There has been a great deal of talk recently about the desperate need for web developers to introduce fresh new content in order to make sure that their sites do not fall foul of things like Google’s Penguin update. Injecting fresh new content into a website is certainly one of the most important things you need to be doing, but for some people that represents a real problem.
Many people have looked at their websites lately, accepting that perhaps there is a need for them to add new content, or increase the amount of content on the website, but scratch their head wondering just exactly where this wonderful new content could possibly go.
If you’re one of those people who had a very attractive website template developed a while back then you may have done the equivalent of backing yourself into a corner and finding you have nowhere left to go. Your template incorporated everything which at that time you thought was necessary and important for your homepage, but today there is precious little room for additional content without making the entire site look clunky and disorganised.
Certainly you don’t want to overburden your readers with confusing content, or webpages which are crammed full of information. Similarly you want to avoid having this fresh new content shoved way down at the bottom of your page where not only will it almost certainly be missed by many of your readers, will also be given much less attention by the search engines.
Google considers text and content which is towards the top of the page to be far more important than text and content which is so far down the page that visitors would need to actively scroll down in order to find it.
So what is the solution? How can you incorporate fresh new content without making your site cluttered?
I believe there are three main approaches which you can take in this situation. In terms of adding fresh new content on a regular basis you simply can’t beat having a blog integrated as part of your website. If you already have a blog but it is not integrated within your site, perhaps hosted elsewhere, then it might be worth considering changing this, and importing your blog into your own site.
If you currently have a blog hosted by WordPress.com then you can easily have this redirected to any URL you like, simply by purchasing their redirect option. You can get more information on this at http://en.support.wordpress.com/site-redirect. You can then set up a WordPress blog within your own website, import your previous blog posts and comments, and then have your old WordPress.com URL redirect traffic automatically to the new location of your blog.
Of course if you don’t have a blog at all then it will simply be a case of installing a new blog within your site, integrating links within your site to your blog, and then publishing new posts on a regular basis. This means that your website is being updated on a more regular basis, and with a whole range of content which is likely to be of interest and value to visitors.
Another way in which fresh content can be added to your site is of course by adding new pages rather than simply adding content to existing pages. These new pages can offer more specific information and advice about your products or services, address frequently asked questions, or even include informative articles about related topics. It is important though that when doing this you make sure that you aren’t just adding content for the sake of it, since this could easily fall foul of Google’s web spam algorithms.
But there is a third option, and one which can easily be overlooked or dismissed, yet which can often provide an ideal solution.
By replacing blocks of text on a web page with dynamic elements which allow visitors to view additional content without having to scroll, and in a more interactive way, additional text and content can be embedded within a page, and kept near the top of that page as well.
These interactive elements are ideal for adding additional content into pages which do not easily facilitate this in their current form. Examples of these elements include tabbed content sections, accordion formatted content and box sliders. Let me explain what each of these look like.
Tabbed Content Sections
A tabbed content section is a block of text, or a combination of text and images, divided into tabbed sections. This means that a section of your page which is, say, 500 pixels wide and 200 pixels high could include a row of labelled tabs along the top which enable visitors to be able to change what content is displayed in that 500 x 200 section of page.
Accordion Formatted Content
An accordion section of content is most often used in FAQ pages, with a list of questions which, when clicked, expand to reveal the answer to whichever question was clicked. This means that header sections, questions or product names can be included as a condensed list which takes up very little room, expanding only when a visitor clicks the relevant link.
See an example here, click the ‘read more’ link.
Finally the box slider element is a, usually horizontal, series of slides, each of which may contain text, images or a combination of both. Each slide is visible for a set number of seconds before scrolling off to the side and being replaced by the next one. Arrows on each side of the slide, or a series of dots underneath the slider, allow the user to manually switch between slides.
But whilst this all sounds great and wonderful, one question you may be asking is just exactly how difficult these are to integrate into your website? Well fortunately the answer is, not at all. In fact there are two ways of achieving each of these compressed content solutions, either by taking advantage of the very popular jQuery library or simply by using CSS.
As a quick guide to get you started, here are a few recommended links:
jQuery solution – http://jqueryui.com/demos/tabs/
CSS solution – http://css-tricks.com/functional-css-tabs-revisited/
jQuery solution – http://jqueryui.com/demos/accordion/
CSS solution – http://www.paulrhayes.com/2009-06/accordion-using-only-css/
jQuery solution – http://bxslider.com/
CSS solution – http://www.nealgrosskopf.com/tech/thread.php?pid=45
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