Just What is Content?

By: Mark Nenadic

What is content? Web development involves two major components: mechanics and content. The mechanics should be seamless and transparent. The end user should never be aware of the mechanics, only dazzled by the effects or pleased by the simplicity of the page. A professional web design company will provide professional quality web development.

If the mechanics of a web development are seamless and transparent, what does that make the content? The content is what gets the visitors involved in the website. The content is what brings them back, again and again. The content is a place where the visitor feels a measure of control, relief and ultimately, customer satisfaction.

What comprises the content that a web development specialist will look for? The key component to understanding what makes good content begins by understanding what the website is about. If the site is about selecting a good web designer, then the content should reflect information on web design, samples and package offers. If the site is about entertainment, the content will reflect up to date entertainment articles, perhaps a gossip column, and a message board where users can exchange information, opinions and viewpoints.

Content is fluid. Content is measurable against the intent and desire of the web development team to elicit a response from their visitors. Imagine walking into a bookstore. The customer who walks in the front door has a very good idea of what to expect from a bookstore. They know it will have books. When they visit an online bookstore, again, they expect it to feature books.

The content of an online bookstore has to go a step further, however. It must feature reviews, synopsis and suggested reading lists. If an online bookstore features only titles and prices, the average reader will skip past the site because they cannot find the content they need in order to determine whether or not they want to purchase the book.

Content for a site that hosts service providers may provide news, information and suggestions for negotiating contracts, business sales and copyright information. The audience for this type of site, however, would be divided. Portioned appropriately between both the businesses looking for service providers and the service providers looking for business opportunities. The web development that would be involved on the content appropriate to the dual audience would require a great deal of thinking ahead in terms of what the audiences require currently versus what they will eventually require.

This is where web development of content is crucial. The search engine function that will locate the book is a mechanic. But the presence of a search engine that can search based on title; author or ISBN number is also a content feature. Web surfers more than any other class of clientele want direct access and ease of accessibility. They want the option to delve deeply or just grab the item they already know they want.

Understanding the content development equation is in equal parts an understanding of marketing and customer service. These two areas are separate, because marketing is what brings a customer to the door. Customer service is what invites them to return again and again. A site that is unique, functional and filled with satisfying content will bring a customer back whether they found what they were initially looking for or not.

Choosing the right content for a website or web development is simple if the developer understands the intent of the site as well as the audience for the site. Catering to the audience means anticipating not only questions, but also the desire of the audience. The definitions that define the customer are constantly evolving and thus content should constantly evolve. From the type of customer to the customerís changing desires, these are issues that will generate the questions that web developmentís content choices will answer.

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Mark Nenadic Mark is the director and face behind FifteenDegrees-North, where you will find articles and resources to help with SEO, marketing and Web design.

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