Writing Quality Content for Your Website: The Community Closet Method
Writing quality content for your website is damned hard work. The struggle is real. Organization is key to putting out strong, quality content on your site. Yet, organization is such a pain to deal with, page by page, article after article.
Will I ever shut up about content organization? No, probably not. Let’s face it – you’re reading a blog called Semantics on a website called Dialect Pro. This is all about improving your communication skills. Organizing your ideas will always play a role in that.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a messy closet. No lying.
I’m going out on a limb to assume that we have all let our closets get a bit messy at times. But eventually, it becomes more hassle to dig through our laundry than it is to clean it up. So everything gets washed, folded, and put away where it’s easy to find.
The content of your website deserves the same respect. Actually, it deserves more because you’re not the only one putting up with the mess. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the Community Closet Method for content organization.
Table of Contents
How Do You Write Write Quality Content?
Writing quality content is all about proper structure and organization.
Content organization provides a clear structure for your website. It is the way content is grouped and made available for website visitors, which simultaneously puts your content in context for search engines.
I know this sounds a little dull, but blogging exists in a technical space. Bear with me.
The official terms sound terrifying, but their concepts are not nearly as bad as they sound. Content organization is the same as organizing your closet. Only, imagine your closet was regularly visited by total strangers who needed to borrow your shirts, pants, and shoes every day… Okay, maybe not a perfect analogy, but it should be enough to help you visualize your blog in a more physical sense.
Let’s talk about this community closet situation. You’ve got a clothes-swapping circle of friends. Everyone has a key to access each other’s closets at any given time.
The goal of your closet then, isn’t just for you to have access to your clothes. It is for the entire group to find what they need for special events or what have you. Someone in the group should be able to visit your closet, open it, and quickly identify where to find what they need.
Here’s how to apply this idea to your website.
The Four Pieces of Content Organization
There are four pieces of the puzzle here, and you need to know about each one if you want to get good at this.
- The Primary Goal: in the closet analogy, this is to provide the correct clothing.
- The Target Visitor: friends in the clothes-swapping group.
- A Start State: a friend needs a flannel shirt.
- A Desired End State: the friend has found the flannel shirt.
Instead of friends and shirts, we’re talking about blog visitors and content. The way you organize your content dictates whether your website is able to achieve its primary goal by guiding its target visitors from their start state to their desired end state.
When you look at a well-organized closet, you can quickly scan to see that shirts are together on the left, pants are together on the right, and shoes are laid out on the floor. If I’m looking for a flannel shirt, I wouldn’t start digging through the pants section or browse the shoes.
You can create visual clues, or a roadmap of sorts, with the way you organize your website. If you want to feel academic, you can call it information architecture, or even knowledge organization.
It’s worth noting that these points interconnect with the the three-part webpage effectiveness checklist.
The Community Closet Method for Writing Quality Content
Content organization comes at different levels. It is the difference between organizing your closet, separating your shirts into color groups, and folding each individual t-shirt. They all have to do with the same thing, but each task comes with different problems.
In our case, it’s the difference between categorizing your entire website’s content, and the organization of the content on each individual page. Writing quality content has to do with the latter.
It is easy to identify when a t-shirt is properly put away. It’s in the closet or on the floor. It’s folded or it’s not. Anything virtual, like a website, is more difficult to give concrete terms to. What does it look like when a virtual item is properly ‘put away’?
There are many identifiers to look out for, and most apply in some way at all levels.
For those of you with a legal background, we’re not talking about sufficient reason to take legal action here.
Actionable content is when a piece of information has practical value, and is able to be acted upon immediately after consuming it. It is the difference between telling you to do something, and showing you how to do it.
- Not actionable: “Write actionable content.”
- Actionable: “Write actionable content by providing clear instructions for your reader.”
Easy to Navigate
People on the internet scan before actually reading. No matter how enthralled you were by the introduction of this article, chances are good you skimmed through to identify exactly what content was included first.
You’re reading this because you determined it had what you were looking for. What made this particular post easy to navigate was the use of clear headlines, sub-headings, images, and list items.
This creates a visual hierarchy, where some content is obviously more important to read than others.
- Not navigable: A wall of text with no breaks in between.
- Navigable: Breaking content into clear sections and supporting the content with pertinent media.
Short, to the Point
Your content should be clear. Concise writing is one simple way to achieve this.
This isn’t to say your content shouldn’t be in-depth and informative. You can include many sections that all come together in one cohesive piece, but each of those sections should be digestible and to the point.
- Not short: Pages with long, wandering sections.
- Short: Clear, concise sections that fulfill one larger goal when brought together.
This is the Information Age. But with every human advancement comes swindlers and deception.
Organized content makes it easy to see what information is sloppy. Inaccuracy stands out like a wrinkled t-shirt amongst pressed dress shirts.
- Inaccurate: Personal opinions or rants stated as indisputable, proven fact.
- Accurate: Opinions identified as such, with conclusions based on reliably sourced data.
I had a boss who made us ‘wordsmith’ articles until they could pass a plagiarism test. He said writing blog posts from scratch took up too many resources. Yet, he never understood why the blog was such a flop.
A well-organized website comes hand-in-hand with home baked content right out of the oven. Think about a bakery. You can follow recipes provided by other chefs to make delicious muffins in your bakery. But you wouldn’t sell the muffins she made with her hands as your own. You make them yourself. The end result has to come from you, from scratch before you can call it yours.
- Unoriginal: Re-hashing existing articles to suit your purposes.
- Original: Forming your own ideas and thoughts to create unique content specific to your website’s needs.
Go Write Quality Content
You want to put out good content for your website. That’s the first step. The next is to think about the structure you’re going to give that content. This is called content organization. The four points of content organization will add a solid structure to your pages, no matter how new you are to this.
Be sure you can identify these on any given page:
- The Primary Goal
- The Target Visitor
- A Start State
- A Desired End State
Next, use the Community Closet Method to help you successfully create quality content.
That simply means checking your content for these markers:
- Easy to navigate
- Short and to the point
That’s all for now. Go out and apply these to at least one page or blog post on your website. You may find the experience to be enlightening. Do you have a question about my methods? Ask away in the comment section, and I’ll be here to help.