Creating Content - Guide for Websites and Content based Businesses

by Jennifer McNeith - Date: 2007-01-24 - Word Count: 1094 Share This!

This advice applies to websites, magazines, newsletters and to any individual or small businesses aiming to articles, reviews & other content in the form or articles, guides or reviews on practically any subject. For example a website with information about products, about fishing, golf or whatever. This advice will be most relevant to people just starting out writing and creating content, and people with new websites and businesses which they intend to grow.

I've discovered a lot about writing articles and other content such as reviews over the last year or so, but the most useful lesson I've learnt is this:

When choosing subject matter for an article always begin with as narrow and targeted a focus as possible.

Imagine you were creating a website on Antiques and Collectibles. It would be very tempting to come up with article ideas and titles such as 'The Definitive Guide to Antique Collectable Figurines', or 'Places to Buy Collectable Sculptures'. People are always falling into this trap, thinking that they must write some kind of 'definitive guide'. This belief is unfortunately reinforced by lots of Search Engine Optomisation guides that say that your website must be seen as a definitive resource in order to get visitors/customers from search engines such as Google

The problem with starting out with very general and all embracing article titles like this is that you are typically setting yourself up for a bigger task than you would imagine, and the effort versus reward ratio will typically be very low.

If you would like to produce an article of 1-3 pages (typical on the web). The amount of effort and research to create a balanced general article on, for example, 'gift sites on the internet' will be large and involve you in lots of research. Finally you have to edit it down to 1-3 pages anyway, typically leaving out much of the material you have researched. Another typical mistake is to do product comparisons. I'm not saying that product comparisons are bad, but just that there is a large amount of effort in comparing 5 products to produce only one article. As we will see below the effort to reward ratio will be much greater if you just do an article or review on one product at a time. You can do a comparison later. Its all about maximizing material and minimizing effort

What you should be doing to begin with is writing a 2-3 page article on as specific a subject as possible. In this case it would be likely to be an article about One type of collectable item. What you will have at the end is one 2-3 page article that will not have taken much research, editing and condensing. You might not think that a very specific subject is enough for a 2-3 page article, the thing is most people underestimate. Once you start writing it fills up very fast.

What's more the value and usefulness of the very narrow and specific article to visitors of your website is probably more than the general article, it is also more likely to be unique meaning that anyone searching for information on this specific subject on Google or other search engines will likely find you article at the top of the list of search results. You can still add keywords and phrases to the article like 'Guide to Gifts and Collectables Online' so that people searching on those terms in Google and other search engines may find it, although it will be low in the search results unless you website is highly ranked in general (this can come later).

Then you carry on doing very specific articles for a while until you have a decent number (20-30 maybe). One product, then another, then another... When you have enough material that you are very familiar with then you can then probably knock out a 'general guide' type article and not spend an inordinate amount of time doing it. You will also have a site packed with very targeted and useful information.

So there you go, its tempting but you really must avoid the urge to write very general 'definitive guide' type articles that involve research. If you are already an expert and can write off the top of your head, then that's clearly a different matter so go for it, but in most cases specific, targeted, narrow subject matter articles rule. Most people who start websites wanting to be the 'definitive guide to ...' underestimate the work and research involved, get bored and the site never sees the light of day. Even if you are an expert in your field you are still more likely to be competing with many other websites if you write general articles so you are still better off writing specific articles on unique subjects from your field of expertise

* Your first article or other content should be very targeted and specific. If you are a website on Health Supplements, then write an article on one specific supplement, or even better one specific supplement for one specific health benefit - the more specific the better
* Don't worry about thinking you won't have enough to write about on a very specific subject. Try to break down the article into a number of relevant headings and then write paragraphs around them. You will soon find that an article will flow and you will end up with more than enough useful information for a useful, informative article
* It would be best if your article is on a unique subject. This is much easier to achieve with very specific articles and content as opposed to 'general guides'
* Unique articles on carefully chosen, targeted, narrow subject matter will bring more traffic and customers to your website because you will have less competition in search engine results and won't need a highly ranked website with millions of other sites linking to you. As long as your site is indexed in the search engines (an easy task) and the article is unique. Your article WILL come top of the list in search results if it is the only one!
* Continue growing your website with narrow subject matter articles and content until you website's popularity grows - check the number of visitors you get and other factors such as your Google and Alexa Page Rank
* When your website is deemed as popular by search engines you may begin to receive visitors who are searching for more general information or general guides. This is the point to start turning your site into a more general and definitive resource

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Related Tags: guide, article, small business, articles, content, writing, seo, website, beginner, search engine optimisation, newsletter, tutorial, generating content, pamphlet

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