How to write and maintain useful and relevant content for your website

Content is the information that is on your website.

Creating content that is useful and clear is important. Unclear, poorly written or badly presented content is likely to frustrate visitors, undermine your credibility and discourage return traffic.

DigitalIQ tips

Writing for websites

When writing for the web, we suggest that you:

  • Use headings and sub-headings.
  • Write in short, concise sentences.
  • Use the active voice where possible (for example, ‘The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog’ not, ‘The lazy dog was jumped over by the quick brown fox’).
  • Avoid including unnecessary information.
  • Use bullet points and tables where possible.
  • Use keywords, highlighted hyperlinks and bolded words to draw attention to key points.
  • Keep pages short.
  • Use graphics and visual devices where possible.

Creating content

There are two questions you should address when creating content for your website:

  • Is the content relevant and interesting to your audience?
  • How should the content be presented to effectively communicate your messages to your target audience?

Maintaining useful content is important because content relevant to search engine queries will often rank higher in search results. This is an important part of  search engine optimisation. You should also consider what visitors to your site will expect to see, and develop content that is consistent with their expectations.

Take care to ensure your content is:

  • Accurate
  • Current
  • Your own (your organisation’s) intellectual property; or permitted to be republished by the copyright holder, and compliant with any other relevant laws (see ‘Legal tips’).

You can present content in a number of ways, including:

  • Simple text, such as on this page.
  • Multimedia content, like images, animation, audio and video.
  • Interactive content that includes  social media elements.

You should also think about how to use  hyperlinks effectively and present your content in a logical sequence.

 

DigitalIQ tips

Copywriters

If you require assistance with this process, professional copywriters who specialise in writing for websites can ensure your content is expressed clearly and effectively. When working with a professional copywriter, make sure that you retain the copyright over the written content.

For information on how much it might cost to hire a copywriter, see ‘Website building costs’.

Things to consider when creating content

When developing your website, plan which of your team members will have the responsibility for updating the content.

If you update content often, it can be helpful to have a content management system (CMS). A CMS allows people without web development knowledge to easily enter and update content on your site.

For more information about CMSs, see ‘Building your website’.

If you don’t have a content management system, you may need to hire a web developer to update your site.

For more information on how much it might cost to hire a web developer, see ‘Website building costs’.

Reserving content for future updates

It can be useful to have a stockpile of future content to gradually publish over time. This can help ensure that you have content on hand, no matter what else is going on with your organisation.

With some CMS, you can schedule the automatic publishing or removal of content at specific dates and times ensuring content stays up to date. For example, you may want a promotional offer to be published on your site during a specific time period.