When you’re trying to drive traffic to your website, it helps to look at other websites that have managed to do this on a large scale. What are your go-to websites? When you’re looking for detailed information on anything, don’t you generally go to Wikipedia? Sure, this website doesn’t have the best reputation for accuracy but most of us go there anyway, just to get a basic overview of whatever topic we might be researching.
For what’s happening in the world right now, we might go to reputable newspapers like The New York Times or TV channels like CNN. One website that has gained a good reputation for current events on the internet, without being present in any other form of media, is Huffington Post. Plus, if you’re looking for how-tos, you probably know that eHow is the way to go. And if you’re looking for information on movies, actors or anything to do with the movie-making world, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has a good reputation.
What can you learn about content creation from these websites which have managed to make a name for themselves on the internet? Is there anything different about the way they use content and the way that other websites use content? Here are some possible answers:
When you’re looking for information on a person, a book, a country, a movie or even a literary movement in history, chances are you’ll go to Wikipedia first. This website doesn’t restrict itself to any one topic. It’s basically an encyclopedia, only it has the advantage of being on the internet rather than in heavy books which take up a lot of space.
Wikipedia basically took all the type of information you would get from the Encyclopaedia Britannica and digitized it. And then, it went even further by including more and more information. There’s no space issue on the internet, so you can put as much information as you want about a certain topic. And most Wikipedia articles are really long.
But you might notice that Wikipedia articles are also very simple written, most of the time. The advantage of Wikipedia is that anyone can understand it. You don’t need to have a degree in any subject in order to understand what’s been written about it.
This is also a quality of good content found in other websites: it’s simple and non-jargonized. You want to try to appeal to the masses and the masses aren’t fond of big words, complex sentences and elegant writing, such as what you’d find in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. They want something easy to digest. Plus, different people are interested in different things. By not restricting themselves to any one subject, Wikipedia has grown to such an extent that it’s become a household name.
Some people might find it hard to understand why a website with so much written content and hardly any images has gained such popularity. Don’t people usually prefer to look at images rather than reading words?
Although this might be true, Wikipedia has harnessed the power of information. The more information you have, the more you can do. As they say, knowledge is power. It can help you to decide between two things to buy, what side you should take in a debate and whether you should donate money to a certain charity. And rather than having to wait and research these things, you can just look them up on the internet and find their Wikipedia page. With the help of extensive written content, Wikipedia gives people information at their fingertips.
Although Wikipedia gives you a lot of information about a lot of things, it doesn’t tell you how to do things—simple things such as how to plant a garden, how to bake cookies and how to decorate your home for Christmas. For these types of things, people generally turn to eHow.
It’s not that the information in Wikipedia isn’t enough, it’s just that sometimes, you don’t need loads of information about something. In fact, information can get in the way. Sometimes, you just need simple pointers. You need someone telling you, “do this” or “do that.”
This is information presented in a certain way. So it taps into a certain niche market. Wikipedia’s audience might be bigger but eHow’s audience is more specific.
Specialization is another thing that can work for you in terms of content creation. If you specialize in a certain field and put up as much information as you can about that field, people will come to think of you as the go-to website in that field.
Plus, keep in mind that you can put up more than one article on the same topic. Different writers have different points of view about simple things. One person might recommend that you make your home smell like Christmas with mulling spices and potpourri. Another might give you detailed instructions on making a holly wreath. They’re both talking about Christmas decorations but they’ve got different takes on it.
So even though eHow’s articles are smaller and simpler, they still have a plethora of information on a variety of subjects, just like Wikipedia. And this brings us back to the power of information. Both, Wikipedia and eHow have figured out how to take people’s need for information and fulfil it.
You may not realize this but we’re all sponges, taking in lots of information everyday. Think about all the things you read or all the forms of media you’re exposed to in one day. If you read a newspaper, watch TV, drive along streets with billboards, walk through a mall with advertisements and signs, speak to a client for work or just catch up with what your friends are doing, you’re ingesting information in everything that you do. The amount of information we send out is infinitesimal compared to the amount we take in.
Taking in information speaks to people’s need to understand and make sense of the world around them. You can also fulfill this need by giving them information via content creation. And if you put your content in a form that people can absorb readily, you’re sure to drive traffic to your website and slowly become known as a thought leader in your field.