Why isn’t our content performing? Why can’t we get links? Often, people think the problem is promotion.

However, more often than not, the problem is the quality of their content. It’s hard to read. You can’t scan it. And there aren’t rich, engaging visuals.

In this video, we share the best practices every piece of content needs to stand a chance in today’s environment.

Audio Version

Video Transcription

Hi. I’m Ross Hudgens, founder of Siege Media, and today I want to share our on-page content marketing best practices. What I mean by on-page best practices is essentially what makes a piece of content worthy of reading, worthy of sharing.

These are the best practices we apply to our content on a daily basis in order to make it the most shareable and most capable of ranking in today’s advanced environment where people really want the absolute best in order to warrant their attention and believe that your content is worthy of reading.

1. Make Font 18px Or Larger

So the first tip is to make your font larger than 18 pixels or at least 18 pixels. The web has evolved such that people have higher standards in terms of readability of content, and it’s hard to read content, you might not even notice instinctively that it’s 14 pixels or under.

We’re always pushing our clients to get to 18 plus, but if that’s not possible, at a minimum 16 pixels is absolutely necessary not just on the web, but also in the images that you share because they need to be easy to read.

Without even thinking about it, you shouldn’t have to struggle or squint your eyes, and also think about older people as well that might not have the vision that you do at a younger age. Therefore, the higher larger font is just going to make for a more elegant experience overall.

2. Use Readable Font

And on the same note, my second tip is actually to make the content, make sure the font is readable as well. What I mean by readable, not just from a font size, is that the colors matches the background.

So, we’ve actually had clients in different situations where maybe you have text that’s light gray on a white background or maybe it’s gray on black, you know, like these different combinations and you’ve probably seen them on the web, actually make for font that’s actually hard to read.

It shouldn’t be a struggle to do that overall, whether it’s on your images, in your subheader sections, it’s not just a font size thing, it’s also a font color that matches the background and also feels elegant and easy to read overall.

3. No Paragraphs More Than 5 Lines

My third tip for content marketing best practices is actually to make paragraphs no more than five lines.

So, you might see giant paragraph blocks that are, say, 10 lines, and these are really hard to read and process as compared to those really scannable maybe two to three-line paragraphs, which make for a more elegant easy to scan experience as opposed to those five-line blocks.

It’s okay to occasionally hit five lines, but as a best practice we try and have our team make most paragraphs three lines max and if you have one five-line paragraph, that’s okay, but don’t make it a pattern that you use consistently.

4. Make it Scannable

My next tip is actually to make it scannable as well. So in the same wavelength as making them no less than five lines, you also want to use bold, use subheaders, use bullets, use ordered list, all these things allow your content to be easily digestible without reading it.

One of the things I like to instill and think about is the thought processes. Could this post be interpreted without reading it end to end? Could I scan this and get the main takeaways without needing to read every single word?

If you do that, you’ve actually applied content marketing best practices, because the reality is most people just don’t read, but you still have to appeal to that person, if they want to get more depth by reading every single word. Great, but you have to solve for the person that doesn’t read.

And you can do that by making it scannable, making the main points bold, by making the main points appear in the subheads, making the images actually recap the best most digestible things, all that combined will make your content more readable and more shareable because you make it a punchy post as well as an in-depth post.

5. Looks Great on Mobile

My next tip is to make it look great on mobile. It’s one of those best practices but you’ll be surprised how often this kind of fits in the framework and gets missed. And my best practice for avoiding that problem is to have a checklist.

So we have a content marketing checklist where each person needs to go through the framework of different things like have we edited it and are we internally linking as well. And one of the points you can add to that is have we tested on mobile.

On WordPress it’s not super easy to do that, but there is a nice plug-in that allows you to preview publicly that we use.

What that will do, you just hit the check-mark, you can send it through an email and then you can open that post on mobile and get a feel for, are those images readable? Is there something wonky about one interactive element we’ve added to this?

All those things on WordPress or whatever the framework is, help you get to that best mobile experience.

6. Punchy First Sentence/Headline Using A.I.D.A

Next, use a punchy first sentence and headline utilizing the A.I.D.A framework. A.I.D.A means Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. It’s a copywriting formula that’s a really strong practice for grabbing someone’s attention and getting them to do something.

Now, how this applies to content marketing is not only is that headline are super important place for getting someone’s attention and getting them to click, the first sentence is that next place to actually get them to read your entire article versus hitting it and then bouncing.

And you can see from a SEO best practice perspective, if you can get someone to actually engage with your article through that first sentence, you’re much more likely to get them to stick to the end.

They’ll have better dwell time/time on site signals that very much seem like ranking factors to Google. Because they engage, they’ll also be less likely to bounce back to other search results.

7. Shareable Images Under 200 KB

Additionally, just kind of a technical thing, make sure your images are resized for the web. We ask, especially if there’s not some giant hero section, that all images be under 200 kilobytes. This gets to a framework that makes most images not pixelated but you’ll be surprised how even solid designers might send through images that are eight megabytes.

If you’re in Nebraska on a bad internet connection, or you’re in some area where you don’t have a great connection, those things can load really slowly and create a poor experience that you might not realize and will cause people to bounce. So make sure you’re solving for site speed when applying content marketing best practices as well.

8. Tight Column Width

So, column width is in essence how long your text goes on each line. And it’s something some people don’t consider especially when you have a full width asset, is how difficult it is to track to the second line in order to follow the story.

That makes for an experience that has cognitive dissonance because it’s difficult to keep tracking to the next line because it’s so far away.

So if you have the tight column width which you see on a lot of great content marketing blogs, it’s easy to find that next starting point, and also it feels more elegant and clean overall, as opposed to those really wide experiences that you might not realise are creating a bad reading experience but actually are.

For more on this subject, check out this post that we often reference.

So overall, those are our core tips that we try and instill and implement in all of our content that we host on our clients’ websites. Hopefully, you found it valuable. If you liked this video, give us a subscribe, a thumbs up, and let us know what you thought. Thanks for watching.

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