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4 principles for great content

Use these principles to guide your creation of great web content.

Content is communication

Every website uses content to share a message -- like one person talking to another. Some do it well; others do it poorly. I like to keep these principles in mind when creating web content and when teaching people to write for the web.

Principles of great content

  1. Great content satisfies a user need. Bad content only satisfies a writer's ego or a bureaucratic agenda.
  2. Great content says what needs saying, then stops. Bad content runs on and distracts from the message.
  3. Great content is sectioned and scannable. Bad content has too few entry points (aka "the blob").
  4. Great content is logically structured and predictable. Bad content is unpredictable or inconsistent.

Test your content...

Ask the following questions of your own content to see how it lines up with these principles.

  • Does it start with a "need"?
  • Is it relevant and up to date?
  • Is it concise and focused?
  • Is it well-formatted with clear key messages?
  • Is it built on repeatable content patterns?
  • Does it prioritize information appropriately?

If you can answer yes to all of these: awesome job and keep up the good work.

If you answered no to any of these, then you just figured out where you can improve!

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