C.R.A.P. (terrible name, infinitely useful) is an initialism which stands for contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity. The term was coined by Robin Williams (author of The Non-Designer’s Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice) and has become a basic principle of design. Utilizing the C.R.A.P. principles allows even the most inexperienced amateur designers to avoid the dreaded wall of text and instead create dynamic and attractive web content.
The basics of the C.R.A.P. principles are:
Contrast – Elements that aren’t supposed to be the same should be very different. Making the only slightly different confuses the eye and causes the reader to see a relationship that doesn’t exist. Using differing elements on a page draws the eyes to appropriately grouped elements and allows for proper scanning.
Repetition – Continuing formatting and styles for the entire document to create and maintain a cohesive feel.
Alignment – Everything on the page needs to be visually connected to something else, nothing should be out of place or distinct from all other design elements. Clean lines create peace.
Proximity – Proximity creates related meaning: elements that are related should be grouped together, whereas separate elements should have enough space in between to be easily distinguishable. Never underestimate the use of white space.
Writing content for your own website is one of the most under rated activities in website design and development. Most people spend hours working on the perfect design and getting it laid out properly. They spend hours finding the perfect hosting environment, the right domain name, and the perfect logo. Then, when it comes to writing the website content, they either don’t put any effort into it, or they simply put up their contact information and an under construction message. Below are some hints/methods to writing website content. The most important thing to remember is when using ProFusion Products you can always edit your content hourly, daily, weekly, etc. Using our content management system you are your own web master and control your own content. Thus you can put up your rough draft of the content today, then come back and edit it again a week later.
Website Content Requirements
Content is valuable for search engines only if it is also valuable for the end user. We consider a page to have valuable content when it meets three criteria. The content must be unique, related to the website, and finally overall volume of text. Without all three, your content will not be as important to search engines or your end user.
Unique Content – This means you typed it specifically for this website. This is not a copy and paste of someone else’s work. Quoting a couple lines of someone else’s content is fine, as long as proper credit is given. However, even then you want to only do this when required, not just to fill space.
Related to the Website – This seems very logical, but not everyone follows it. If your website sells posters, you could write on how posters are created, where the art work comes from, or most commonly on the individual posters themselves. You would not want to write about car reviews, just because a poster you sell has that car in it. While the two are related, they are not necessarily in the same relevance or use. The question you should ask yourself before writing content is “If I was telling a friend about my business, would I provide them this information.” If it is of value to a friend then it will be valuable for your clients and the search engines.
Text Volume – Volume is important, we want to make sure each page is at minimum 500 words, but 750-1000 words is better. Some topics even require 5000+ word pages to cover all aspects. Often large topics could be divided into several smaller pages, but if you write on a large topic for a single page ensure it is clearly organized. However, volume created by just writing endless thoughts in an effort to reach the word total is not good either. I would much rather have a clear concise 600 word page, than a rambling 1200 word page.
Web Content Writing Suggestions
When I am facing the task of writing content for a website, I typically make a list of everything I eventually want to have on the website. Once i have that list I perform keyword research to find the best topics/words people are searching for. I can then compare the two, and create an order of importance for my writing that will allow me the most bang for buck/time spent. Another way to approach writing content is to think of a friend that wants to use your service/business. For example, if you owned a resort or vacation property in Hawaii, you would want to consider all the topics someone would be interested in when they go to the island. If that person was going to the island and the only information they would have when arrive is what is currently on your website, and 5 additional essays you had given them to read on the way to the island. Whatever information you would include in those 5 essays would be the most important content you should write first for the website.
Specifics Topic Examples
When you think about your website content, do not just assume people only want the facts related to your business. Often your business is in a niche market that you could write more information about. People often refer to these as white papers, well white papers can also be website content. If we use the previous example of a property owner in Hawaii. They could write a review of all the beaches on the island, both the tourist hot spots and the locals hidden gems. Perhaps they could use a rating scale that orders the beaches from 1-5 stars. They could include address, and directions to that location, along with a few comments and a photo. This type of page may not directly correlate to more business, but it may. The important thing is both the customers that use the property and others would find that page valuable. Once a page like that is built, I would expect people from all over the globe to link to that page as an authority on Hawaii Beaches. That single page could be one of the most valuable for your entire website for building traffic and interest. Summary Try to be creative and think about your industry as a whole, not just your specific business/website needs. The more you think outside the box the more value your clients and the search engines will find in the website