There’s a lot of garbage-y content out there online. And if we’re not careful, that content clutter may try to find a home on our own websites.
Even school marketers with the best intentions can (and will!) let a few bad content choices muddy up the good stuff, so I’m here to help.
Here are the most common website content mistakes I see, and how to fix them. Scan your site for these offenders, and send them to the dump today:
#1: There’s Too Much of It.
If the statistics are to be believed, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average website visit; 20% is more likely. So it’s critical to make sure that the words they do read are important. Too many words on a page decreases this chance.
#2: It Looks Like Your AP English Essay.
Huge blocks of texts are as off-putting on the web as they were when you were writing them back in high school. Because reader attention spans online are seriously shorter than your average goldfish, you just don’t have the time to allow your readers to scan through big chunks of content to find your core story.
#3: It’s Ugly.
You may not think of your text as a design element, but it is. Content that breaks your brand style guide stands out like a sore internet thumb. It’s so important to keep font types, text sizes, colors and styles consistent across your site.
#4: It’s Wrong.
Offering up outdated content is like handing each and every prospective student the dusty old brochure from 1999 that’s sitting in the back of your storage closet. You would never do it in person — so why would you do it online? Content that’s wrong or old gives readers the impression that your school’s brand is careless or obsolete.
#5: It’s Got No Style.
AP Style, that is. While I know grammar rules are made to broken online (somewhat, people), sticking to some basic style guidelines and editing rules will make your content more professional and polished. Use the Associated Press Style Guide as your go-to website content bible.
#6: It’s Not Your Voice.
Once a website launches, content can erode quickly — especially if more than one person has the ability to update the site. By keeping editing power to a select few people who know and understand your brand voice, you’ll protect your site from imposter content.
#7: It’s a Recycling Bin.
Your website is your most important marketing tool, not a catch-all for all the brochures, documents and memos your internal team wants to share. So you may need to disappoint some of your coworkers and team members in order to keep your site fresh and pristine.
#8: It’s as Stuffed as a Thanksgiving Turkey.
Are we sick of the similes and metaphors yet? No? Good!
If you haven’t heard, keyword stuffing is dead. Readers don’t want to read a list of all the terms they may have searched for in the past. They come to your site to read something meaningful and helpful about the topic they’re interested in. So stop trying to artificially cram in every word and phrase related to the topic, and instead give them something meaty to chew on. (Sorry; couldn’t help myself.)
#9: It’s a Dead End.
So you’ve written some really killer copy, led readers down an interesting path … and then smacked them into a brick wall. Where are they supposed to go? What’s next on this journey? Without a strong call to action, readers will take that information you provided and bounce along somewhere else.
So those are the top 9 no-no’s, but there are many more. Share your strategies for getting rid of bad content in the comments below.
A version of this post originally appeared on the Cursive Content Marketing blog.