Developing Helpful Web Content
When it comes to writing for the web, one of the things I often preach is the importance of developing useful web content. I realize the definition of what constitutes useful web content is open to interpretation, but if you develop web content with the intention of making it so, you’re at least heading in the right direction.
What is helpful, valuable, or useful web content? Let’s say you’re an avid fisherman. You’ve fished for years and you know a lot about fishing. You know a lot about rods, reels, bait, types of fish and fishing areas so you decide you want to create a website or blog about fishing. Now what?
Think like a visitor to your website.
What would you want to see? Maybe you want to know what type of gear and bait other fisherman use. Maybe you’re interested in fishing for a type of fish you’ve never caught before, so you want to do some research. Maybe you’re a fisherman on the east coast and you want to know about fishing on the west coast, or vice versa.
Thinking like a visitor puts you in your audience’s position and increase your chances of connecting with them. Chances are if you are passionate and knowledgeable about your topic, you’ll have no problem coming up with ideas, and you’ll deliver them in a way that makes your web content useful to your audience (maybe even interesting too!).
Even if your visitors already know some, or even most of the content you discuss, but you deliver it with conviction, you’ll probably still draw traffic to your website. Many times like-minded people will be drawn to a topic just on the chance they might learn something new, or to validate their own opinions and views.
Sounds great, but why?
With the increased traffic, your website now becomes a great place to sell that book, e-book or other topic related product you’ve always wanted to develop.
But it does not have to be about selling something. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a fishing guide, or fishing consultant and your website provides a great way for you to showcase your subject matter expertise. Maybe it really comes down to you just love fishing and you want to swap stories and techniques with others who are as passionate as you.
Think of the reasons you return to your favorite websites again and again. It is usually for the useful web content.
Search engines love web content-rich sites.
The more topic specific, useful webmcontent your website contains may also have a positive effect on your website’s search engine rankings. Now some of you may be saying, “I’m doing this for the love of my topic, not to increase my search engine rankings.”
I’m with you, but if you really love your topic, you probably want to share it with as many people as possible right? The more people that are able to find you (usually through organic search) the better for your topic right?
So what do you do with this useful web content? How do you present it, and where should it go on your site?
I used to think that you had to have a blog, but to be honest, it could go anywhere. Since I’m a big fan of organization (imagine that a former Marine who likes organization!), it could go in a blog (by the way even if you are using blogging software, the page does not have to be called “blog”), a tips, or articles section.
Be creative. Maybe you have a section titled “Catch Bigger Fish” if your articles focus on how to catch fish, or “The One That Got Away” where you talk about all those fish you almost caught. The possibilities are endless.
Developing useful web content is simply the right thing to do. Maybe no one will like it. Maybe no one will get it, but chances are if it’s delivered passionately, your authenticity will shine through. So, have fun creating your website’s content, be genuine and always keep your audience in mind.