Bill Gates famously once wrote that “content is king”. Now 20 years on from coining that phrase, he’s still being proved right.

With the rise of clickbait teaser headlines, sensationalist straplines and misleading thumbnail images, we’ve all been sucked in by links that promise more information than they deliver.

But, rather than sneakily raising a brand’s advertising revenue, the proliferation of clickbait has turned off readers looking for quality content.

Facebook found that four of out of five readers preferred clicking through to content when they knew what they were getting, so the social media giant has reduced the prominence of teaser links on newsfeeds. They were able to identify clickbait as content that is clicked on but not read.

On the other hand, if a link provides quality content that readers actually want to find out more about, the user experience is seen as more positive.

When creating your own website, social media presence or blog, cheap ‘wins’ using clickbait may get initial audience statistics up, but won’t gain you any return visits or regular readers.

By providing quality content you will create a great experience for your audience, and if people find your website useful and original, you can build an audience in the long run through links from other sites and regular visits.

So, if content is king, what does online royalty look like? Well, there are some key rules to quality content. You need to:

  • Have clearly signposted, up to date information on what you do and how to get in touch with you.
  • Make it clear why your site is the go-to in your field, and you need to be credible. Use original research and testimonials to boost your reputation.
  • Let visitors interact with comment boxes and a two-way social media conversation based around regular updates.
  • Above all, don’t put them off with poor spelling and grammar, broken links and annoying spammy links and popups.

Remember – content is king, so keep it classy!