The What, How and Wow! of Excellent WebSite Content

There’s an old saying, “variety is the spice of life,” and when it comes to online content, there are many wonderful varieties to call upon to enliven and spice up a web site.

spicesContent forms other than copy blocks (words) can be used liberally on a web site, but must be be done in appropriate ways. The content must make sense, be relevant, and prove useful to web users.

As textbook author Kristina Halvorson writes in Content Strategy for the Web, a user wants “the content he needs, when and where he needs it.”

Textbook author/@halvorson via

Author/@halvorson via

The purpose of any content that’s added should help users do what they came to do, she says: gather information, make a decision, get help, or share relevant content.”

Five Great Samples – in Just One Site

In that context, one of the most effective users of content that I’ve seen is on the web site for Professor R. David Lankes at the School of Information Studies.

R. David Lankes/via

R. David Lankes/via

He has just debuted a new website, and it is attractive, clean, highly interactive, and very informative, entertaining, and useful. Lankes, known for his “New Librarianship” research and for his blog, “Virtual Blog, Real Dave,” engages consumers and allows them to interact in many different ways because of the variety of content he posts on his site.

Aside from great design, pretty photos, and intriguing words, Lankes’ uses truly meet the criteria of interesting, informative, relevant, and entertaining content. Take a look at these samples of his range:

Other References

PR Daily, from Ragan Communications, has an excellent list of “17 kinds of content people love to share” (hint: lists is one of them).

Professional-looking photos are of utmost importance for organizations that have the budget to produce them. However, small organizations or individuals who don’t have a significant amount to spend in that area can still obtain useful, relevant, interesting shots to include on the site (including by making them themselves, as I’ve done here for some.) Jennifer Kyrnin shares her ideas for using your own photos here.

As far as the range of content types you can use, Dr. Mani Sivasubramanian of SitePoint provides an excellent description and list of them, including some you may not typically consider.

Evaluate Each Piece

Content should not be added in just for its own sake, however. A few key things to remember when you’re thinking of adding content: first of all, is what is its purpose?

As content expert Halvorson writes, “every piece of content needs a job.” She says these jobs can consist of content that is meant to “persuade, inform, validate, instruct, or entertain.”

Her company’s web site, Brain Traffic, provides excellent advice and reading.

The key lessons to be learned about sprinkling “spicy” content into your website include the ability to prioritize your content, as Halvorson writes, in “Content Strategy For The Web“:

  • Requirements (legal or otherwise)
  • Reach (what are the audiences)
  • Relevance (importance and interest to users)
  • Richness (how valuable or unique it is)
  • Revenue ( how the content is likely to affect “site revenue-generating activities

Have you got some favorite examples of how content can enrich web presentations? Send us your thoughts and your example links here – we’d love to see them!



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