Thomas K., Clickworker
No matter the purpose of your website, there is one thing it absolutely needs: content. There is a wide variety of content types, and we would like to briefly introduce the 11 most important ones.
In general content can be classified as passive or interactive. The types of passive content can be distinguished based on their subject matter. With interactive content the difference depends on the form of presentation. Sounds complicated? It is not. Just keep reading and everything will open up. Guaranteed!
Passive website content is content that the user consumes. It can either serve as information, or as a diversion of entertainment. Sometimes there is also a small interaction with the consumer, if they for example leave a comment on an article or a post. However, interaction only takes place after consumption, and that is an important distinguishing feature from interactive content. This will be discussed further below.
Typical forms of presentation for this type of content are:
But which kinds of website content can be passively processed?
You want to build a birdhouse for your garden with your child, but you have no idea how to do it? Then you are searching for exactly this type of content on the Internet: the problem solver. It helps you to accomplish a task. In our birdhouse example that could happen in form of a video, a text with step-by-step instructions or even in form of a comic.
Generally problem solvers are contents that generate a steady number of visitors on the website and requires relatively little maintenance. Certainly, it also depends on the subject matter. If your site deals with iPhone problems, you will need to adapt this website content more often than the instructions for building a birdhouse.
Problem solvers are also ideal for incorporating product recommendations.
Reliable news, gossip, product introductions or trending topics – website content of the “news” type can encompass various topics. The important thing here is to always be up-to-date. The one who delivers breaking news first can generate a very high number of clicks. And it is ideal if the story shows up on the Google news feed.
Text, videos, and also podcasts lend themselves to this content.
Content like this is very short-lived and requires personnel who always keeps pace with the times.
With tips you give website visitors suggestions to try out something new or different. You are not ostensibly solving any problems in doing this; instead you are demonstrating how to do something more easily or effectively. When giving such tips, product recommendations can also occur. Overall this content type is similar to problem solvers.
Polarizing content covers everything from movie reviews, product ratings, and opinions on current EU politics to general debate about dog excrement on our streets. The most important thing about this kind of content is that it prompts a discussion. Ideally this discussion is then supervised and new topics result from it.
A large number of people can be quickly addressed with polarizing content. You attract attention, but you can also scare customers off. That can be problematic, if the website is reliant on advertising revenue.
Entertaining website content distracts people from everyday life. It consists of things like jokes, cat videos or the like. This kind of content is usually humorous and very entertaining.
Touching contents move the consumer emotionally. Generally, that are always stories based on personal experience. Even difficult subjects like illness and loss can be addressed here.
As a general rule concerning moving and entertaining texts, the content itself plays a smaller role than the way in which the text is written. Regarding videos, sympathy for the protagonist is often crucial for its success.
Of course purely informative content also exists, like a product description in an online shop, or an “about us” introduction on a corporate website. This content style can be most easily defined by saying this: it doesn’t correspond to 100 percent to any of the other types described so far.
As the name already reveals, this content requires action from the user. For instance he has to answer a question, click on something, etc. Here we differentiate the content types based on their form of presentation.
With an interactive graphic the user deduces the content on his own. If he wants to know for example how a steam engine works, he clicks on the respective machine part and receives an explanatory text or an animation plays. There are many possibilities here. Interactive infographics can therefore deal relatively easily with complex subject matter, without letting the graphic seem cluttered.
This kind of content is also well-suited for diagrams. Complex data sets can thus be dealt with clearly.
The quiz was certainly one of the first types of interactive website content to show up on the Internet. Here visitors can answer questions by clicking. Depending on how the question is formulated, the user can simply test his knowledge or learn something new. Thus a quiz can be solely for amusement or it can be used to impart information.
Tests work along similar lines as quizzes regarding their design. However, they are almost always for entertainment. Those well-known tests on Facebook like for example, “Which Harry Potter character are you?” prove that. But there are also serious tests that attempt to preselect certain user groups.
In addition, tests can help to collect information about users and their preferences, for example for marketing use.
Games serve as entertainment, whereby interesting facts can also be incorporated. They require the most interaction and can engage the user for a respectively long time.
Unlike videos that just play, the user can determine the pace of an interactive slideshow himself. That way complex subject matter or easy entertainment can be consumed in a very individual manner.
Even by just skimming through the kinds of content listed here makes one thing clear: it is the mix of types that makes a website successful.
Interactive contents bind the user to a page and makes imparting information entertaining. Almost every passive types of content can be configured interactively as well. However an excess of interactivity can also overwhelm the recipient.
Passive content is the type that users have long been familiar with and which they appreciate. Sometimes you just want to read a post or allow a video to wash over you. In addition it is indispensable for a good search engine ranking, where relevant text content is still essential.
Thomas K., Clickworker