Friday, April 23, 2010

Producing Quality Web Content

by M. J. Joachim
Updated 11/18/15



Quality web content is so much more than words on a page. Everything must be taken into consideration, including platforms, words, pictures, special effects, links, resources and anything related to, or affecting, what is being published.

Audience: Being in tune with your audience, who they are and what they expect to see you publish, makes all the difference when it comes to getting a positive response and more page views on your work. If your work is abstract, don’t suddenly hit them with a bunch of technical work. If your work is comical, try not to get too serious. Quality web content has a certain consistency to it, and once you’ve developed a following, you need to remain consistent with your audience.

Content: Content, whether it’s an article, artwork, video or other medium, should be relevant to your target audience and faithful fans. It’s okay to think outside the box sometimes, but that should never be your primary goal, as consistency is key to getting more activity and awareness on your work. Evergreen content is always good, because it rarely loses its application, and is almost always reliable and trustworthy. Content can be all of these things, using different perspectives and angles to make it more interesting. You can even create a little controversy to stir things up and get people thinking.

Links: Use with caution, because broken or bogus links will always cause a problem for you. Links should be used to enhance a piece, providing added resources and information. They can also be used to praise another author, providing the page or pages being linked to are anchored and will be reliable and sustained over time. It’s up to you to continue checking to make sure those same links don’t disappear, meaning you need to remove them when you update your work and keep your own pages running smoothly.

Marketing: Social media platforms and posts differ greatly from each other, so when you market your work, assuming you’re not publishing it directly on social media, you need to tailor it according to the marketing platforms you use, so your efforts to get more publicity for your work are maximized, and not harmed by your efforts. Twitter keeps it short and sweet. Facebook introduces it. Pinterest uses photos, Google+ encourages conversation etc. It’s important to know how to present your work in social media settings, giving it that added quality boost to increase its likelihood of being noticed and shared.

Pictures, Artwork and Photos: If you’re enhancing a literary piece, by adding pictures to your work, it’s important to make sure they draw attention to your words, as opposed to becoming the focal point of your project. If pictures or artwork are the focus of your piece, it’s necessary to use words effectively, so they don’t detract from the artwork being displayed. How to posts and manuals benefit greatly from using pictures. The words need to be clear and concise, working together with the photos (or videos), without distracting from the demonstration presented in the visual element of the published work.

Platforms: Publishing pages on a blog is much different from publishing them in a book. All blog posts do not automatically transfer to book platforms, and vice versa. You must tailor your work to the prescribed platform. Educate yourself about the platform you are using, and know everything it has to offer. Be clear about its limitations too, so you can make adjustments in your publication accordingly. Using this same train of thought, still photos and pictures are completely different from interactive videos and apps. Choosing the appropriate platform for publication of your work is essential, if you want to attract the most visitors, develop the largest fan base and be considered a credible publisher in your desired field.

Resources: You can never use too many, but you need to qualify the ones you use. It’s easy enough to become inundated with information about a topic. Your goal is to use the best and most current information possible. University sites and research centers are a good place to start. Go to the source, if you’re publishing about a person, place or thing, and do your own research. Then back it up with reliable information you’ve found in solid resources that make sense. If you can’t back up your own research, btw, you’ve got a bit of a problem, and may need to postpone your intended publication date, until you sort out and determine the most accurate information to publish.

Special Effects: Videos, interactive and high energy pieces need to be contained within your given platform, so they work correctly. Use the tools available within your platform to include them in your work. This goes back to knowing platform limitations, because if your platform doesn’t handle your special effects well, it could create big problems for your audience, and possibly even damage your reputation as a publisher.

Self publishing is not an easy business to be involved in, and it’s highly unlikely many of us will get rich off the work we provide to the public. If you’re like me, you’re in this field for the love of it, not to scavenge for pennies that may or may not be there on any given day, and certainly not to be flattered by everyone who spends a moment or two looking at your work. Producing quality web work is as much about you, as it is about the people who view your publications. 
There’s a sense of honor and dignity associated with it, a personal pride that should rightly go into your work, showcasing it with maximum satisfaction, because you know you put your best foot forward, and your publications meet high standards worthy of being received with praise and appreciation. If this was about the possible pennies, everyone would be doing it, but this is about you, your talents and skills, what you have to offer and how you present yourself to the world. So do it with a smile, do it with flare and do it because you are an amazing person, capable of turning heads and getting people to take a second look at everything you have to offer.

With gracious appreciation to my audience, I wish you the best in all your publishing adventures.

M. J.

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