In the first part of our series we talked about how to write great content for your site. By now you probably have a paragraph or two, maybe some bullet points, or some dynamic content like tables and charts. Here in Part II of our series we will talk about how best to organize this content into your site, what search engines look for when they read through your content, and especially what your users want to see. Just slapping your content into the site will not get the job done. We want to help you get the most of that content and organizing wins the battle.
Think of a website as a closet and your content is everything that needs to go in it. Chances are you don't just have one type of item, you have many items like shirts, pants, shoes, belts, and accessories. Each item should have its place and done so as neatly as possible. The ultimate goal is for your closet to look nice and most of all it should make your items easy to browse through and find what you need. Now imagine your entire close has no door and it's open for the entire world to see. That may put a bit more pressure on you to make sure your closet looks nice. Let's explore how.
The bulk of your content is likely going to be headers, sub-headers, and paragraphs with a few content types like tables and graphics thrown in here and there. If you have a lot of content it doesn't necessarily have to weigh your site down. If you organize it properly with a few guidelines it can work for you. Here is a few HTML tips, though content editors on your site will create this HTML for you:
- Headers and sub-headers are very important for breaking up and organizing your content. In HTML code they are surround by numbered header tags. It is important your headers and tags stay in order from H1 to H4 and so on.
- Paragraphs should always be exactly that, paragraphs which are surrounded by P tags in HTML. Separating paragraphs with line breaks (BR in HTML) only throws off formatting and makes it harder for sites like Google to accurately crawl them.
- Use the right code for the right content. In the past people used to use tables to organize entire pages, which is no longer acceptable. Tables should only be used for tabular data. Some have also used BLOCKQUOTE content to create indents, which is also not good. BLOCKQUOTE is only for quotes and nothing more.
- Use images to break up large content areas and get your point across. Stock images that relates to your content help add visual appeal to your page and break up those oceans of text.
Prepping for Search
At the same time you are formatting your content, keep it in mind that it is not just to make it look better and become easier for a human to read. It is also about the search engines like Google and Bing that crawl your site and add you to search results. When they crawl your site they are not just looking for raw content and keywords on the page. They are looking at paragraphs, headers, and more. The more sophisticated search engines become, the better they understand how sites should be laid out and take that into consideration. Don't lose marks from your search engine ranking because you didn't want to add a few paragraph and header tags. Give them something solid to search and no reason to down-rank you.
Design for Your Audience
When building your website, whether it be on your own or with professionals like Anttix, it is often hard to get out of your own head. That is, we are often tempted to design website content around what we like and what we would like to see. After all, we are humans who browse the Internet like everyone else, right? The problem is we are too invested in our own content and we often overstate our message. Step out of your own head and try to imagine what your users, those who you really want reading your site, would like to see. Would they likely read several paragraphs or would they be quicker to act if you just gave them a short paragraph and a few bullet points? Would you info be better read in a table rather than explained? You may understand your content to a tee but others probably don't know it like you do. Be considerate to whom you are building your website for and design it around them.
At Anttix we hope all of our clients learn from this type of advice, and we are certainly ready and willing to guide the process every step of the way. We step back even further and consider your users for you, so please call 888-426-8849 or click here to contact us if we can help you with your Web content design needs.