Long Live Content, King of the Internet ?

gold foil wrapped chocolate coins; your content should be just as good

"Content is King" was the name of an essay that Bill Gates published on the Microsoft website in 1996. In it, he outlined his vision of the future's Internet, and the role content and advertising would play on the then-undervalued platform.

Years later, his eerily accurate vision has come to pass. Millions of websites are now competing for every click — for every second spent on their pages — every hour of every day, around the world.

To think about just how much information is transferred through the Internet in a single minute is... almost scary.

"Content is king."

Bill Gates

One Minute On the Internet

Well, since it's on your mind... This is what happens every 60 seconds on the Internet.

  • 3,607,080 Google searches.
  • 456,000 new tweets.
  • 103,447,520 spam emails sent.
  • 510,000 new Facebook comments.
  • 46,740 new Instagram posts.
  • 527,760 new Snapchat posts.

Big numbers; over 2.5 quintillion (that's 2,500,000,000,000,000,000) bytes of data sent per day.

Fighting for Attention

The numbers are interesting, for sure, but I only mention this because I want to illustrate a fact: thousands of people are fighting for the same kind of attention with their website that you are with yours.

This is why content is king. Your content needs to be better — more impactful, more correct, more truthful, and most of all more interesting — than the content of others for your website to be consumed more.

Giving the King His Crown

In previous posts I've talked about how to plan for a website, the importance of content from a website development standpoint, and our development process, but now I want to explain what we mean by "good content" and how to make yours better.

Good Content is Purposeful

One of the biggest issues with website content that we see is that it lacks purpose. Ask these questions:

  • Do we have a plan for the website?
  • Is it organized?
  • Are we wasting the reader's time?
  • Am I adding value for my audience?
  • Am I teaching them something new that they would find only from me?
  • Can they understand what I'm telling them quickly?

If so, then your content is on the right track.

Good Content is Valuable

With million of web pages online, it's hard to be original. Purpose will give you the direction, but your content must speak to your readers and meet their need with your product or service. To make things more difficult, you have around 30 seconds to do this. Here are some additional tips:

  • Don't push a hard sell on your homepage; that’s what your product or service pages are for.
  • Use your homepage is your online welcome mat.
  • Consider how you want readers to feel.
  • Thin about what you want them to do as soon as they hit your page.

The overall goal is, usually, to click through to your products or to continue reading other parts of your site. Writing website content that is crisp and direct that speaks to a need is critical.

Good Content is Scannable

Even though content with value is important, visitors don’t have the time (or don't want to make too much of an effort) to read and comprehend every bit of your text. Make your copy easy to read.

  • Use short paragraphs and sentences.
  • Skip unnecessary words.
  • Avoid jargon.
  • Avoid the passive tense.
  • Avoid needless repetition.
  • Address your web visitors directly.
  • Shorten your text.

Good Content is Discoverable

It's important to consider not just the type and amount of content you'll have, but also where it is on your website and how easy it is to get to it from outside your website. Navigation and search functions (if you have enough content to warrant it) are very important. Think about these points:

  • Individual pieces of content are easier to find when they’re sorted within a well organized site.
  • Google tends to favor well organized sites.
  • Have a site map that gives visitors an overview of your organization.
  • Use breadcrumbs or a navigation menu to show visitors where they are within the organization of your site.