Technology X is great, but content is King
Every week the Web is alive with chatter on the latest technology or update. Whether its the latest framework or programming style, there’s always something we’re all excited about. As a Web Developer myself, I try to learn a couple of new technologies every year, to improve my skills and provide better services to my clients. I’m sure a lot of other developers do the same. Its good for the industry to continuously evolve like this, but sometimes we’re in danger of forgetting the basics.
Good, engaging content
Five tips for content improvement
Spelling and grammar – Clichéd I know, but the quickest and easiest way to improve content is to run a spell check. Doing something that takes a mere twenty seconds can greatly improve the professionalism of your website.
PDFs and downloadable content – A particularly common crime on academic websites is to link to PDFs in excessive numbers. This slows down the user (who must wait for the Adobe plugin to start), makes for a jarring experience, and just isn’t what the Web is suitable for. Nobody wants to be forced to read your 30 page epic.
Keep it brief – Again, remember this is the Web, it isn’t print. Long pages of text work quite well in traditional media, but on a website where you have perhaps 10 seconds to catch a casual readers eye, and maybe 5 minutes until he/she reaches for Facebook, you have to keep your content brief and to the point.
Improve readability – Use high contrast for body text – black on white is common not because everyone is boring, but because its easy to read. Increase the spacing between lines slightly. Stick to a serif font for large blocks of text. And please, please don’t ever write a paragraph entirely in capitals or bold.
Good content sells itself
When you write a good article, or content that somebody finds helpful, chances are they’ll share it. We are surrounded by social networking sites, bookmark sharing tools, and microblogging services. A post in any one of these places might result in a hundred diggs or retweets. Your content might go from one or two views to thousands in the space of an hour. This word-of-mouth advertising is great for you and your business, and won’t cost you a penny.
So, the next time you’re reading an article about Technology X, remember to put your content first!