Web Page Content
© 2001 by Walt Howe
This article is the second of three articles on quality web pages. The first article discusses how to approach Evaluating Quality in web pages you encounter on the nets. This article explains how to use the same principles that you use to evaluate quality web pages elsewhere to give your own web page content the mark of quality. The third article, Creating Quality Web Page Design explains how to produce quality in designing web pages.
(last revised 24 April 2001)
The Evaluating Quality article asked you to consider six questions in evaluating web pages. We will deal with six similar questions for you to consider in your own web pages
If these questions can be answered in your web pages, your pages will stand up well when others search for and find your pages.
Is the information accurate and on target to its purpose?
First, identify for yourself what the purpose of your pages is. Most pages will have one or more of the following purposes in mind:
If you don't have your purpose in mind, no one else will either. With your purpose firmly in mind, use a good descriptive title on your page, and identify the page's purpose and who it is targeted at early in the content. Thie makes it much easier for others to determine the value of your pages.
- Provide information
- Provide services
- Sell or persuade
- Provide entertainment
- Foster a community of interest
Second, although you may know that your content is accurate and on target to its purpose, others should be able to tell that it is. If you performed research on your topic, give your sources. Hypertext makes it easy to point to your sources.
Third, make sure your grammar and spelling are accurate. Nothing makes a page less credible to others than poor spelling and grammar. People will abandon your pages unread after the first few errors.
Are you an authority on the subject?
If you aren't, you make your case stronger by citing your sources, as above. If you are, don't hide your background. Be discreet, if you wish, but make the details easy to find. Put your name on the article, and link your name to a page with your qualifications.
Do you bring any biases in posting the information?
Are you posting to inform or entertain or alternatively are you posting to sell or to persuade? If your purpose is to sell or persuade, be honest about it. Your credibility is much higher if you are open about your purpose than if you try to disguise it. Avoid the hard sell. A brief, well-organized, logical piece will be much more effective on the nets than a glitzy hard sell.
Is the information current and timely?
We hope you keep your pages current and up to date, but make it easy for the visitor to your pages to tell. Always date your pages and change the date whenever you update. Providing new content regularly will help bring people back. If most of your content is found in a message board or chat rooms, make sure you promote these activities and list current topics on your web page, too.
How does this information compare with other sources on the same topic?
Many people will come to your page as a result of a using a search engine. If your page has some distinct and unique information or features not found in the other sources, make this easy to identify. A good purpose and description at the beginning should bring out its value. Try out searches on the search engines that you expect people looking for your pages would try. See what else is out there and how you compare.
How can others find your pages when they need the information you provide?
Make sure that people using the search engines will find your pages, too. Your need to create good metadata and meta tags in the HEAD of your pages, and you need to register your pages with all the major engines and directories. See the article Promoting Your Web Pages to learn how to do this effectively.
If you attend to each of these questions and their answers, your pages will be easier to find, and will meet the characteristics that people look for in evaluating the quality and value of your page content.
Pay attention to quality design, too. The appearance and accessibility of your pages plays a role in how people receive your pages. Read the third article in this series, Creating Quality Web Page Design.