Visuals Grab Attention, Design Improves User Experience, but Written Content Sets You Apart
It’s easier than ever to put up a website from scratch. The Internet is decades old by now; these days, you don’t even need coding or development skills to build and maintain a polished-looking site.
But layout and imagery are only part of the equation when it comes to making a useful website. While people create websites for many reasons, few of them are intended for purely visual consumption. Unless you’re making a portfolio site for an artist or photographer, you’ll need quality written content for various purposes.
Content helps websites
Anybody can make a free website, but for serious purposes, you’ll want a dedicated server and a custom domain name. Other features, such as extra storage space and bandwidth, a custom email address, and an SSL certificate, are also highly recommended.
Thus, though a professional website might exist only in the virtual realm, it incurs real costs. And since not every website is an e-commerce storefront, many people resort to different methods to offset these costs. They might allow the placement of cost-per-click ads or affiliate programs on their site. Some add a ‘donate’ button to the page.
No matter what purpose your website serves, it benefits from increased views and viewer engagement. And that’s where having great content comes into play. It helps drive traffic to your site and increases link sharing. These measures boost your search engine optimization (SEO), making you more visible to new users who search for relevant terms.
For a site that sells products, content helps boost sales by drawing more leads and establishing yours as the go-to site within a particular niche. If you use your site to gain professional exposure, you lend yourself more credibility with quality content. And by restricting your best content to paid subscribers, it can turn into a form of revenue generation.
The case for good writing
However, we live in an era of sophisticated mobile devices and social media. This is the age of YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Like many other website creators, you must be wondering: is written content really that valuable? After all, with a little know-how in editing software, you can capture users’ attention much more effectively with a video or image.
Younger generations, in particular, do get a bad rep for having a short attention span. Yet the truth is, since we’re all being bombarded with so much attention-seeking information, we are evolving to become more selective. A picture can be worth a thousand words, but just as easily, in a single glance, you can dismiss it as irrelevant to your interests and swipe away.
The same applies to videos and presentations. Within the first few seconds, we get an impression of whether we’ll find the content interesting.
Great content can be visual, but it can equally derive from compelling storytelling. And written content shines in another aspect: SEO. Search engines ‘understand’ text more thoroughly. If your website delivers high-quality writing, you nail two birds with one stone.
Making an original connection
When it comes to writing good content, some principles are tried and tested. It would help if you catered to a specific audience. Don’t just write about art in general; talk about a particular trend in art. Or discuss the applications of new technology, such as the projects you can create with a laser cutter or etcher. Appeal to a diverse range of interests, but always be cohesive with your overall theme.
Think like a business; you want to connect to your ideal audience above all. At the same time, just like a business, you want to differentiate yourself to stand out within your market. As more websites in a niche start following the same best practices, those things cease to give you a competitive edge.
Content writing is a sub-discipline of content marketing. Pay attention to the emerging trends within that greater context, and you can create articles that resonate better with today’s audience. If you can’t find any solid research on new trends, resort to trial and error to find what works.
Are your viewers tired of clickbait headlines or different variations on the ‘listicle’ format? It might be time to experiment with a new format. Why not go for longer, meaty articles of 2000 or more words? You never know when a reader is up for 15 minutes (or more) of browsing activity. And this format allows you to explore a topic in greater depth.
Creating great written content is only one part of a successful website. But it’s an excellent way to go against the grain and demand greater engagement on the part of your readers. In a culture where sharing and reposting too often leads to sameness and groupthink, it’s a solid path to originality.