Our guide to writing good content on your website

16/05/2019 by Fran Davison

Mixd's best practice guide to writing good content.

Good content is extremely important, whether you’re writing to inform users about an event, to advise them on key information or persuade them to invest in your service.

Top 10 content must haves:

  1. Follow accessibility guidelines
  2. Make written content short and concise
  3. Use headings to break up content
  4. Add keywords in the heading for SEO
  5. Tables are for tabular data only!
  6. Use high quality images to capture attention
  7. Put ‘alt’ tags on images for accessibility
  8. Use lists and bullet points (they emphasise important information)
  9. A links text should describe what it does
  10. Be consistent!

Our best practice guide

Without further ado, here is our best practice guide to writing good content!

Public sector guidelines

Today, there are many factors that need to be considered when creating content for the web. Working closely with the NHS and other public sectors means there is a standard set of guidelines in place by the Government to ensure that the process is correct. We follow the Service Manual created by the Government Digital Service (GDS) for all our projects.

Accessible for all

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 guidelines show how to make web content accessible. There are a substantial amount of things addressed in here which are useful, whether you are a designer, developer or content manager!

Writing for the web

Any written content should be short and concise. Smaller paragraphs make a bigger impact. Users tend to skim read to get to the content they want so if you are able to provide the answer quickly without them having to read a lot then you’ll get lots of brownie points!

Give me an H!

Headings are so important and I can not stress this enough. Not only does it look good by breaking up content but it allows a user to identify important information and find it quickly when necessary. It shows a flow in the content and allows users to follow a path through it. The key is to keep every web page as consistent as you can.

There are different types of headings that are used:

  • H1 which should only be used at the top of content.
  • H2 which is probably the most popular heading in your content. This is used for the beginning of new content paragraphs.
  • H3/H4/H5/H6 headings are used for support and can detail smaller points.

Just look at this blog to see what I mean!

Top Tip: Add keywords in your H1 tags for that ultimate SEO boost!

When to use tables…

Tables should be used for tabular data (data which can be organised in to a table) only. If the information doesn’t need to be in a table, then don’t put it in one. Even on a great responsive website, if the data in the table isn’t appropriate, the mobile view will still falter. When in doubt about what is suitable, think small tables with few words and numbers!

Yes No
ABC 1 1 2
ABC 2 3 4

Images are more than they seem

Images are an important aspect in content, they capture the attention of a user and can also help and enhance understanding of the content. Any images used should always be relevant to what is being written about in the copy.

Laptop with writing on the screen.

 

Images should always be high quality, particularly in picture resolution. The file type should also either be JPG or PNG. We use WordPress, a content management system for all our projects very easy for our clients to use and following these guides work best within there! Using high quality images makes you look professional and well, nobody enjoys looking at an unclear picture!

Alt tags are extremely important. For those of you who may not know what an alt tag does here is a quick 101:

An Alt tag is a sentence which describes the image. For people who are visually impaired and using screen readers, they will be told what the image is.

They are best practice for good accessibility and are also great for SEO purposes.

List and bullet points

Adding in lists and bullet points breaks down information making it easier to read, why? Well:

  • It breaks up large blocks of content
  • Emphasise important information
  • Helps with the overall readability of a page

‘Link’ up the right way

Many times in content you will see full URL links directing the user to click on the link but, in terms of accessibility, this is not best practice.

As described in the WCAG 2.1 guidelines – ‘the text in the link is intended to describe the purpose of the link”. You can read more about how WCAG 2.1 guidelines recommend links are used.

So instead of:
“More information on content can be found on our blog – https://www.mixd.co.uk/blog/

It should read:
More information on content can be found on our blog

Something little but it makes all the difference and it works for both internal and external links. Links are a great way of showing validity in what you’re talking about but also help increase SEO!

Remember…

There are so many important things to consider when creating content. Official guidelines should always be used at the forefront. Our best practice guidelines could be used alongside these to make sure that your content is a success!

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