Three Types of Website Content? I Don’t Think So

Shane Diffily has a blog, wrote a book on website management, and posted this article (I think to help sell his book). The artcicle states that “website content can typically be classed into one of three types” – then he lists the types of website content – content that ” persuades, sells, and reassures.

I think he’s been hangin’ with corporate types a little too long. For starters, his OWN POST doesn’t really fit into any of the tree categories. I suppose it could be argued that it would be Selling, since he links to info on his book at the end of the article… but is it really? In reality, the actual content is all about providing info (in this case, info on web content). So it’s not Selling (nor is it Reassuring or Persuading).

And what about coding sites telling you how to create Jave widgets? Or, for that matter, the HUGE realm of information-based content (like, say libraries should be putting out)? Nothing on my library’s website is persuading, selling, or reassuring… it’s all about providing information and providing access to that information. That’s what we as libraries do!

Then there’s the whole chunk of the online ENTERTAINMENT industry… is free music on MySpace selling music? Hmm… for that matter – what about the rest of MySpace? Info about me? Definitely not selling, persuading, or reassuring.

Sorta makes you think…

How to Write Blog Post headlines

Gee – mine’s not nearly as good as the original post’s headline: Writing Headlines That Get Results. Go take a peek at this post, though – there are some great suggestions in it about writing better headlines for your blog posts.

The ideas presented ALSO apply to library websites in general – we can all work on writing:

  • better page titles
  • better article titles
  • better subject headings
  • better link wording
  • better email subject lines
  • etc

By the way – I’ve just subscribed to the blog, too – there’s some good stuff there about online writing in general.

Writing for the Web

Website content & usability is an extremely useful article on writing for the web. The author gives eight guidelines:

1. Use clear and simple language – the KISS principle.
2. Limit each paragraph to one idea – Believe it or not, you learned this in high school english class. Really. And it still applies today.
3. Front-load content – if anyone took a newspaper writing class… this is the inverted pyramid writing style.
4. Use descriptive sub-headings – this is also useful when writing magazine articles.
5. Bolden important words – “bolden” – is that really a word? Ick. Good point, though. It’s another way to visually break up text into easy-to-read snippets. But you can do his in other ways – color can do the same thing.
6. Use descriptive link text – no “click here” language.
7. Use lists – like this one… :-)
8. Left-align text – his point is that left-aligned text is easier to read than justified text. Not sure if I completely agree with that one, but whatever.

This list (and the actual article) can be summed up this way: make your content easy to read! You worked hard creating it, buying it, and transforming it into something useful for your customers. Now make it easy for those customers to digest it – and learning how to write for the web is one way to do that.