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What is Content Development for Websites?

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SEO content writing

Content development for websites is a strategy and process for publishing information that readers find useful, accurate, timely, important, engaging or entertaining.

It has its foundation in older forms of traditional publishing or broadcasting such as books, magazines, newspapers, radio and television.

Content development for websites uses a strategy and a process.

The strategy is based on the goals and objectives of the website along with an understanding of the desires of the target audience.

The process uses the strategy to focus the efforts on obtaining and structuring the content in a way that provides the greatest benefit to both the producer and the consumer. In that sense, process is also a set of procedures.

Content Development Strategy

All media requires a meeting point between producers and consumers. That meeting point is the basis for a content development strategy.

The producers gather or create the content they believe will produce revenue for them based on the wants of the consumers.

The revenue element is an inescapable consideration for the producers to stay in business.

The decision to create a piece of content is based on knowing that visitors to the site will want that article. It also considers advertisers willing to pay to place their ads next to the article. For example, let’s say an article about the NBA playoffs on a sports website.

The publisher, visitors and advertisers all get what they want if the following conditions are met. The NBA playoff article must be:

  • Timely. An article that appears two days after the game has little value compared to an article that appears two hours after it.
  • Accurate. Incorrect names or scores will damage if not destroy the credibility of the article and writer. Visitors will be less likely to come back.
  • Engaging. An article with photos and comments will be more engaging than one without.
  • Useful. More facts make an article more useful. A 700-word piece is more likely to provide value than a 100-word piece as long as the longer one is filled with facts about the game and not fluff.

That said, some content has high readership interest and low advertiser interest and vice versa. Media producers try to strike a balance between the two.

Other Benefits

Site visitors look for other benefits from good content development for websites.

YouTube thrives in part on entertaining videos. CNN provides important coverage of the news. Entertainment and importance are common values for site visitors.

A content development strategy requires the publisher to consider the benefits the site provides to:

  1. Its audience
  2. The expectations of the site visitors
  3. The kind of content that best suits those goals.

The strategy is not limited to the planning and thought processes behind a single article or video.

It also includes the bigger picture of how often the site publishes articles, what time of day, how it gets distributed via social media or other means, or how well it displays on a smartphone.

Another strategy factor is the potential for related user-generated content, especially comments.

Unmoderated comments will attract more postings, but they also raise the risk of inappropriate comments (swear words, racial slurs) that will damage the credibility of the article and even the entire site.

Moderated comments can enhance the credibility if they add substantive content or come with a link to a reputable poster’s profile.

Content Development Process

The typical content development process follows a series of steps, some of which are sequential and some of which are concurrent.

  1. Decide on the article topic, length, visual concepts and credible sources of information.
  2. Investigate the search engine optimization potential with a focus on the level of interest and the revenue value of the relevant keywords and synonyms.
  3. Gather as much written information as necessary from the credible sources.
  4. Write the article in a way that maximizes key benefits for a site visitor. Goals include usefulness, accuracy, timeliness, important, engagement or entertainment.
  5. Edit the article for grammar and SEO potential.
  6. Create or find the relevant visual concepts, i.e., photos, graphics, videos, slideshows.
  7. Enhance the package with interactive elements including comments and polls.
  8. Publish the results.
  9. Review the results regularly for performance and revise if necessary.

One important but often overlooked aspect of content development is a feedback mechanism from the people who consume the article.

That feedback process can be as simple as an email address at the top or bottom of the article. Readers can provide an opinion, ask a question or point out an inaccuracy.

More advanced versions include a full contact form or a mini poll that allows them to rate the article on various standards such as the ones listed above.

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