The 7 Deadly Sins of Web Content

by Nicole Branigan on November 15, 2010 · 0 comments

Deadly Sins of Content WritingI’ve been writing a lot of blog posts that utilize metaphorical references to the Bible. Aside from my God complex, this may have something to do with the fact that I continue to watch companies and individual businesses commit what I consider deadly sins regarding their website(s).

We’ve all seen these. Hell, I’m guilty of a few of these. Being part of this crazy train we call the web development industry, and writing content for the web means learning, evolving, and improving our creative and systematic processes. I’m pointing out these deadly sins of copywriting because I’ve learned many lessons from many mistakes. If you’ve committed one or two of these, and have learned from them, I hope you find it beneficial to be reminded of them. If you’re currently committing these fatal errors, consider this an opportunity to see the error in your strategy and improve your process.

Sin #1: Not Consulting a Professional Regarding your Web Content

Nowadays, it’s customary to consult a designer for a logo and website design, and a developer to build your website. Why wouldn’t you consult a professional about your web content? Designers and web developers are talented professionals that usually work at the same company. The web development company you are working with should (at the very least) contract content writing out. Take advantage of this, so that you may consult with someone trained and experienced in writing content for the web to at least guide you in the write (hee hee) direction when you start to conceptualize your web content.

Sin #2: Not Addressing Web Content Until the Last Minute

I’ve been a part of projects where this is an unfortunate occurrence. In no way am I trying to trump web content over design and development. However, it should at least be on the same playing field. When content is an afterthought, the website will fail. That’s an unpleasant, but true fact in the world of web development. Spend time throughout the entire process thinking and talking about your content. Best case scenario: your content is professionally written and strategized before your website is even developed (and sometimes designed).

Sin #3: Failure to Optimize your Website and Images

Search Engine Optimization is a vast and ever-changing field of expertise I have only begun to delve into. However, if you don’t see the value in implementing meta-data and alternative text for your images, don’t expect your website to be found (unless you were lucky/wealthy enough to purchase the widely sought after Sex.com)

Sin #4: Going Live Without Any Content

No! No! NO! As a content writer, this is one of my most detested pet peeves. You’ve obviously not thought about your content (committing Sin #1), and you’ve likely not consulted with a professional (#2), which means you don’t fancy content as very important do you? Unfortunately for you, when your website is launched, announced, and exposed to the world your viewers will visit, see nothing there, become disappointed and confused, and probably never return again. You MUST have your content strategy fleshed out before you launch your website. This leads me to Sin #5

Sin #5: Failure to Think about an Ongoing Content Strategy

You’ve thought about your content, you’ve consulted a professional, and you’ve launched with beautiful, optimized content. Now what? Well, if you’ve consulted with the right professional, you’ve hopefully mapped out an ongoing content strategy. Videos, images, news articles, and more should all be written out in a comprehensive outline so there are no lapses in content. If you don’t do this ahead of time, it’s more than likely your web content will fall the way of the newest NBC drama: DOA.

Sin #6: Only Considering Text Content

Text is not the only form of content! Yes, text is great and wonderful and creates meaningful relationships between you and your customers and potentials. But consider the value of videos, images, and podcasts. Get excited about the near endless possibilities of creating content that will in turn, excite your audience.

Sin #7: Failure to Consider Alternative Options

As a cutting edge business owner, you must always be looking at different ways to engage with your audience. Not feeling a blog? Try a monthly podcast. Don’t have a studio? Commit to weekly YouTube posts regarding news in your industry. Even if you stick with conventional forms of content, at least consider the value in exploring your options.

There they are. As I see it, committing these 7 Deadly Sins are the fastest way to ensuring your website is never found by anyone. And if your website is found through some Interweb miracle, it likely won’t be visited regularly. Become an ongoing source of knowledge and content. Consult with a web content professional and explore your content options today.

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