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Why Your Website's Content Sucks and What to Do about It

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In this chapter from Content Strategy for the Web, 2nd Edition, Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach look at some of the most common obstacles that keep us from turning bad content into better content.

GREAT CONTENT MEETS USERS’ NEEDS and supports key business objectives. It engages and informs. It’s well-written and intuitively organized. It keeps people coming back for more. But when content sucks—when it’s overwritten, redundant, hard to find, irrelevant—people come, look, and leave. And, sometimes, they never come back. Most of the content we find online is simply in the way—even outdated or straight-up inaccurate. It’s not doing what we need it to do. And somehow, we can’t seem to get it fixed. It’s always the elephant in the room, the one thing no one really wants to talk about. And man, that is one ugly elephant.

So whose fault is this content crisis, anyway? And who’s going to clean up this mess?

No Finger-Pointing Allowed

It’s very unlikely that your content challenges are caused by a single person or department. Content is a complex, hairy beast that depends on myriad people, technologies, and processes. When you can find a shared language to discuss your content challenges, you’ll be better able to collaborate with your colleagues and identify solutions.

In this chapter, we’ll look at some of the most common obstacles that keep us from turning bad content into better content:

  • We treat content like a commodity.
  • We don’t have time to make a plan.
  • We make deadly assumptions.
  • Content is political.
  • It’s all too much, and we’ll never move forward.

And now, let’s take a few pages to bond together about our frustrations, hopes, and fears. You are not alone. It’s time for content therapy.

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copyright 2008 Kevin Cornell

How do you eat the elephant in the room?

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