When it comes to your website, it helps to be able to identify issues and problems. This is mainly so you know what sort of help you might need, but, also, so you understand what the issues are when a marketing agency presents them to you.
There are a number of different criteria we look at when we assess content. Most people make the same simple mistakes, which, in theory, often sound like the right direction to head in. But, unfortunately, some of what sounds like common sense and conventional wisdom doesn’t necessarily work for users or search engines.
So what issues do we look for and how do we fix them?
The first thing we do is look at the content on a website. There are different considerations to make depending on if we’re looking at content from an SEO, conversion, brand, or purely content-based point of view.
This means we look at various criteria, including:
- Keywords – Are there too many or too few?
- Subheadings – Are they beneficial and segmenting content in the right way?
- Tagging – Such as for images and categories. Is everything as findable and accessible as it can be?
- Formatting and layout – Is the content laid out right on the page, or is it difficult to read?
- Audience – Is it aimed at the right people?
- Tone – Does it sound right for the brand and audience?
- Consistency – Does it sound like the rest of the content on the site?
- Quantity – Is there too much or too little of it?
- Punctuation and grammar – Would an English teacher be mortified when looking at it?
This helps you to work out where the issues lie, how severe they are, and the steps you need to put them right.
Once you’ve identified the issues within the content on your website, you can begin to work out whether you can fix what’s already there or you need to start from scratch.
Formatting issues such as subheadings, proofreading and dealing with content, like where someone has been a bit trigger happy with the keywords, are simple enough fixes. This doesn’t necessarily impact the point a piece of content is trying to make as much as it just makes the piece easier to read and understand.
However, larger issues, such as problems with audience or tone of voice, or dealing with a lack of content, are trickier to fix.
This is the point where replacing that content entirely becomes more of a consideration. This way you can ensure everything is working and delivering on the potential a topic or page has.
You might have a piece that is completely beyond the level of knowledge an audience is accustomed to. Or you could have a piece of content on a serious site that is written in a more tongue-in-cheek way. This can be jarring and off-putting, so the key is to make sure all of the content on your site is consistent in its tone and approach.
The sheer amount of rewriting and restructuring this can take to put right, often means you need to start from scratch to help the content flow properly for a reader.
You might also consider starting from scratch with a piece of content that is either too long or too short. Sometimes, this becomes a mess and a case of untangling ideas or trying to join up concise points, which have been left in isolation, to provide context. But where do you even start cutting down or expanding content?
The trick to expanding content isn’t just writing in a more elevated way. Expanding a piece should always involve logic and ensuring anything you add is relevant.
For example, think about a product description. You might be describing a dress and have a short description that covers a handful of points. However, you could expand this further by thinking about your audience, your other services or product lines, or the questions you could answer within your description. One way to think about this is:
- Style – What shape the dress is cut to
- Material – What it’s made out of
- Colour – What colour it is
- Style – What shape the dress is cut to:
- The benefit of this
- How it applies to a trend
- The body features it accentuates
- Material – What it’s made out of:
- Why is it made from this fabric?
- How easy is this to care for?
- What’s the texture like?
- Does it provide extra comfort?
- What are the USPs
- Colour – What colour it is:
- What accessories and other items could complete the look?
These are all simple additions that can add so much more value to a piece of content. This is before you start thinking about including a call to action (CTA), or a sentence or two, directing users towards the next step in their journey through your website.
The same logic can be applied to a blog post or landing page. Once you have the basic information you need to get across, what else could you include to add value to reinforce a point to a reader?
In the situations where you have much more content on a page than you actually need, you might find that it’s hindering usability and not offering users a particularly great experience.
Sometimes, less is more, meaning that overly bloated content needs to be cut down.
There are a couple of simple ways to do this.
- Look at the points you’re making and see if they can be simplified
- How much repetition is there and is it necessary?
- Does something need to be written? Could an image suffice?
- Consider lists and bullet points – Can large passages of text be broken down into something shorter?
The aim of streamlining content is to make it easier to read and digest.
Keep in mind that some pieces of content will require a longer wordcount to make the point they need to. Sometimes streamlining a piece of content might also mean splitting a larger piece into smaller parts.
Not only does this break a lengthy topic into smaller chunks, but it also allows you to build a strategy around a piece of content, as you release each part either daily or weekly, for instance.
Getting more from your content
Content needs to deliver in so many different areas, from a search perspective and reinforcing a brand, to delivering value to customers and other visitors to your website.
Understanding the issues that can hinder that content, and the steps you need to take to work around or solve them, is crucial.
We’d love to explore how our content marketing strategies could deliver results for your business. To arrange a brief telephone conversation with one of our team, call 0845 322 5132 or get in touch to find out more.