Overcoming Content Boredom

As a writer, in general, I have a passion for language and for words. But as a web content writer, reading Stanley Fish’s new book “How to Write a Sentence,” I can’t help but wonder if the online business kills beautiful sentences?

We work in a world of keywords and keyphrases, where it’s desirable to use the popular words–it’s the expectation. The higher the site visits, the better the volume of clickthroughs, the better and that comes from leveraging highly trafficked words and phrases. At the end of the day the danger is that we all end up looking and sounding pretty homogeneous, right?  Is it possible to incorporate beautiful writing and sentences into this mix? Can we overcome content “sameness”? And if so, how?

Hipmunk.com and Picnik.com Examples

On most public facing websites, keywords and keyphrases are integral to search or findability on the web as organized by Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Blekko, and MSN. Possible to yank zombie users out of their stupor? The challenge is that there is a very fine line between delivering what people are already accustomed to seeing and reading, and giving them something new-ish, unique, but still very usable and sensible. Here’s just one small example of a site that takes a piece of content almost to an extreme, but makes a big score with it:

hipmunk.com's "agony" search filter

Hipmunk.com, above, takes the ultimate customer pain point in the world of airline travel and uses it as a search facet! What better description of the ultimate worst flight option — “agony.”

Another example: Picnik.com’s photo-editing site uses an engaging, even poetic, content string to display as part of its page load. It goes something like this: “painting sky, coloring flowers, laying the blanket, kites flying…”

Both these examples modify a common content component of many websites, but do so in a completely unique and engaging way. (And Stanley Fish’s book is inspirational, in general).

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