This post should begin like a horror movie….
BASED ON TRUE EVENTS
That’s all the effort i’m going to make to jazz up the post intro because i have used most of my time on the title 😛
OK, cut to chase! lately I have been directly, indirectly, passively and aggressively involved in building content for some websites. So, I can safely say that this post is based on my experience and thorough study of what a good website should and should not contain in terms of CONTENT. Now to lay the foundation correct, in this post I’m talking only about the content components which includes written, pictorial and visual form of information on your website. A website though contains many other factors like being device adaptive, SEO friendly and responsive but I will refrain from including these factors in this post. So here we go…
Your Website SHOULD Have:
#1 YOUR STORY
Now why would you say things like “to know more about us check our website www…” It’s not just a catch phrase. If you want people to know about you on your website, please tell them! I strongly feel that sections like About US, Our Story, Vision, Mission don’t get much attention (content wise) and end up being a drab part of the website that only has innovative adjectives to describe the business, company and leadership. But if you think of it, this part of your website is like a whiteboard where you can tell your story to the world in the most engaging way possible!
So don’t just use words…use keywords (all relevant ones), include real images ( not models) that prove your story and walk them through your journey using videos.
#2 CLARITY & FRESHNESS
At times there could be a lot of things that you might want to tell your visitors like how you are different, what special offering you have, latest promotions, the new mobile app you just launched and so on… Having all details inside your world wide web identity does make sense but a clear distribution of content is a must so that your consumer is not lost in the clutter. Always include a site map that charts out the website’s contents for clear and easy navigation for the user.
Using fresh content in a variety of formats like a mix of text, infographic, image transitions and videos can cut the redundancy and monotone of content heavy websites making it an easy experience for the visitors.
#3 CALL TO ACTION
Loading your website with data and no proper call to action will end up making it an online repository of information that people can at best refer to. If you want people to use your website and use it regularly then add one click actions that they can take to get what they want! start by providing different means to contact you like phone, email, instant chat, contact form, etc. Invite them to join you social media community to be up to date with your offerings. Be proactive and lead them to the next actions by giving reminders, directions, multiple options and support services.
This obvious component of a website is not always obvious for developers who are masters of the subject. If possible, know from a sample of your target audience if the call to actions are clear, simple to understand and not misleading before going live.
#4 VISITOR’S FEEDBACK
The process of developing and finalizing a website can be overwhelming and so its completion might seem like a good riddance at first. But no! do not consider your website as a state-of-the-art creation that does not have a scope for improvement. The best part of websites with friendly content management systems is that you can change the content, images, videos, articles as seem fit even after your website is live. So why not change it basis your visitors’ feedback?! It is highly advisable to take a quick feedback from your users before they exit the website to be sure of their experience. It is also an effective way of making an otherwise static website more interactive and engaging.
This definitely does not deserve the last position here but I want this point to remain out there for us to ponder. There is no substitute to original content on your website! because you can only add value with original, authentic and helpful content that your users can rely on and look forward to. If they welcome your content…then you have arrived. Even in this context, content takes into account not only what you write but what everything that else that supports your writing like visuals. Include pictures from your life, work, pass time depending on the theme and purpose of the website to connect with people.
Refrain from using stock images with models who reside on multiple websites representing different things. Such attempts hamper the trust of your users even if the rest of your content is original. Use of videos to make your content personal and provide a gateway for users to know you better and relate.
Your Website SHOULD NOT Have:
#1 DEAD LINKS
This is borderline offensive you know…alluring someone successfully to take interest in your content and promising them a lot more at a click of the mouse only to show them – THE PAGE DOES NOT EXIST – really? Make sure your links exist and lead somewhere helpful. Having dead links can be frustrating for your users and can leave them with a bad experience on your website.
There is text loaded….there is cluttered information and then there are distractions on website. Imagine sliding banners, flash screens, pop up screens, auto chats, audio offers, auto-play videos all happening at the same time on your website. It will surely scare your user and the instant reaction will be to close the tab and move on. It is OK to have a variety of content on your website but try to emphasize on one or two at most at one time.
#3 DATED INFORMATION
Always be sure that the information being shared on your website is correct and up to date including the contact details, address, team members and news updates. Correct information is the cornerstone of authentic content on your website which the users can not only believe in but also rely on. Not updating the correct contact number or office address will not only reduce the users trust factor but can also hamper the business significantly.
#4 NO CAPTION IMAGES
Highly recommend including captions to the images that go on your website. This does not just make it easy for the visitors to related the images to the text but also believe in those images as real and conveying a message. When using pictures to tell a story with timeline always add the year and date if possible to showcase the legacy of your business or company.
#5 REPEAT CONTENT
This happens all the time and I’ve figured out why! The latest website templates and designs are more like an assembly of placeholders for your content. It definitely makes it easier for us to chose the right slot for the right information but then the situation comes when you are out of content and the slots are empty. And we commit the crime of repeating the same content to fill the empty spaces and justify it as repeat “visibility”.
2 things though – repeat content is more likely to spoil user experience and you can get rid of the extra spaces! customized templates allow enough moderation to use only what you want and remove the rest.
Hope this article is helpful. Let me know your thoughts and happy to learn more about websites 😀