7 rules of thumb for high-quality website content
by Marijn van der Zaag, on Dec 9, 2013 2:25:00 PM
Meaningful and well-described content increases chances of engagement. How cloudcast care translates to content quality care.
I am a very active user of Mixcloud.com, a music streaming service. I publish my own cloudcasts, listen to others, and interact with fellow users. Over the years, I have defined some personal criteria that help decide whether I want to follow a Mixcloud user or not. Most, if not all, of them are directly related to content quality.
To Follow or Not to Follow
- Meaningful titles.
Cloudcasts have meaningful names; more than just a date, week number, or month.
Cloudcasts have useful tags (up to 5 are allowed in Mixcloud). Personally I use genre tags because I post such a broad range of musical styles.
Cloudcasts have a tracklisting. I love to know what I'm listening to, because I might want to buy a track myself. Bonus points for timestamping, which ensures second-by-second accurate meta information.
- Relevant biography.
A meaningful user profile that tells me something about their musical taste and cloudcasting behavior. No link stuffing, please.
How much a user interacts with other Mixcloud users: does s/he favourite other cloudcasts, leave comments?
- I don't like offensive pictures and rude language.
- Follower base.
I'm always curious to know how many users follow someone, and how many users s/he follows back. This is never decisive, however; otherwise I'd never follow people new to Mixcloud.
Aside from the quality of the musical selection itself, the metadata surrounding the cloudcast is a major decisive factor for me. If you care for your cloudcast, I'm much more likely to follow you. Which is what any Mixcloud user aims for: a large follower base to share their music with.
Rules of Thumb for High-Quality Content
Applied onto web content, the following rules of thumb apply:
- Every page a title.
Give a web page a meaningful title. No page should ever be allowed to go live without one. Writing effective page titles is an underrated copywriting skill.
- Every article tagged.
Provide an article with keywords that allow for further reading of blog posts tagged similarly. That is only one, very useful, application of tags.
- Every page a metadescription.
Describe the page. What can I expect to learn from it? The metadescription is the best place to do this because of its multiple use: it's the preview text displayed when you share it a social network and it's how your page description appears on Google's results page.
- Every article personally branded.
Let me know who's speaking. If you're blogging on behalf of a company, tell me something about yourself and about the company. Not just about the company. People like people.
- Public social stats.
Give me an insight into your social stats. Where can you be found? How active are you there?
- Avoid offensive pictures and rude language.
- Visible follower base.
Show me how popular your content is. How many times has it been shared through Twitter? How many followers do you have?
If you want people to engage with your content, these are ground rules to follow. Content of these quality standards is findable, likeable, and engaging.