by: Thomas Young
Content is the fuel that drives the Internet, and in many ways the fuel needed to win at web marketing. Website content is the most important part of your website. It drives conversions, gets you found in search engines, brands your company and much more. Without it there would be very little reason for people to go online and look for value. Content is an important part of both your design and development work and traffic generation. Yet, having excellent content on your website and throughout your web marketing efforts is one of the biggest challenges facing web marketers. This book will help business leaders develop action plans and processes to make sure the right type of online content is found by your target market.
Content comes in many forms and can be defined as anything that is used to communicate with website visitors. Let’s dig deeper into website content and how it drives value for your website users. Here are a few questions to ask and guidelines to follow when reviewing website content.
Is it clear what the company does?
The first question to ask involves users understanding what your site is about. A clear ten-to-twelve-word tagline should communicate this so ten out of ten users understand what your company does. Push your web marketing team to make sure the site’s message is easily understood and test your assumptions with your target market.
Does the website have a clear branding tagline?
Your tagline should also mention your company’s unique value and how you are different from competitors. Take time in preparing your tagline. The tagline is part of the site visitor’s first impression of your company and should be featured on the home page near your logo.
Is the content scannable?
Website users scan online content first and then go deeper to read content of interest. Content should be made up of taglines, headers, bullet points, small blocks of text with links to deeper content pages and other types of easy-to-read content. In fact, your site can have volumes of content for the user to read, but this content should not be on the home page or main landing pages. Volumes of content should be deeper into the website. This is also important to Google, as websites with more content rank higher in Google search results than sites with less content.
Keep in mind it is not easy to read on a computer screen and some content should be easily printable or available in PDF. Also, archive all your blog posts and include newsletter articles on your website. More to come on blog postings in future chapters.
Is the content organized for usability?
The organization of website content is very important, especially as more content pages are added to the site along with a wide breadth of content topics. Make sure your content is easy to find and well organized in your navigation menus. Only use a search function on the site if it’s needed, and test it to make sure it produces accurate results. Check your content pages in Google Analytics and set a target of three to four web page visits on average per user session. This is an indicator of well-organized web content. If the average web user visits three or four pages, that person has a high level of interest in your website.
Does the content add value to the user?
This is the most difficult part of website content because value is defined by your website users. Web stats such as number of pages visited, average time on the site at over three minutes, a low bounce rate and other related stats will show you how engaged users are with your website’s content. This is the measurement of content value and is directly related to online conversions.
Does the user understand the content?
The content may be written in the language of the user, but it must also be understood by the website visitor. Avoid writing like you speak internally at your company; rather, write in the way a user will understand. This can also be determined in your stats and in user testing.
Is content optimized for the search engines?
Regularly updated content and author authority are the driving forces behind Google’s search results. Google will rank higher the sites that have content appropriate for the search results and regular content updates from credible authors. We will go into this in greater depth in the traffic generation and search engine optimization chapters of this book.
Is there a plan in place for content marketing and regular updates?
Content will not write itself and won’t get done unless there is a specific plan to make it happen, along with the right people to complete content writing tasks. The use of written content online to support your brand and drive conversions is called “content marketing” and should be included in your web marketing plan. Content marketing is at the heart of a successful web marketing strategy. Once again, we will review content marketing in more detail in coming chapters.
How does the content drive conversions?
Ultimately, this is the final word in website content: does it drive conversions and sales? Picture your website content as a sales funnel that pulls people into contact with your company because of the perceived benefits and value. This is the secret to successful website content. Following the guidelines in this book is a starting point to make sure content delivers on conversions.
Online content development and content marketing is a large undertaking and requires commitment from many levels in the organization. It is hard work and challenging, but also offers many rewards. In many ways, it is your key to online success. Take the time to learn more about content marketing and determine its importance to your website marketing efforts.
- Include a content marketing plan in your website marketing strategy.
- Assign content updates to a dedicated web author on the marketing team or outsource it to a writer that can communicate your company story and brand.
- Track the success of your content in your SEO results.
- Develop a content conversion funnel.
- Organize content so it is easy to navigate and scan.
- Write content from the perspective of the website user, not the company.
- Layer your content with brief taglines and bullet points on key landing pages, linking to volumes of content for readers craving more in-depth information.
Thomas Young is the CEO and founder of Intuitive Websites. He is an author, speaker and digital marketing consultant. Order Tom’s book “Winning the Website War” to get more digital marketing insights.