This is going to be the first in a series of general guidelines to making your website useful, relevant, and, ultimately, successful.  These articles are going to focus on the things that the user can do help things like helping your website become more visible to search engines, making your content more user friendly, and much much more.

This article is going to focus on the most basic thing to make your website better:

Content, Content, Content!

Content is without question the single most important thing on a website.  Your website can be the most user-friendly, easy-to-navigate, beautiful, classy, (insert adjective here) website, but without good, well-focused, relevant, content, you’re website will not be useful to your audience.  Great content will increase return visitors, increase the number of links from outside sources to your site, increase your search engine exposure, but, and most importantly, you will get your message to more people, more effectively.

You may be asking yourself, “How do I create such great content?”  Well here are a few tips for just that:

  1. Relevant Content – First, is when you are writing for your website remember the scope (or purpose of your website). If the purpose of your website is to help non-profit organizations create stellar websites (sound familiar?), you shouldn’t be writing about your favorite band. Good relevant content keeps your users coming back for more (and isn’t the goal of every website?).  There is another great side effect to relevant content: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  The more relevant the content on your site the further up you website moves when someone searches for information that you provide. Connecting your target audience to you and the services they need, brilliant!
  2. Information Placement – Have you ever seen a website with its mission statement on the homepage? This is a perfect example of poor information placement. I’m not trying to say that your mission statement isn’t important or shouldn’t be easily accessible, however your mission statement rarely changes. Your users will see the same content every time they visit your website! How do I know if something has been updated or if my favorite event is coming up? People visit websites to find out information, or signup for an event, or, in other words, see what’s NEW! A visitor doesn’t want to make several clicks to find the information they are looking for; if your mission statement is the main thing on your homepage, it is nearly certain that a user will need to make at least one click to get to the information they are looking for.
  3. Breaking Down Barriers – This point builds upon information placement. The less barriers you have to your content the more successful the website.  The average web surfer only spends 7 seconds on a page and makes only 2 clicks before they stop looking for information. If this seems like a short time, you’re right.  Imagine if the above rule were correct 100% of the time, and your “Donate Now!” button was three-clicks away…No one would donate via your website because they couldn’t find the information.  If you want your visitors to DO something break down the barriers for them.  Put a way to buy tickets to your fundraising event right on the homepage; one click and they are buying tickets!
  4. Keep it Simple! – Unlike this post…make sure your content is clear and concise. Get to the point, we aren’t writing a novel, we’re getting our message out. There, simple.
  5. Emphasize – Emphasizing your important points is a great way to help you audience see your message loud and clear.  As you can see throughout these tips, the title is bigger than everything else, the topic of the article is 2nd biggest, and the all of the subheadings are bold.  A reader could easily skim this article and get the general idea of the whole thing without having to read the whole thing.  Some other great thing to emphasize:
    • Dates,
    • Times,
    • Events,
    • Links,
    • Donate Buttons,

That is all for now. I hope  this was useful and gives you some good ideas for your next article for your website.

3 Comments

  1. […] Welcome back to our series of general guidelines to creating a successful website.  This is our second installment and we are going to build on some of the concepts that we previously discussed in the first installment. […]



  2. […]  This is our third installment and don’t forget to check out our previous lessons on Content, Content, Content! and Web site Design: Function Before […]



  3. […] website. This is our fourth installment and don’t forget to check out our previous lessons on Content, Content, Content!, Web site Design: Function Before Form, and Website Best Practices. This lesson, in many ways, is […]