Website Blueprints/ pg. 3
CHAPTER 2: CONTENT
Just having a concept for your webpage isn't enough. Although ideas are powerful, you won't be able to keep anyone's attention if you don't have some good solid content.
No one can tell you how to write good content. But, there are three guidelines you should follow -- these come straight from my English teachers.
- Interest - The content that you include should be fairly interesting. Otherwise, the average reader won't stick around long enough to get past the first sentence. Although you can make up for some amount of interest by displaying your content in a stylish manner, the content should be able to hold its own; layout can't do miracles for poorly written content.
- Detail - You don't have to write a novel, but make your content detailed enough to hold the reader's attention. This is somewhat risky for a personal site: obviously, you might not want to reveal every detail of your life for strangers to see. But for most every other type of website, the more detail, the better. But make sure that you don't compromise quality for detail; minutiae can clutter the flow of thought, thus making your content less effective.
- Conciseness - This is the complement to detail; although you want to be thorough with your content, don't go overboard and provide 7-8 pages worth of redundency. Webpages, however informative, shouldn't be as thick as an encyclopedia; otherwise the reader will get eyestrain. The attention span for the average reader won't hold for more than about 10 minutes, so don't write about any one topic that will take more than 10 minutes to read and comprehend.
Besides those three guidelines, there are certain things that you can do for your textual content that will improve the quality. Check your grammar and spelling. No matter how good your content is, readers will have a hard time reading it with mechanical errors. Make sure you are writing in the King's English and that your spelling is correct at least most of the time. A diverse selection of words will keep monotony at bay -- however, I realise this may be difficult. I have used the word "content" 13 times, including the one you have just seen, because I couldn't think of a suitable substitute. All these factors will make the reader's experience at your site that much more enjoyable.
Now that you know my secrets for such spellbinding writing, you should learn about general layout now.