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New Series: The Web Manual

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The Web Manual
If you are like most of our clients, you need a great web presence, and you have better things to do than figure out how to do it yourself. So you hire great companies (like factor1) and you end up with a great looking site.
But now what? How do you manage content? How do you edit and crop photos? How do you track your traffic? The list goes on and on.
In this series of weekly posts, we will share some great tips, resources, and ideas specific to managing your presence online. Lets get started!

Week 1: Content…Quality Content

Your website has a purpose. It may be to generate leads, sales, present information, communicate services and expertise, etc. Regardless of that purpose, content is driving it. Sure it may look pretty, but after the first 5 seconds, your visitor stops admiring and starts reading. They begin in the upper left, and generally scan left to right, top to bottom, looking for what they came for. When you planed out your site design, we probably discussed the user flow, what are the big directional elements on the home page, what navigation is there, and how do we use graphics to help that user flow from one thing to the next.
We use headlines and graphics on the home page to draw that user in. View that service, product, or mission statement. Eventually they go deeper, and dig in. We want them to read your content, find what they are looking for.

My challenge to you.

Answer the following questions. On every page, Yes every single page. Think about your typical (not perfect, not current customer, but typical) visitor.

  • What are they here for?
  • What single concept do you want them to take away from this page?
  • What is a next action for this visitor? (contact? next product? directions?)
  • If this is the first page they saw, will they understand us? (remember, not everyone comes in through your home page)

I feel that if every page on your site has this kind of thinking and purpose behind it, you are off on the right foot. Now there are still some fundamental tasks you must take into account on your content.

  • Good content is free of spelling and grammatical errors. Trust me, this one is tough, I’m a big picture guy and typos plague me often. Hire a copywriter as needed.
  • Good content is keyword rich. We’ll talk more about basic SEO in the coming weeks, but using words that are search terms, relative to your page of course, are important. Give the search engine something to find.
  • Break up content with headlines, lists, and images. While you don’t want visual road blocks, creating content that is easy to follow will help readers flow down the page, or jump to what they are looking for.
  • Avoid the run on sentences or paragraphs.
  • Use bold and italics formatting sparingly, and have a reason or pattern to using them.
  • Don’t underline text for emphasis. Users expect underlined text to be a link, and are frustrated when its not a link.
  • Read, re-read, and have others read your content.
  • Cross link your pages. Is something on your page relevant to your other content? Link it!

Anything I missed? Please share your tips for good content!
Do you have a topic you want covered? Ask!