Common Afflictions and Maladies of Poor Content (and what to do about it)

Imagine your website is a person. How healthy is it? Are there strong vital signs (web traffic)? Is it active and vibrant (lots of user interaction and communication)? Are other websites attracted to it (in-bound links)? Or do they shun it like a leper (Google doesn’t know your name.)

If any of those maladies afflict your website, there’s good news; each website can be easily cured with strong, regular doses of quality content. Here are several common website content illnesses and their cures.

Empty Suit Sales Syndrome

Symptoms: Pretty e-commerce website lacking in product details.

Cures: Add straight-forward, customer-focused, informational text in product descriptions.

Expert Opinions:

How many times do you see it? You go to a web page and still have no answers to your questions. The site seems promising; design is nice and runs smoothly. But then you read the text and just get confused! Sell trust, sell experience, or sell benefits, but lay off the features and how proud you are of your product and all the nuts and bolts and hours you spent creating it. Make your site customer focused, it is all about the visitor not you! Patrick Porter, Creative Director, Jade Creative

Without good content, all the planning, strategy, cross-browser usability, the correct technology, pleasing design and color won’t help a bit. Emery Jeffreys, Owner, ByteWriter.com

Fat Content, Little Jacket Syndrome

Symptoms: Too much information or content crammed into one web page.

Cures: Break information into standalone concepts and link to related material.

Commentary: The web was created by the need to link related documents together. If you have a lot to say, that’s great! Massive distribution of content and associated materials is exactly what a websites were built to do. But remember, you don’t have to say it all in one place! Space your thoughts and concepts out. Link to other pages.

‘Surplus of Content’-ititis.

Symptoms: Posting content just because ‘you already have it’, instead of rewriting it for the web.

Cures: Re-write brochures, speeches, and all other content specifically for your web audience.

Commentary:

Scott Bornkessel, owner of Springkeeper first brought this malady to our attention. We know this is a crime of laziness. Take the extra time and effort to tailor your message to the web and how people digest content there. There is no reason for you to copy ‘see page three’ from your brochure on to your website.

Search Engine Deficiency

Symptoms: Producing content that does not take into consideration the largest audience: search engines.

Cures: Use keyword-rich text with appropriate headlines and meta tags.

Commentary:

Writing content that does not include phrases and keywords your customers use to find your products or services will ensure that your online presence will not be a valuable part of your business. -Scott Bornkessel

Age-Induced Obsolescence

Symptoms: Website displays content that has not been updated in years.

Cures: Add new content regularly. Try installing a Content Management System with a blog so you can quickly and easily add new content and update existing web pages.

Commentary:

Without compelling content, visitors won’t return. That means updating the site frequently to give users return on investment of time to come back again. – Emery Jeffreys

Style Impairment

Choose language that fits with your product or service and make sure the copy is well-written. Less is often more – say what needs to be said in the tone and context that gets your message across. Depending on the site, if you’re the web equivalent of an irritating store sales assistant, the technical expert no-one understands, or the boring neighbor who prattles on regardless, you won’t be doing your audience any favors. Tracy Willis

Sadly, these are just a few of the most common illnesses we see in modern website practices. More do exist. Share your experiences, and cures in the comment section below.

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