Good content can present itself in many forms. It doesn’t have to be rigorously planned, nor does it have to use every five-syllable word in the dictionary. One of the most important elements is rhythm. The ability to take a reader on a journey through your content at an enjoyable pace – allowing for pause when both text and reader) would benefit from it – is a skill that is undervalued by many web content producers.
When people pick up a piece of writing – any piece of writing, be it the product blurb on the back of a cereal box or the latest New York Times bestseller – they enter into a fragile bond of trust with the author. This trust is almost always complete when starting to read, but the delicate strands that tie the reader to the content can be irreparably broken when the author’s fallibility shows its face.
Imagine, if you will, that good content is a river that carries a passenger (the reader) downstream in a boat. The journey of the passenger is dependent upon the pace and consistency of the river to take her where she needs to go. Obvious typos, spelling mistakes, poor grammar and awkward syntax can throw a reader off-course in the content stream just as quickly as a rogue log, unseen waterfall or hidden rocks can overturn a boat in a river.
This is not to say good content must adhere strictly to every grammatical rule.
Because sometimes, the rhythm can be enhanced by flouting those rules a little – by starting a sentence with ‘because’, for instance.
Poor grammar and spelling disrupt a reader’s ability to engage with the content. In a website context, this can translate to a drop in readership, ranking and, consequently, sales.
Poor grammar and spelling disrupt a reader’s ability to engage with the content.
In the golden age of Google, where content is king but SEO is its advisor, the need for high-quality, intelligent and error-free copy has never been more important. Your web copy may be keyword-rich, but unless the copy is worth reading in the first place, SEO alone will not secure you high rankings.
Web-design best practice is to create a site that is easy to navigate; a virtual space that gently guides visitors to where they need to be in the shortest amount of time. Content is at the heart of this, which is why it cannot be approached as an afterthought.
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