We like to talk an awful lot about all the various ways in which you can get your site hosted. Occasionally, we’ll even branch out a bit and talk with you about the ways you can slap a site together. Today’s article is going to be somewhere in the middle, as instead of looking hosting or content management systems proper, we’re instead going to be looking at everything else in the middle. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to be talking about content.
You see, we have a feeling that a lot of folks wind up with a pretty killer site setup on an incredible host. However, they reach this point and then have to ask themselves a pretty dramatic question: “What do I do with all of this space?” If you’ve got an idea for what your site should be, but you’re not quite sure how to go about getting that well, done then you’re in the right place.
When we talk about copy within the realm of web design, we are not talking about tracing or otherwise reproducing something that’s already been made. In fact, the word “copy” means something entirely different here.
Copy is a vital part to any website, as it’s what largely drives search engine traffic—oh, and readers to your page! The copy your supporting should talk about something that interests people. It should also contain enough references to that topic that engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing! will recognize it. For instance, if you own a site about gardening, but you write about hamburgers, you’re not going to get a lot of prioritized traffic.
Writing copy should, in our opinion, largely come from you. However, if you’re not much of a writer, or you’ve simply got nothing to say, you can outsource this work to handy people called writers. Industry standard pay is $0.02 a word, which isn’t much to ask for creating the actual content of your website. Furthermore, with someone else at the wheel, you can quite accurately direct the concept of your site’s pieces.
Another important content point to consider is the ye olden photograph. Presumably, you’re going to want to fill out your site with quite a bit of images, that way it’s appealing to the eye, and offers some visual support for whatever it is you’re saying in the copy. That beings aid, obtaining images that work well with what you’re doing can be quite a bit more difficult than just creating text or blog posts. Here’s how we’d go about it:
If you’re a photographer, you’re golden. Just go shoot some photos you like, and then put them up on the server. However, we understand that hardly anyone is going to be able to do this, and in fact, most photographers we know still use other methods to fill their sites with content. With that in mind, here’s a better method:
Stock photography is not a sin, and in fact, it can often save your butt from a lot of trouble. Use a quality stock photography site (iStockPhoto is a decent one) that doesn’t charge too much for their images, but has a wealth of them to pick from. The idea is that you want to have a lot of variety in what you’re able to choose. This helps to safeguard you against accidentally being stuck with a dorky stock photo. How many times have you seen a bunch of laughing guys standing around a water cooler? Yes, we’re tired of it, too.
Essentially, the real investment here is a time one. You’re going to need to spend quite a bit of your daily work availability looking for good photos. If you’d like, you can outsource this work to a design agency, but for the most part, you aught to be able to do it yourself. Also keep in mind that good content (including photos) is actually relevant to whatever it is you’re talking about on your site. No stray photos should slip out the gate, if your site is to be a decent one.
The last content point we’d like to talk about is actually one of the newer ones. Ten years ago, we were having a hard time simply adding photos and text to our sites, much less video. However, since the invention of YouTube, the world has changed quite a lot. Videos are now a fantastic way to add content to your site, and they’re often the cheapest.
Videos are seen and seen quickly by their viewers. As such, they’re often a great replacement for a long blog post, or even a series of pictures. If you have a web camera, you can quite easily replace your text productions with a lengthy video of you talking. If you’d like to get a bit more in-depth, you can also quickly create kinetic typography videos for your content. Want to do even more? Add a custom-made flash piece to the whole rig. It’s not too difficult, but if you’d rather not touch the project with a ten foot pole, outsource it.
All in all, videos are gaining more presence with search engines, and as they’re used more often than not on the Web, their place on your site will only become clearer. As such, go ahead and add some: You wont’ regret it.