Tips For Creating Quality Content

Creating quality content should be the goal of every webmaster, blogger or affiliate marketer. Content that qualifies as “quality” can certainly be subjective. That is to say, what I consider to be a quality article may be complete rubbish to you. Although we will never be able to please everyone with our content, we should try to please as many people as possible.

 

In these tips for creating quality content, I plan to cover topics that go beyond just the articles themselves. Yes, the quality of the articles themselves is important, but you should also consider the bigger picture. What do I mean by “the bigger picture”?

 

I’m talking about the presentation of your entire page! Everything on your page is considered content. The header, the images, the h tags……. everything! You could construct a literary masterpiece to rival that of Shakespeare, but if your website looks like a mosaic from a Kindergarten art class, nobody is going to stick around to read it.

(I know I tend to go to extremes with my analogies, but I think you get the point)

 

 

Making A Good Impression


 

People don’t read web pages the same way they read pages in a book. They tend to skim through the entire page first. Scrolling to the bottom and back to the top to get a quick overview of your page. (You did the same thing when you first opened this page, I saw you! 🙂 )

 

Since people tend to evaluate your site this way before reading your content, you only have a small window of time to convince them that your article may offer the quality content they’re looking for. The best way to achieve this is by maximizing the visual appeal of your pages. There are 3 things I concentrate on when doing this:

 

  • Formatting
  • Headlines
  • Images

 

I tend to use a method of formatting that I find most visually appealing when visiting other sites. That is, short paragraphs and double spacing between paragraphs. I try to stick to 3 lines of content per paragraph. (Adding images will make some of your paragraphs appear to be longer)

 

People will often skim through your page looking for interesting headlines. Headlines are a great way to break up your content and separate your ideas. I use H3 (Heading 3) tags for my headlines and give them a different color for visual interest. You can choose whatever color you like for your headlines as long as you remain consistent throughout your site.

 

Images can be a touchy subject for some. People love to show their artistic flare through the use of images and no one likes to have their creativity stifled, but there actually are better or worse ways to use images on your site. Many people are not aware of this but, placing images to the left side can hurt your SEO!

 

This is why I always place small and medium sized images to the right and larger images in the center. I know there are people who will insist on putting images to the left and that’s fine, but again, try to be consistent with how you design your pages. Staggering your images left to right might look cool, but it’s not enjoyable to read.

 

How To Create Quality Articles


 

I wish I could offer you one simple tip that would help you create killer content but it’s not that easy I’m afraid. Writing quality content is a skill. A skill that can be learned with enough practice. The easiest way to do this (in my opinion) is to really understand your audience. If you don’t understand how your audience thinks or you don’t understand their concerns, it’s hard to write articles that they can relate to.

 

Writing quality content comes down to your ability to communicate ideas in an effective way. You don’t need to be a great writer, learn to be a great communicator and the writing will take care of itself.

 

 

How To Sell Without Selling


 

Selling online is much different than selling in person. In real life situations, it’s usually one sales person and one or two prospects. You (as a prospect) don’t always have the option of finding another sales person. Online, it’s as easy as clicking the back button on your browser.

 

Unless you are extremely talented at writing sales copy, the “hard sell” approach can be……well…….hard. The rest of us need to use a much more subtle approach to selling. In other words, rather than trying to convince someone to buy something, tell someone how the product can benefit them and tell them in a way that purchasing the product seems like the next logical step.

 

Try To Make A Friend, Not A Sale


 

Have you ever told a friend about a great movie you just saw or a great restaurant you dined at recently? Sure you have, we all have. It probably never occurred to you that you were selling that movie or restaurant. That is known as referral marketing which is exactly how affiliate marketing works.

 

If you think in terms of recommending a product to a friend instead of selling a product to a stranger, you’re writing will flow better and seem more natural. People will enjoy reading your recommendations and may even feel more comfortable making a purchase based on your recommendation.

 

Creating Conversational Style Content


 

I know this next tip is going to sting a little bit for some people but I think it would vastly improve the readability of your content. Let me give you a scenario:

 

Suppose a friend comes to you and asks you if you can recommend a good auto mechanic. Would you answer them like this? “So, you’re looking for a reliable auto mechanic, well you’ve definitely come to the right place!”

 

If you wouldn’t do this in person, why would you do this on your website? I may be completely wrong about this, but when I see content like this on a website, I assume a sales pitch is soon to follow. And 95% of the time, I’m right!

 

There are a million other sites out there all claiming to be “the right place”. Instead of telling them they are in the right place, show them they are in the right place with friendly, helpful and conversational style content. I believe you will greatly increase the odds of your visitors reading your entire article this way.

 

Any questions or comments on my tips for creating quality content? Please leave them in the comment box below and I will respond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. Wayne

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the article on content writing, I got some great tips. You’re right about selling online. Selling doesn’t work online like it does in the real world.

    There is no eye contact so people will determine whether or not you’re trust worthy based strictly on what you write. If you’re just throwing a sales pitch people can tell and will be running the other way.

    Thanks Again!

    Wayne

    • Steve

      Absolutely. It’s way too easy to run from an online salesman (or saleswoman). You have less than 30 seconds to make a friend if you want to stand a chance of making a recommendation. Thanks for stopping by Wayne,
      Steve

  2. Ben

    Actually I DIDN’T scan the page first! I read from top to bottom, never missing a word. So there 🙂
    I love your analogies too…keep `em coming.

    This was good, and you’re right on the mark. ‘Natural’ is the main element to take away from this post. Now I’ll have to take a closer look at what I’ve written to see whether the conversational aspect is front and center!

    • Steve

      I’ll have to check my own work too! Now that I’ve put this out there, I better make sure I follow my own advice. Thanks for stopping in Ben,
      Steve

  3. Justine Olausen

    Wow Steve, I really enjoyed this article, this has given me some great ideas and now think I am going to go back through my site just to make sure I am following some of these great steps. Thank you so much :))

    • Steve

      Thanks Ena. I’m glad you found it useful and it looks like your site is coming along pretty nicely too 🙂
      Steve

  4. I was writing so many articles at one point, I decided to re-read some of them and that’s when I realized I had gone off topic; I was writing more for myself. And with some, I don’t even know what I was writing.

    Already implementing the ‘skimming technique’ that you have mentioned, I am now trying to make my content flow as naturally as I could and blend in with my selected images. Thanks for the great tips Steve!

    • Steve

      Hi Cathy, going off topic is a pretty common thing with writing content for your site. I know I’ve done it and continue to do it from time to time. Sometimes when I revisit some of my older articles, I wonder what I was thinking about too! Using short paragraphs and breaking my ideas with headlines helps to keep me on point so I don’t wander off toward unrelated things. Thanks for stopping in 🙂
      Steve

  5. Alissa

    I love this article so much! So many great tips on creating quality content! Thank you for the awesome, helpful information!

    And… I just HAD to pull this quote out from above:

    “You could construct a literary masterpiece to rival that of Shakespeare, but if your website looks like a mosaic from a Kindergarten art class, nobody is going to stick around to read it.”

    LOVE it! So good Steve! 🙂

    • Steve

      I figured you might appreciate that line seeing how you are a bit of literary connoisseur yourself 🙂 I’m glad you liked the article and I appreciate the kind words 🙂
      Steve

  6. Todd

    Hi Steve,

    Great article on writing quality content online. You make some great points about how you present content and I think you’ve got the right perspective on selling.

    It’s so true that when we natural suggest a product in every day situations, we don’t try to sell our friends on a product or movie recommendation, etc.

    We just give our natural take an whatever product and it comes off so much more authentic. I have also heard about never putting your pictures to the left. But the reason was because of how we are conditioned to read from a young age, reading left to right. And when a picture is on the left side, it makes it an uncomfortable experience for the reader.

    Anyways, great post and I picked up a few tips. Appreciated man.
    Cheers,
    Todd

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