking for information. They have a problem and they want it solved.
Even if one of your goals is to entertain your readers, it can be seen as solving a problem. In this case, the problem could be seen as boredom.
But even entertainment can be informative and solve problems.
Great content doesn’t make it difficult to find the solution to the problem your post claims to solve. It makes it as easy as possible.
Consider a variety of ways to present the solutions you offer. A video post should include a transcript so that readers who can’t watch it can still get the information. An infographic can provide a visual way to present the information that is more appealing to readers.
6. Write Great Titles
The title of your post is what draws people in. A blah title will make an otherwise great post perform poorly.
Writing great titles for your content takes practice. You won’t get it right every time.
Here are some factors to consider while writing blog post titles:
- Is it accurate?
- Does it call readers to the article?
- What feelings does it evoke? Are these the feelings you want to evoke?
- Is it too long?
- Is it too short?
Experiment with your titles. Write more than one for each post, and then choose the one you think will work best.
7. Consider The Appearance Of Your Content
No matter how carefully you’ve crafted your content, if it isn’t appealing visually, it won’t perform well.
For blog posts, this means using subheadings, bullet points, images and so forth appropriately. No one wants to read a wall of text or watch a video that rambles on and on.
Don’t add something just to add it. Each subheading should have a purpose. So should every image or change of scene in a video.
Done right, these will make your content more appealing. Done wrong, they can drive away visitors.
8. Know What The Search Engines Want
You also need to make sure that you aren’t writing the same post over and over again. If you have something to say on a topic you’ve written about before, consider updating your old post rather than writing a new one.
There was a time when bloggers could get away with writing lots of similar posts, changing up the keywords a little each time to bring in search engine traffic. That time is not now.
Search engines focus more on semantic search and understand more of what searchers are after, and what you’re really saying in your posts. It’s not just about keywords anymore – context matters.
Don’t focus purely on what search engines want, of course. Write for your readers first, and then find ways to please the search engines.
9. Set High Standards For Your Content
Creating content isn’t as easy as some people think it is. Coming up with the right words takes time and tweaking. Not every blogger can sit down and crank out the perfect article, video or podcast in a single shot. Many find it far better to write, put it aside, and edit later from a fresh perspective.
If you hire others to write for you, set a high standard for them as well. Whatever appears on your website, reflects on your website as a whole. Allow a lot of low quality content to appear and your website won’t impress visitors as a great resource.
Of course, you should also do basic things such as check spelling and grammar. Such mistakes can put website visitors off, even if the rest of the site is well done.
10. Keep Trying
You may not learn the tricks to providing great content to your niche right away, no matter how well you know it. It takes time to develop your writing style and to get accustomed to what works online. The less you work at it, however, the longer it will take to master.
Writing every day is a good place to start. You may not feel that all of it is worth publishing to your website, but no one says you have to. Put the stuff that just isn’t quite working aside – somewhere down the line you might find a use for it, even if it takes a complete rewrite to make it happen. Take the good stuff and polish it until it’s good enough for your website.
Writing every day is not the same as publishing every day. Many bloggers post only a few times a month. Don’t publish a post just because you wrote it. Publish because you think readers will love it.