Nowadays, establishing a content strategy for a website is a key element to any internet marketing campaign, but why? Like all things in the marketing world, things change. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing on thin and irrelevant pages. Content now has to be created with your visitor’s (and Google’s) best interests in mind. Otherwise, you leave your visitors with lousy content and risk losing them along the way. And let’s not forget to mention that pesky Panda update that will suck the traffic right out of your site if you’re guilty of sub-par content. Are you coming around to the idea of building out a solid strategy? If so, here are some questions to ask yourself as you get started:
Why Should I Spend the Time?
Excellent question my friend. Spending time working on your content is good practice for SEO but more importantly, is useful for your visitors and potential customers. We in the internet marketing world like to get caught up in the rhetoric of writing content that looks good in the eyes of search engine crawlers and manual reviewers, but we can never forget that there are actual human beings looking at your site!
Your visitors are looking for a seamless navigation, easily readable content, and specific information before they take the plunge with your goods or services. If this isn’t the case for your site, then it is time to consider some changes. It would be a shame to miss out on business due to a lack of useful content.
What Should I Write?
Even better question! You should only write what you know will be useful to a visitor as they peruse your website.
Grab a couple of friends who you know can be neutral and give them all a different task to complete on the website. Let’s say you are an online used DVD shop. You can have one friend try to navigate to a specific title, have another try to navigate to a Director’s bio page, and have another simply try to find information on your return policy, a contact form, or to read your homepage content. Have your buddies take notes on what they found easy or what they found difficult when completing the tasks you have given them. Then, analyze where the task was difficult or where the content was unclear and decide whether or not you can alleviate these issues by creating a new page or by being clearer with your existing content.
Do you have a dedicated page explaining your return policy? Do you have a contact page? Is your homepage or are internal pages too thin on content? Does text exist on the site for the sake of being there or can you make it both SEO and user friendly?
This exercise will help lead the way towards a holistic approach to the content on your site. Always write what you feel is best to be clear, but make sure to have at least 300-500 words. It is best practice for SEO!
So your site is air-tight on content…Now what? The best way to upload great content on a regular basis is through your website’s blog. If you don’t have one, you should definitely add this to your list of action items. A blog is a great way to grab potential customers and followers with nuanced topics that just don’t appear anywhere else on the website.
Start slow if you have to, but try to upload blog content on a regular basis. It is great for SEO and even better for your users. Make sure that you have at least 2 blog posts a month and make sure you mix up the style and structure of each post.
Formats to consider:
Lists are a great way to get your point across quickly and efficiently. Make sure the list you are creating is relevant to your audience. If you’re a site that sells old CD’s, tapes, and records, I sure better see the blog post for top billboard albums in 1992.
This format can be extremely useful if you are trying to tackle a common issue by presenting a solution to your audience. This is a great way to catch those long-tail searchers entering a “How do I…” or “How to do…” search term.
Sometimes a topic is just too complex to cover in one blog post. Considering writing a series of pieces on a relevant subject that interests you the most. This is most useful when you have multiple examples or even multiple media pieces that you’d like to accompany your post in phases. Be sure to write on a topic that captures your audience’s attention and keeps them coming back.
Brand-heavy posts give your website visitors more information on your company, culture, and successes. Giving a visitor a window into your business can potentially increase conversions and gain you loyal lifetime customers.
Now that you have a place to start, it’s time for you to start building your new content strategy!