Content over Cover: Websites are more than surface-deep

Content over Cover: Websites are more than surface-deep 

Despite an obvious trend toward the superficial, content still trumps appearance when it comes to building a successful website.

In a recent article, published in Content StrategistStrategist , author Leanna Kelly simply contends, “bad content equals bad customer service.” The online world is an impersonal one, to make up for this customer service and quality content must be held as paramount.

Filler is for floozies

There has got to be a point to the content you are publishing. Companies obsessed with constantly uploading content are missing that point. Consider the tried, trusted and true adage; “quality over quality” when deciding what to post. Bombarding your subscribers or visitors with content for the sake of content is harmful. All content must have value. Too much filler cheapens any quality content you might have.

Kelly points to NBC TV’s Instagram feed as epitomic of the spreading quantity over quality plague. A constant barrage of sleazy photos might increase views and followers, but this is a short-term gain and it is as superficial as the content attracting it. Though NBC TV might be gaining an audience that is attracted to cheap kicks, it is losing the respect and attention of another.

An image worth a thousand words?

When it comes to graphics and photos the same rules apply to written content. Carefully selected relevant images can help to draw in attention and can further a point, enhance meaning. However, too many photos, for the sake of filling space or adding color is not only useless, it may be harmful. Generic images do nothing to improve a website’s functionality. It may distract a user from their original purpose and send them away from your site. Similarly a poor quality image is distracting and unappealing. When selecting  images ensure they are relevant, promote the sites goals and are of  high quality.

A good rule to follow is pairing images with content. Mashable lists several websites that have successfully used images to further their goals. Most notably is Zady, a web-based company specializing in ethically manufactured goods. Each available product is presented with an image and a backstory. The image works to initiate attention, and the backstory maintains it. Creating a more involved relationship between the viewer and the product and importantly the viewer and the company.

Assume your viewers are intelligent

A failure to post meaningful, quality content is insulting to your viewers. Chances are your potential clients could create a website and content better than yours, (especially if you are guilty of the sins listed in this post!) Increasingly web-savvy clients are everywhere and they know what they want. Assume they know your competition, they do.  Assume they are worthy of intelligent, deliberate content, they are.

Promote trust with content that counts

In concert with the last point, the average consumer is smart enough to figure out if they are being oversold. Imbalanced content can be as harmful as bad quality content. Don’t put a rose colored lens in front of your content, provide balance and objectivity. For example, if you are deciding on content for a real estate blog. Don’t sugar coat the market trends. Tell it like it is. If markets are slow consumers deserve to know, and remember, they most likely already do. Balanced content is quality content and it bolsters trust. When it comes to connecting with customers through content focus on building trust, sales will follow.

In conclusion

Focus on content. Consumers want and deserve value for their time spent on your site. Give it to them. Keep it simple, clean, straight forward and balanced.  Anticipate the intelligence and needs of your consumers this will bring them to revisit your site, and for the right reasons.