As search technology has advanced almost exponentially in recent years, so also have marketers and advertisers been attempting to maximize the amount of attention their websites receive.
A certain amount of this attention, of course, is through search engine optimization, or SEO. If the right combination of keywords continues to appear throughout an article, then the site will come up when those keywords are searched. However, this is really only one step of the process when it comes to marketing a site. It is bad business for a site if a visitor clicks once, finds a long list of repetitive keywords, and never wants to return. The next step to maintaining a site that has a high number of views and consistent readership is to have strong content that is posted at regular intervals. Luckily, there are some basic ways to ensure that any website has a stream of excellent content that will keep people coming back for more.
The first step–which may seem obvious, but is not always followed–is to put sufficient research into any article posting. In an attempt to quickly maximize SEO and drive up page hits, there is an emphasis in internet marketing on producing material with an emphasis on speed. However, this often results in content that appears to be hastily thrown together and that is mostly full of filler content. Readers are appreciative when they can visit a site that is clearly producing original material. Even the most basic research will show readers that a site is worth visiting again, as it can be relied upon to have interesting content. Niche websites are especially reliant on this kind of research: it is key that they are viewed within their community as having new and interesting articles <i>in addition</i> to having common keywords. This minimum of research should not be overlooked.
Additionally, a loose hold on grammar and style will condemn otherwise excellent content to mediocrity. In the focus on keywords and rapid posting, content sometimes loses its readability. It is not uncommon for an article to have an occasional issue in spelling or grammar; however, egregious errors will distract from the content of the piece. A series of run-on sentences or short, choppy sentences will make an article less smooth to read. Hyperlinks or footnotes should be used to direct readers to other sites, rather than a full URL. Writers who intend to regularly contribute content will benefit from guides such as Strunk and White’s <i>The Elements of Style.</i> This easy-to-use manual is quite effective in ensuring that basic mistakes of grammar and style are avoided. Readers will appreciate when a site with excellent research also maintains close attention to proofreading.
A final and imperative step in creating excellent content is writing with a distinctive style and voice. Some sites, in their effort to focus on certain keywords or phrases, sound stiff or robotic. It is unclear in these sites whether they were truly written by a person who is interested in the topic. Writers interested in a site of effective content will try to maintain a distinctive style. Perhaps an author prefers an instructional tone; others may want to editorialize and have a more opinionated voice throughout. It is essential that a website has contributors who write with some kind of distinctive style. By combining these three elements–research, proofreading, and voice–a site’s content will increase rapidly in quality. There is little doubt that an increase in content quality will also help to boost page views and consistent visitors, ensuring SEO optimization for that site. Thus, putting this extra effort into producing content is a beneficial step for all involved.