Content is key to the user experience, as well as a website’s success in search engines. In fact, while developing content will be important when first designing a website (or when redesigning a site), in general, it will also be a crucial ongoing effort, as continuing to add the right content to a site can be pivotal to helping that site rank better in search engines.
Knowing what the “right” content for a site is, however, can be less than straightforward. By asking the following questions when starting to develop new content for a website, though, you can start to hone in on where to focus your attention and what the best type of content for your site will be when it comes to success with both users and search engines.
Kicking Off Content Creation: Questions to Ask Yourself
1 – What is the purpose of the content?
In other words, why is the content being written in the first place (aside from the basic answer “to fill blank space or an empty page”). Some of the primary reasons people create content are to:
- Get people to call or contact a business, with the underlying goal being to convert a site’s visitors into potential new leads
- Get people to share content with others, with the underlying goal being to promote a brand or increase awareness of it
- Get people to sign up for a newsletter or to return to the site, with the underlying goal being to create a deeper connection with visitors/potential new clients.
Knowing the purpose of the content can help refine your list of appropriate topics, while also informing choices about tone, style, format, length of the piece, etc.
2 – Who is the target audience?
In other words, who is your ideal reader? An adult professional, a student or someone else entirely?
Ideal audiences can be dialed down to gender, age, career type, etc. And, the more specific you can get about your answer to this question, the better you can pinpoint the types of content that will be most engaging to your ideal audience.
3 – Where exactly will the content be published?
Specifically, will the content be a main, standing page on your website? Or will it be a blog, an article or something else? Knowing where the published piece of content will eventually be can also help inform the tone, topic, style and length of a piece.
For instance, while a main page (one, for instance, that discusses the services or products a business offers) will probably be more formal, blogs or articles will tend to be more conversational and may even discuss news-related topics, etc. to generate the most interest.
4 – What type of content is getting the most engagement?
In answering this question, focus on both the types of topics (i.e., subjects) and the types of formats (e.g., blogs, infographics, whitepapers, etc.) that are getting the most traffic, shares and clickthroughs.
While this can be an important part of ongoing content development efforts (and can be informed by the analytics for a site), it may be done more generally when first building a site by researching what topics and content formats are generally more successful for a particular industry or type of business.
5 – Why would anyone want to share the content?
What new insight or angle does the piece of content bring to the table? Why should anyone read it in the first place? Would you want to read the piece or share it?
This question (and the related sub-questions) reveals the importance of content being unique and offering something that other content already available online doesn’t provide. By making sure that each piece of content for a site provides some unique insight or new information, you can start to position your site to become an authority, boosting its rankings in search engines and its visibility with potential new clients.
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