Identifying Reliable Content Sources

In 1996, Bill Gates uttered the oft-repeated phrase, “Content is king.” In the 20 years since, the web has expanded from about 100,000 websites to approximately one billion sites today. With all that information—and misinformation—it’s important that you have a strategy to ensure that the content on your website is from reliable sources.

Curating dependable content can seem like an overwhelming challenge; however, a source can be identified as credible in a few easy steps.

Check the domain
You want the source of content to be from a legitimate authority, which means that domain names ending in .gov, .edu, or .org are generally going to be more dependable than .com or .net sites. You know who is hosting or, but you won’t know who’s behind an article on or the anonymously posted sources of Wikipedia.
Check for accuracy
Look for typos and errors in spelling and grammar. If you can’t depend on your source to spell correctly, how trustworthy are they? Also, check the author’s referenced sources to verify that the information came from wherever the author claims. Be certain you’re posting fact and not a source’s opinion.
Check the dates
Often, web content is undated. Time sensitive topics which use statistics or discuss technology are often irrelevant if the information is old. The content you’re using as a source should have a creation date. Older articles should show they’ve been recently updated or revised.
Check the overall appearance of your source’s site
Do the site’s links all work? Does the site appear to be well-maintained with new material added regularly? Is the site thoughtfully organized with logical navigation? Are ads clearly differentiated from content and do they maintain objectivity? For example, can you trust an article on the benefits of a certain drug, if the ads are all from the drug’s manufacturer?

Once you’ve found a dependable source of content, be sure to cite the website from which the content came. Accurate attribution of sources will increase your own reliability in the eyes of others.

Remember that you’re competing for traffic with one billion other websites. Make certain everything you have on your site, whether curated or original, is focused, relevant to your brand, and useful to your customers.

If you would like help creating a more effective web presence, contact McFadden/Gavender Advertising. Our digital, design, copy, and social media experts can create online strategies to enhance your business.