I wanted to dedicate my first real blog post to the single most important piece of advice I can give anyone interested in making a website:
Create good content.
That’s it. Providing visitors with good, relevant, engaging content is the absolute best thing you can do to ensure the success of your site.
People generally do not create a website because they are looking to win an award for their design. It’s because they have a message to share with the world, whether it be about a product or service offered, an opinion to express, or simply some media to share. Regardless of the reason, it is the content of a website that gives it its purpose, its significance, and ultimately its validation.
Often times, people lose sight of this fact and spend their time concentrating on the aesthetic details or a marketing plan for once the website is complete. No doubt these are important and should not be overlooked, but if you aren’t providing your visitors with any useful information you should have never gotten started in the first place. The Internet is already overflowing with websites of dubious value and articles no one wants to read (hopefully not mine!). If you’re taking the time to publish your work online, make sure that you’re providing something worthwhile.
What is good content?
Content is not just limited to text. It can be photos, videos, PDFs, Excel sheets, etc… Virtually any type of sharable media is considered content. The important thing is that you put time into ensuring that the content you offer is unique, well-thought-out, well-researched, well-edited, and most importantly of interest to people who may be visiting your site.
So why is the content so important?
- Content gives a website a sense of purpose. The content you offer should be the reason why you created your website in the first place! After all, a website is simply a framework that houses and links together pages of information. If you’re not willing to spend time on the content, why bother making the site?
- Good content will get you noticed on the web. Offering visitors informative and engaging content will help you get noticed on the web and can potentially bring in links from other websites. Obviously no one is going to link to your website if it doesn’t offer anything of interest. It’s really just common sense. (A side benefit of these in-bound links is that they will also help your SEO!)
- Good content will help you achieve your goals. If you have a goal with your website (as most of my clients do), well-written content will help you come across as intelligent and establish a sense of trust in your visitors. This in turn will help you achieve whatever goal you may have with your website, whether it’s selling a product or service, persuading visitors of an opinion or simply providing solid entertainment value.
- Content has a direct relationship with search engine optimization. Google likes to reward websites with good content. Providing visitors with unique, helpful information related to your target search phrases is the single best thing you can do to make search engines take notice of your website.
If you plan on creating a website, make sure that you give the content the time and respect that it deserves.