Choosing good web content isn’t rocket science, but it can be overwhelming for new webmasters and blog owners. Follow a few easy rules to make sure your content – whether you write it yourself or hire someone to do it for you – offers value to your readers.

Visitors want information. There are many sites that provide free content for websites and blogs. While using this material may be convenient, don’t rely on it too heavily. Doing so will turn your site into a cookie cutter, merely reiterating information the reader can find on dozens of other websites. Let your unique perspective and experience give a fresh spin to the subject matter, providing new and useful information that your readers won’t find anywhere else.

Visitors want understanding. Everyone has a need to be known and understood. Does your content create a sense of connection with the reader? Assuming you have a good sense of who your readers are, an easy way to connect is to write as if you were talking to a single individual. Good writing is no different than good conversation. Your words should be the equivalent of making eye contact with someone, acknowledging their needs and desires through your words, and offering a viable solution to their problems.

Visitors want integrity. Readers are loyal when their faith is well-placed. Establish yourself as an authority in your subject and you will earn readers’ loyalty and ultimately their business. Double-check facts. Deliver on your promises. State opinions honestly and respectfully. Communicate to your readers through your content that you are a person of integrity and worthy of their trust – and their time, and their business.

Visitors want clarity. As a writer, I spend a great deal of time engaged in research. Nothing sends me running from a website faster than poorly written, confusing, redundant, or rambling content. The webmaster could be the world’s authority on the topic, but if his or her ideas are not presented clearly, it’s difficult to have any confidence in the source. Good content makes a point, explains it, provides support for it, summarizes it and moves on.

Visitors want satisfaction. What is it, exactly, that you claim to offer your visitors? Make sure your content provides it. Keep articles focused on issues that are relevant to your niche. Determine your voice – whether it’s authoritative, casual, humorous, or inspirational – and stick with it in every post. Conduct user polls or invite readers to leave comments, and create content centered on what they want. Remember that it only takes the click of the mouse for visitors to look elsewhere. Make sure your content gives them what they want – and gives them a reason to keep coming back for more.