Website Content Contributor

The role of content contributor is very important because on the web content is king. With that in mind here are some tips to help you create effective, usable content.

Be concise

People are busy and impatient so don't make them read more than absolutely necessary. Text should be short and easily digestible chunks.

Use sub-headings, lists and bold 

The first couple of seconds on a webpage is spent scanning for key phrases, if the content a visit is looking for isn't readily apparent they will move on. By using sub-headings, you can provide a clue as to what is on the page and it breaks up the monotony of large chunks of text. Lists, bolds and other basic formatting helps to guide readers to the most important content, but remember: if everything is bold, then nothing is bold.

Use links effectively

Websites are build using the inverted pyramid style, where an overview of the most important information is toward the beginning of your website with links deeper into your site to provide more content.

Don't use "click here" for links. Instead use an accurate description of the linked content, example:

instead of: "To learn more about our department, click here

try: "Learn more about our department"

Webpage vs downloadable file

We all use word-processing software to generate at least some of our content. Often, web content is generated from a collection of various word processor documents, PDFs and spreadsheets.

When is appropriate to copy that content onto a webpage and when is it better to simply upload to original document so that your visitors can download it themselves? It's a difficult decision, with no clear right and wrong.

Here are some suggested criteria:

  1. If the content is longer than about 10 printed pages, or intended to be read as a whole, you should probably post the document for download. Few people have the patience to read such long documents online -- they will probably print them out anyway. Long documents often benefit from the additional formatting that you can do in print. Finally, it can be very cumbersome to convert that much text to HTML.
  2. If your original document contains complex graphics or layouts it is better to post it for download. Complex documents generally can't be faithfully rendered into standards-compliant HTML.
  3. If your content is short and non-graphical, it is probably best to turn it into a straight-HTML webpage. It would be silly to make your visitors download a one-page Word document. If you have a longer document that visitors may only want to read a short section of, you should consider breaking the document into a series of shorter HTML pages.

Use graphics

It is suggested that you break up long chunks of text with graphics. This provided a physical marker in the content for retention and provides visual interest. Some suggestions for graphics include:

  • charts and graphs
  • photos that are meaningful to the content
  • slides
  • block quotes
  • icons, logos, etc.