Create the content

Here's where it gets interesting!

Where does content come from? Answer: from you, mostly. You will have to create it.

I've been a teacher long enough to know that that idea scares the daylights out of most people. Relax. You're not going after a Nobel Prize for Literature. And besides, you can use lots of pictures!

The first thing you should do, if you haven't done it yet, is look at lots and lots of websites on a subject similar to yours. That will give you a feel for what the marketplace is. Pay particular attention to what you like about each site and what you don't like. When you create your own site you will want to imitate what others are doing well and avoid what they're doing wrong.

On that subject you might want to take a look at Vincent Flanders's very illuminating website: Web Pages that Suck.

You will write the material in blocks of one page. A page is 500-800 words, about the size of the page you're reading now. Each page is a separate .html file. Once you have several pages written, you use hyperlinks, the blue underlined ones, to navigate from
page 1 --> page 2 --> page 3 --> page 1, etc.

Why do we create all separate pages? For money, that's why. Later we'll talk about making money from Google ads. One of the limits with Google is that you can display only 3 ads per page. And we know from experience that the more ads you show the more money you'll make. So, if all your content is in one longggggg page, you can show 3 ads but, if you break it up into 10 pages, you can show 30 ads and make 10 times more income.

Work on your writing skills.

You don't have to be Shakespeare to write Web pages. In fact, if you do try to write like the Bard nobody will understand anyway.

What you have to do is write for your intended audience. If you want to attract specialists, write the way you would talk to somebody in that business who knows the jargon and will understand the technical terms. If you're aiming at beginners, use simple terms, define everything and describe all the steps in more details.

You have to know that when Google looks at the quality of your website it will rate your content based on a large number of factors (as many as 100). One of those factors is: spelling. Yes, the quality of the language does count. You cannot write a Web page the same way you write an email to a friend. So, use the Spell Check option that's available in most editors. That should take care of the obvious spelling and grammar faux-pas. Then get someone else to proofread your text, preferably someone who knows something about the subject and can also identify technical glitches.

Use pictures.

Of course, you want to use pictures, lots of pictures.

Pictures are great to illustrate your subject. They may not always be worth a thousand words each in a Web page but, they are an essential part of the content.

When I create my tutorials, ( in case you've forgotten) I use a screen capture program to take a snapshot of what's displayed on the screen to show how the software works.

If you're covering cars or plumbing or bike repairs, take pictures with your digital camera and include those in your content.

Even if you don't have your own pictures, try to find some that are relevant to your subject and include a few in each page. They really add visual appeal. Reminder: use the free site at stock.xchng for some photos that you can add.

Here are a few tips on using pictures:

  • There are 2 basic Web page formats for pictures: .gif and .jpeg. You would normally use .gif when you have pictures with solid blocks of colors, things like diagrams or drawings or text. You use the .jpeg format for pictures that have color gradients, like photographs.

  • Windows has a format called .bmp (bitmap). Forget about using that. It uses too much space. The .gif and .jpeg formats are condensed and much more efficient.

  • Picture sizes are measured in pixels. In a Web page you rarely want pictures that are more than, let's say, 600 X 400 pixels. Otherwise they take way too much time to load and your customer will get upset if she has to wait minutes for a picture to appear, on a dial-up connection, for example. Use your picture editor to resize your pictures, especially photographs, to a manageable size.

  • Forget about having movies on your site. They are much too big and eat-up bandwidth like crazy. (Your hosting site allows you a certain number of bytes of content that your customers can download from your site. That's called bandwidth. Usually, the amount is way more than you will ever need. But streaming video uses up so much that you may exceed your quota.)

Tip: here's a very useful site to download all kinds of software, some of it free, some you may have to buy. There's a Search box so, enter the type of software you're looking for, for example 'screen capture' and it will give you a list of products that you can download. I use the site all the time. It's called: