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Blog and Site Content – Get it Right from the Start

February 3, 2011 By Lorcan Kinsella

Seeing as this is my first blog post I thought I would keep it current. Respected members of the blogosphere maintain a properly-maintained blog usually calls for lots of content and I  totally agree. Your visitors keep coming back to read your words of wisdom. But what if you’re running short on inspiration? Where can you get more content? A good way is, what I find is “Write down on a sheet of paper every question a prospect/customer has ever asked you.” Then use your blog posts to start answering those questions. After all, if your customers and prospects are asking you those questions, your blog readers are probably wondering exactly the same things. You can also use your posts to solicit questions from your readers, and answer them in follow-up posts. Or you can ask your customers questions about how they’ve used your product or service, and share their answers with your readers. Set aside some time regularly for a little bit of brainstorming and you’ll never run out of topics.

Now let’s talk about some of the elements of website design and redesign. I’ve heard it said that a picture is worth a thousand words – and more than one web designer has observed that it better be, because it takes up a lot more memory. That said, you do want to use them, but you want to use them judiciously. Images should complement the text they accompany. In other words, they should be relevant to your content.

Despite their clarity, though, never assume that images are self-explanatory. Always include ALT tags and captions that explain what they are and how they relate to your content. You’ll help both humans and search engine spiders visiting your site to put your images in the proper context. So much for still images; what about the ones that move? Should you include video in your website redesign? Well, Cisco recently forecast that video will make up more than 91 percent of global consumer IP traffic in 2014. If you want a piece of that, you’d better figure out how to add video to your website. Yes, a good video can take some work, but it’s gotten much easier, and you don’t need to go crazy. Like still pictures, video can be used to explain certain things more succinctly and clearly than just text or even still images. You can use video to walk prospects through your product’s features and how to use it, for example. This could be especially useful if you’re getting feedback from customers that tells you they’re having a problem; show them how to solve it. I recommend using video to highlight case studies and introduce industry-specific data. If all of these changes sound a little scary, keep in mind that you don’t have to do everything all at once. Indeed, you shouldn’t. It’s easier to make gradual, incremental changes to your website, look at me just starting with one blog and taking the next step – “Incremental changes reduce the probability of unexpected user experiences and confusion.” They could also reduce the chance that you’ll put changes into place that lead to outrage from your users. Think about the various changes that Facebook has made to the way its site functions. Mashable Co-Editor Ben Parr noted that “major overhauls of large websites don’t go over well.” You don’t want to scare your visitors, and drastic change can do that.

That’s all for now. If there’s interest, later I’ll cover some more things you should keep in mind as you’re redesigning your website.
Lorcs over and out!

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