Does quality matter?

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Add value to your contentHi, this is my first post on Content Matters – a blog about web content and copywriting.

I’ll be putting up a new post every week, and checking in regularly to keep an eye on things between posts.

Have a read and let me know your thoughts…

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I once got talking to a contact at a networking event who asked whether I would take a look at a website and tell her how it could be improved.

The website belonged to a friend of hers and she wanted to help her friend improve it.

The website had a good, clean design – and was the perfect visual representation of what the friend’s business was about.

Grammar, spelling and meaning

But once I started to read through it, I noticed that the text had been ruined by spelling mistakes and grammatical errors – and some of the information was hard to understand.

Since then I have been wondering more and more about quality content and what it means. Is quality subjective when it comes to content – one of those ‘it’s in the eye of the beholder’ things?

Perhaps it’s a nice-to-have that isn’t that important in the general scheme of things. This leads me to ask: does quality content matter?

I think it does.

First, let me explain what I mean by ‘quality content’. Quality means accuracy. It means being precise. And quality content builds trust.

Building trust in your website

Consider this example: think of a website that contains a price list and details about forthcoming events.

Visitors to such a website will expect the prices to be right (and consistent), and they will expect that each event will have against it the correct date, time and venue.

But that’s not all.

Quality extends to the words you use and how you put them together. This is because it is what helps your readers to find what they are looking for on your website.

The last thing you want to do to your readers is distract – or annoy – them with avoidable errors.

Helping your readers find what they want

Think of the words on your website as helpful signposts or points on a map that lead your readers to their goal: the information they want or the products or services they would like to buy.

Now imagine how you would feel if you were stuck in an unfamiliar town without a signpost (or compass or Satnav), and no hope of getting to where you want to get to.

Is your news new?

Quality content also means current content. We have probably all seen examples of out-of-date websites – and understandably, have probably not been tempted to visit them again.

So, returning to the example of the events listing, a ‘forthcoming events’ section that contains details about events that have already taken place is of no value to customers.

In the same way, a solitary ‘latest news’ piece bearing the not-so-new date of 10 October 2008, will do little to inspire confidence.

Top three quality content tips

To sum up, here are my top three tips for producing high quality content:

  1. get the facts right
  2. use good grammar/spelling
  3. publish up-to-date information

More easily said than done, I know but as the networking contact I spoke to pointed out, quality content can certainly be worth the effort.

Post written by DEBBIE THOMAS on 25 November 2010.

About Debbie

Debbie

Hello, I’ve worked as a contract content designer on government digital projects since 2012.
I work as part of a team of digital experts with subject specialists, producing everything from flat content to transactional screen content.

By Debbie

Debbie

Hello, I’ve worked as a contract content designer on government digital projects since 2012.
I work as part of a team of digital experts with subject specialists, producing everything from flat content to transactional screen content.