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How to Create Great On-Site Content

Writing content that will be published on your website can be scary.  It’s tempting to avoid writing like the plague and excuse yourself by saying, “I’m not a writer; I got C’s in all of my writing courses.” Well, writing great on-site content is a necessity; writing relevant, cohesive and concise content for your website is the best way to communicate to your potential clients what you offer and what your values are.  By following a few simple guidelines, you will find yourself creating appealing and comprehensive content that is publish-worthy for your site.
 
Map It Out
Before you even begin writing, you can beat writers block.  By mapping out your content topics, you will be able create focused articles, enabling you to deliver your potential clients the information they are searching for.

Start by deciding what your main topics will be and create sub categories that will act as support to those main topics.  Your main topics will then act as your main navigation while your sub categories will act as your pages that drop down from your main navigation. 

Everyone organizes their thoughts differently; use the method that works best for you.  Try planning on a whiteboard or with sticky notes if a tangible method feels best, or use a computer based organizational tool like Gliffy to do your content planning and mapping.  Gliffy allows you to sign up for a basic free account and to use basic templates or even create your own template. 

Example content map:

Helpful Hint: Add Keywords within each content section as to make sure you incorporate those words in order keep a cohesive focus.

Get To The Point
People have a shorter attention span than ever before. We’re talking short!  Information is coming at high paced speeds and time is of the essence.  While you are writing, ask yourself how you can get your point across (thoroughly) in as few words as possible.

In your initial writing draft, be as long winded as you need to be in order to develop your ideas. But, as your edit your writing, look at your ideas and find the most direct way to present them. Remember, less is more; people might actually digest what you have to say instead of glazing over when they land on your page!

Segment Your Information
With the world moving faster, people don’t have time to read in depth articles; they need the information laid out for them in a way that easy to access and understand. People browsing the internet regularly have become speed readers, scanning through articles to find the information that pertains to what they are looking for. 

Use informative, catchy headlines in order to organize your topics on a content page. By breaking up the content by ideas and subject groupings, you immediately increase the readability and digestibility of the information presented. 

For on-site content, it less likely to have large walls of content, but if the necessity arises for a large amount of content to be published on your website, be sure to use segments and headline tags in order to organize the information for your users.

Readability
You know your industry and you know all of the associated jargon and acronyms, but your consumers likely do not.  Take a step back and try to think in terms that the general public would think in.  You are an expert, so try to explain the complexities of your offerings in a fashion that someone who has never heard of the industry might understand.

Furthermore, for the best readability, remember one word: REDUCE.  Keep your message clear and your words simple.  Minimize the number of words in each sentence.  Decrease the number of sentences within a paragraph. Lastly, lessen the number of paragraphs used on a page.  Reduce whenever possible.

Use a readability tool to find how advanced your writing is.  Ideally, for on-site content, you will want to keep your readability score to the level of a 7th or 8th grader.

You Can Write
Information that you want to publish on your site is not only beneficial for Search Engine Optimization, but it is vital in catering to your users.  Remember, users are the only reason you have a website, so always cater to the needs of your target audience.  

With proper planning and content mapping you will be able to keep your content simple, focused and clear.  Follow these guidelines and your on-site content will be informative and user friendly.