Web Development

Quick Tip: Make content king on your websites

Ryan Boudreaux considers the old maxim that "content is king." Here are his tips for what to avoid and what to do in order to deliver relevant web content as well as a good user experience.

You want to give your website visitors something that makes them come back for more and you can include added value experiences such as audio, video, commenting, community, and social networking. What differentiates your website from all the others?

Ultimately, the user experience needs to be a positive one, but what the visitor is getting from your site is the content, and it should be at the forefront in your design focus. But is the "raw" content the only thing that is important? Years ago the common axiom of web design was "Content is King." Today's meme is slightly different; the focus is on the organizing or building of websites, in particular with respect to the textual, visual, and multimedia content, and the importance of search engine ranking that includes the broad field of Internet marketing techniques.

While it is important that your website looks clean and professional, it is far more important that you concentrate your efforts on how visitors interact with the website and how the content gets delivered.

Avoid these annoying user experiences

  1. Flash intros, revolving globes, and beveled line separators, animated mail boxes, dancing gifs, and popping images -- these are distractions.
  2. Pop up or pop under boxes at every mouse click or on mouse positions.
  3. Auto-play music and videos; you should allow your visitors to play music and videos only if they make the choice, but you give them the option to decide.
  4. Hit counters with mention that they are a numbered visitor to the site, or how many times the page has been viewed.
  5. Date and time stamps at the bottom of the page unless your website is updated daily or weekly, or the material is relevant to keeping dated version notations such as news and financial websites.
  6. Busy backgrounds with lots of flashy or very dark colors with lighter foreground text.

How you ensure that your content is current, accurate, and relevant can vary greatly depending on the organization, the development environment, and the tools provided. Controlling and maintaining the content could include content management solutions and systems (CMS), document management applications, e-commerce suites, and geo-targeting.

Make your web content stand out

  1. The title of the web document matches with keywords on the page, document, central topic or piece.
  2. Include internal linking to other relevant pages, content, data, and documents, including anchor text links.
  3. Tweak the Meta tags, title: make the URL friendly, add alt and title elements for images, graphics, and multimedia content. Be sure the Meta elements match the body of the content and the anticipated audience.
  4. Revisit old content: update it to make the topics current and relevant; convert it into Web 2.0 discussion, forum, blog, or wiki formats depending on the audience, customer base, and topics. Incorporate social networking to relevant content.
  5. Update keywords and tags associated with the content: as industries evolve the language that goes with them changes also. Be sure to incorporate the current lingo with relevant content that may have been written a few years ago.
  6. Be sure that any updates can still be found by your standout and loyal followers by including URL forwarding or redirects, especially if updating the titles and naming conventions of your URL structure.

What dos and don'ts, or other systems do you incorporate with respect to maintaining and keeping content current on your websites?

About

Ryan has performed in a broad range of technology support roles for electric-generation utilities, including nuclear power plants, and for the telecommunications industry. He has worked in web development for the restaurant industry and the Federal g...

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