CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT – Website real estate needs unique, high-quality content
This article is for anyone who uses the web; I guess that includes you since you are reading this.
Webmasters, website builders, and website owners will learn why content type is becoming more important and how to find content that is more than just text.
Website users will know what types of content are available. You can use this knowledge to evaluate sites and spend less time deciding if a site has what you need. You can also add or recommend some new interactive content tools to your personal, company, or favorite websites.
Introduction to content: What exactly is content?
The short answer is: it’s EVERYTHING you see on the web! Each web page IS content that, itself, is made up of different types of content. All content is not written and is not created equal. Certainly much of the content is the written word, but content is taking many forms on the web these days.
Web 2.0 sites like Squidoo, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, Digg, and Bloglines (to name just a few) allow users to create, submit, and manage their own content. Take a look at these cool sites and ask yourself, “What different types of content are there here?” You should quickly notice images, photos, videos, music, and text to capture and hold your attention. One look a little deeper and you’ll probably find articles, e-books, or RSS feeds.
Have you noticed that more and more sites are starting to offer you interactive content? Users do not necessarily create their own interactive content, but instead use interactive tools on these websites to educate themselves, pre-qualify, answer their obvious questions, or just have fun. Examples of these interactive tools are online games, online calculators, blogs, maps, newspapers, voting, and comment boxes. Interactive content is best when it is colorful, easy to use, and engaging, while still being helpful, useful, and informative.
Website visitors LOVE high-quality, exciting content. That’s pretty obvious from the success of some of the sites listed above. What makes content high quality? Users must have a reason to like it. That may be because the message it conveys is ease of use, better quality, more relevant, more complete, more fun, more exclusive, more SOMETHING.
The SEO Dilemma: What’s Happening to Search Engines?
Every website is trying to provide information to people, for different reasons, no doubt. Observing website owners know that people want quality information from their sites, not just optimized and keyword-laden verbage, and they give it to them.
For many of us, the SEO (search engine optimization) buzzword conjures up this frenzied image of millions of websites competing for page ranking and keyword position, ultimately generating web traffic and revenue. of some kind. There are books, articles, and companies dedicated to helping you make your site “search engine friendly.” Everyone seems to have advice on how to succeed in this race. However, too much focus on high rankings and search position has created a lot of hostile sites, making it tedious and laborious to find even 1 or 2 really useful sites. Even the most targeted search typically generates tens of thousands of results. Do these search engine companies really think that’s what we want?
How many searches have you done where the top results are unmaintained sites as evidenced by many broken links, contact forms not working, and so on? Search results are often flooded with misleading descriptions that lead nowhere other than an ad page or directory listing. (I have nothing against directories, just misleading ads / descriptions that get me there. If it’s a directory, tell me it’s a directory). Or worse yet, the link takes me to a page full of disorganized links where it is almost impossible to find something.
So how have these inactive or ineffective sites floated to the top of search engine results? A good question for sure and I certainly don’t know the answer. Apparently they’ve figured out the SEO formula, but I hate playing that game because I know I’m providing my visitors with quality information. But what good is my high-quality site if no one can find it? I think these search engines want to show the highest quality and most relevant sites, but until they figure out how to evaluate them most effectively, we all have to compromise our standards to please them. A dilemma without a doubt!
The Future of Content: What Will Your Site Need to Stay Competitive?
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN are obviously working to solve this dilemma, but there is still a long way to go. Meanwhile, the content will continue to evolve, with new types of content introduced every day. Some of the most popular sites on the web are adding interactive content to grab and hold people’s attention.
To stay competitive, each site will likely need to do something unique: offer something different, make it look better, be better organized, make it more fun, something. If you’re not building or revamping your site to make it a fully web 2.0 site, I think interactive content is a great way to start. Interactive content is easy to add to your site and can give your visitors the tools they need to pre-qualify, answer their obvious questions, understand what to expect when using your service, and more.
In the future, it will be even more important that your website can quickly establish you or your business as an authority in your field. Interactive tools allow people to experience your authority through site and touch, not just by reading your PhD papers.
Hopefully, you are now more aware of the actual types of content that you have been using and will continue to develop an idea of how these different types of content can be used for different purposes. We have discussed the dilemma that search engines have caused to site builders. Hopefully, in the near future, we can create sites that meet the needs of our visitors and know that if we provide a quality site, the search engines will reward us.
For now, we all have to play the search engine game, but give our visitors a reason to stay and return by providing good quality content. Provide this type of content and your visitors will come back again and again, if only to use your helpful interactive tools. Meanwhile, your brand and service are seen over and over again (and shared with pride). They will come back when they are ready for your product or service.
It can be difficult to decide the best type of content for your site, but rest assured, there is high-quality interactive content for everyone who searches. Start exploring and good luck!