1. Don’t try to be a web designer
Improving your web content shouldn’t involve adding design elements to make your page more eye-catching.
Your reader has already got to your page, they aren’t browsing the pages of a magazine or shop windows looking for something to jump out at them.
If someone is already on your page then they need a reason to stay.
A meaningless picture that doesn’t add value or a page with seven different types of font isn’t going to entice them to stay.
Good web content speaks for itself. It doesn’t need “fluff”.
2. Don’t be afraid of just words
As long as your page isn’t a dreaded wall of text then plain old words are ok.
When words are well crafted they can hold attention really well.
Think really hard about what your page should be about. Is it trying to tell a story or get someone to do something?
- what would a visitor to this page want to read?
- how could you give them that information in the best way?
- can you improve their experience?
3. Stop being selfish
Web content isn’t really about you. It’s about your user.
So stop trying to tell people the history of everything. It’s really boring.
Pick out the good bits.
4. Don’t be bullied
There are many people who have an opinion about what they think belongs on a web page.
They might not have your experience or knowledge about web practice, but their opinion counts – and sometimes carries a lot of weight.
One of the hardest parts of being a curator of web content is trying to convince other people that sometimes less is more!
- stick up for what you believe in
- use your knowledge to convince them that you are right
- give them examples and proof
Above all, remember that sometimes people make bad choices because they don’t know what the good ones are. They are looking to you with your expertise to educate them and support them. Don’t make people feel stupid, give them positive reinforcement for their good ideas and steer them away from the ones that aren’t the strongest.
5. Keep writing
Don’t be offended if someone tells you that they don’t like what you have written.
I’ve learnt that my first attempt is never my best. I’ll rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. (And I’m often still not happy!)
I move words around, I delete bits, I add bullet points and change how the page feels.
Be prepared to take advice from others and weigh up how valuable it is.
Stay open in your opinions and don’t be a diva!
(Although, occasionally I’m a diva.)
Actually, all the time when it comes to web content. I suppose no-one is perfect!