Getting Serious About Website Content
Over the past year I've been imploring my website clients to get serious about writing good content for their sites. This year I'm going to actually do what tell my clients to!
I'm always asked questions along the lines of 'how do I get my website further up the search results?' and my answer is always the same:
Other than ensuring your site is well structured and making good use of page titles and other basic SEO stuff, the best thing you can do is regularly add well-written appropriate content to a blog or news page.
In order to assist my clients (and anyone else who's interested) I'll have an announcement about a new (and free!) service I'm offering in the next week or two - keep an eye on my Facebook page for details :)
How will you generate traffic?
Why bother creating new content?
Perhaps you're happy with the amount of traffic your site's getting, and as a result, the number of enquiries, sales or bookings you're achieving. But there's always room for improvement, and actually, building your search ranking with great content is about more than these short-term performance markers.
Giving your business a voice
Creating fresh and original content for your site, written by you the owner, gives your business a 'voice'. You can create content which reflects your interests, and therefore more than likely those of your business, to a broad audience. You can give a personal view on something...
- How do you feel about recent local events?
- What attractions and experiences would you recommend to visitors?
- What are your favourite things to do?
- What is your business doing to stand out from the crowd?
We as consumers of all kinds are becoming more technically aware - people are starting to use the internet in a far more involved manner - searching for information about a business, using review sites and social media to validate a business' claims.
Your blog is a powerful tool in your persuasive arsenal.
How will you persuade potential customers?
In it for the long haul
Search Engine Optimisation is a long term project. Yes, it is true that good results can still be achieved in a relatively short space of time, but more often than not, I encourage my clients to think in terms of months rather than days.
You may think that an individual blog post is insignificant or unimportant - that it's not worth the time it takes to produce. You're wrong. Provided your content is informative and well written, it will always have a purpose and will result in either direct traffic as a result of people Googling a certain term, or in general SEO improvement for your entire site.
As an example, I'm currently working on a hardware electronics project for a firm in London which came about as a result of a rather 'unimportant' blog post I wrote a couple of years ago. This post is actually responsible for about 40% of the traffic my website generates.
What kind of content?
You're possibly thinking, 'Ok, I understand why I should post content on my site, but I have no idea what to post'. That's fair enough. If you're not particularly extrovert you probably don't feel particularly comfortable sharing stuff others may or may not find useful and informative.
In order to be effective online, you need to get over this! Creating content can be simple, but the kind of content will vary depending on the business sector you work in.
Here are some examples:
- Tourism related? Why not talk about local events, attractions, things to do, places to go, favourite places to eat/drink/be merry, towns, villages, countryside, coast...
- Personal or business service? Give away some tips (sounds daft but will pay dividends), share sector specific news, give a personal response to a recent event, promote the benefits of your service without directly selling it, use client testimonials or interviews...
- Food or drink? Share recipes, reviews of products you sell, daily/weekly/monthly specials, special events you're holding, share experiences, insights into running a business...
- Music or arts? Where do you go for inspiration? Share other people's work, review exhibitions or concerts, share work in progress, tips and tricks, tutorials or event online lessons...
And don't just stick to words! Photo and video posts can be incredibly effective and create far more engagement in terms of social sharing, 'likes' and comments.
I'll be covering photo and video in later posts - it's nowhere near as complicated and time consuming as you might imagine!
What kind of content is easy for you to produce?
Who are you aiming it at?
When you're creating your content you need to determine who you're aiming it at. Who is your target audience? Of course, the internet being the way it is all kinds of people could potentially view your content - not just those you think will be interested. And you never know where your next enquiry will come from.
As a result, I find it best to write for my largest client base - small businesses, but at the same time I try not to be exclusive. Don't presume a certain type of person will be reading your content, and also try not to presume they will have the knowledge you have - be clear, but concise, inviting and informative.
A catchy headline and an interesting first line could draw in a new customer you didn't expect to get - so make sure you consider your preferred clients, but spread your net wider too!
My 'new year' challenge
I don't make New Year's Resolutions as I find them impossible to keep and then feel totally disappointed when I fail. But I am giving myself a challenge this year - to practice what I preach. I've already written draft titles for blog posts up to the end of March (see below for why I do that!) and an intending to post 1 good blog post per week for the whole year.
Perhaps you'll join me and together we can watch our visitor numbers and enquiries/sales increase dramatically!
Top tips for content productivity
Keeping on top of your content could be a full time job - but it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of tools available to help website owners create and deliver their content efficiently and effectively.
And there are also many practical suggestion as to actually how to go about producing great content, publishing it regularly on your site and social media and generally keeping on top of your online customer engagement - here are my top tips:
- Set a specific time to write - don't leave it for that 'spare 5 minutes', you'll never get it done!
- Write titles in advance - this way you'll always have something to write about and don't have to spend time considering what to write about, you can just get on with it.
- Set targets - this could be a target to post 1 item per week, or perhaps an indirect target, like 'I want to double my site traffic in 3 months' - targets are a great way of ensuring you get stuff done, and you'll feel great when you achieve them!
- Keep track of useful links, images or videos to use in your blog posts - use your browser bookmarks, or just note them down in a document somewhere - this way you don't have to trawl the net for that perfect image when you're creating your content
- Write in your own style - don't waste time trying to be someone else, your clients want to hear from you so write in your own 'voice', it's quicker and easier and far more natural and trustworthy.
Thanks for reading - I hope I've encouraged you to get on top of your content, as I intend to do this year! If you've anything to add feel free to use the comments below, or talk to me on social media!