Does Your Content Measure up?
Quick Tips for Maintaining Quality Content
In recent years, the Web has become a rich environment of Web pages, blogs, wikis, social networking sites, free research services, media types and more. In fact, there’s been such a proliferation of “content” out there in such a relatively short time, website visitors find it to be a challenge to figure out which content can be trusted. Here are some guidelines to consider when evaluating content:
- Does the author have expertise on the topic?
- Is the source of the content clearly stated? Whether original or borrowed, quoted, or imported from elsewhere visitors should be able to tell where the content came from. Material imported from another source (via RSS feed, for example) can be difficult to identify, as this material can blend in with other content on the page without being appropriately labeled.
- Shoddy presentation often equals shoddy content in the eyes of visitors. Shoddy presentations are easier to recognize and are a warning to carefully scrutinize the web content.
- Is the content current? Visitors check for current posting dates and current copyright dates.
- Are links relevant, appropriate and in working order?
- Does the site include contact information that is easy to find and use?
- Is the domain location in the site address (URL) is relevant to the focus of the material (e.g., .edu for educational or research materials, .org for profit or non-profit organizations).
Who Said So? Determining the Expertise of the Author.
On today’s Web, it can often be a challenge to judge the quality and validity of content based on the identity of the author. Sometimes the author isn’t stated, or a nickname is used. When an author’s name is shown, here are a few tips to keep in mind when checking out this individual’s expertise.
- Search a library database or Google Scholar to identify other writings or web content created by the author.
- Search for your author in Google Scholar to see if others have cited works by your author in their own writings.
- Google the author to identify other material or content by or about the author. Sometimes an author’s participation in a conference or other professional activity can be identified in the search results.
- If it’s available, check out the “About” page on the Web site where the content appears. Read over the author’s self-description. Then you should attempt to verify some of the facts you’re given there.
- If the author is affiliated with an academic institution, business, or organization, it’s a good idea to check the directory on the associated Web site to confirm the author’s status.
The Web remains a relatively new and untested information and communication medium. And because of that visitor’s are becoming more savvy in evaluating the quality of content on a website. How does your site measure up?
To be sure, the Internet is a ubiquitous medium: Aside from questions of affordability, it’s very pervasive in both authorship and audience. A web address is now an international information and persuasion medium. On top of that, the Internet can very well be an unregulated and un-regulatable medium. As such, it’s the visitor to a website who must have both the tools and the responsibility to discern quality in web content.