Website content is a tricky beast. As a DIY webmaster, you probably feel overwhelmed and don’t always know which way to turn. Everyone has a solution and everyone wants you to hire them to fix it. The rules change from time to time, but there are some that have not changed. If you get the basics right, you can rest assured that your website content will help you attract traffic, get visitors to stick around, and hopefully lead to repeat visits and sales!
So what is the secret formula?
Well, it’s really kind of an open secret for those who have spent any time studying what goes into it. Here are some things that have stood the test of time, and Googles zoo full of algorithm changes.
· It has to be original. This is the biggest one, I’ll explain more in a minute.
· Informative content is best. Things that teach make the best bait.
· Avoid sales speak. People love to buy, but they hate to be “sold”.
· Stay Connected. Both inbound and outbound links are important.
· Keept it fresh. For best results, you should have a steady flow of new content!
So, there are the basics, let’s take a look at each of these individually. I’m going to give you some questions to ask about your current content, and offer some tips on how to achieve these five things.
Not every piece will fit all five, but the more, the better. These five have consistently been true since content marketing began and are likely to stay true, even with changes to search engines and evolving marketing techniques, this is why I selected them.
1. Orginal content is essential!
At the very tip top of the cardinal sins on any search engine, social platform and article posting strategy is the idea that your content has to be original! So, what does this mean, after all, there is so much content floating around today that coming up with wholly new ideas is virtually impossible, isn’t it?
Well, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you might want to reword your patent application for it! In other words, you can borrow all you want, but you have to make it your own. It takes more than a little “spin” to make content original. Most of the ideas out there are repeated, over and over again, so your job is to find new language to express those ideas in!
· Try to mix it up. Do not copy any text and paste it in directly! Write new text.
· When borrowing, try to add a new twist. You might borrow 7 of one top ten and three from another. Remember though, fresh text!
· If you get stuck, someone like me can help! When I first started out I would write multiple articles on the same exact title, on the same day, on the same platform and never once got dinged for plagiarism! (literally, over two years, more than a hundred articles on hanging doors alone)
So, why is this important?
Two main reasons: First, the search engines will not list a page that is identical or even too similar to other content! Second, people will notice and original content gets shared, commented on and linked to more than the same old stuff.
So, how do you know if your current content is doing this?
· Use a tool like Copyscape to check your content. It will compare it across the web to find identical content.
· Search around and find out what others in your “space” are saying. If they are all saying the same thing, choose another route!
· Have you heard this before? If so, is it the only way of sharing your service or product? The answer is almost never yes. Find that other way and use it!
2. Informative content is best!
Whatever business you are in, you are in the business of giving your clients what they want! A big part of this is the feeling of knowing something that others don’t! Through the use of white papers and case studies, you can present your products and services in such a way that the client learns about your industry, while being subtly helped to see that you provide the best solutions!
Ask yourself this question. If you were interested in topics surrounding your product or service, would you find your website helpful and informative? Do you think your website really teaches people what they need to know to become informed customers? If not, why not? What can you do better?
· Give away as much information as you can, without divulging trade secrets, or training your competition.
· Those who will buy from you or hire you will feel they trust you through your informative content. Those that will not will have learned what they need to know and would likely share the source with others looking for the same information.
· Informative content builds authority for your site, a huge component of page ranking in search engines. It also attracts traffic that would not otherwise find you based solely on product and service descriptions.
Do your research. This includes keywords, as well as conversations within your niche on such places as forums and fan sites, etc. Don’t assume you know what your client’s want to know. You know what you want them to know, but this is often not the same thing. Sometimes just changing one piece of your vocabulary, using “garden” instead of “yard” for example, can make all the difference in the world as to how many people will find your content.
3. Avoid sales copy content!
Unless you are specifically writing a long form sales letter site, which may be the case, avoid direct selling language. Save this for your call to action. Your general content should be readable, whether the person buys or not.
Think about it, you’ve had the experience of shopping for a house, car, or insurance policy. Think of that feeling of dread that comes up. Are you giving your website visitors that same feeling? No one likes to feel like they have just undergone a visual credit check the moment they walk in the door.
· Lead with information, make your writing engaging and entertaining. Write as if this were the attraction.
· Explain the benefits to your potential client, then offer them more information. A well laid out content plan creates an irresistible sales funnel that doesn’t really feel like one.
· Get your readers to agree with you. To do this, you have to make understand that you get what they need, you understand their challenge, you “feel their pain” and you have a cure!
If you can lead a reader through multiple layers of content offering the sale at each level, it is the same as getting yeses from a direct sales conversation. The more a person agrees with you, the easier it is to get them to buy when the time comes. Make it genuine. Ask for the sale, but ask for it by offering it as a solution. Problem solved.
4. Keep your content connected to the web!
It’s hard to sell anything online in isolation. If you do it carefully, you can use other’s content to confirm your own and help convince the reader that you have the best solution. The best type of links are incoming. When you get them, they are worth their weight in gold. Second to this is an outbound link. Search engines love them, they make you look good (if you choose the right ones) and they add interest and information.
The internet is a big place! You need friends and through links you can build a kind of “neighborhood” with each piece of content. It is hard to get good inbound links for salesy copy, though, keep this in mind. Think of the type of content you would like to share with your readers and write that!
· There are a lot of good strategies for getting inbound links to your site. The best strategy is to produce valuable content that others want to share.
· Choose outbound links carefully. Avoid competitors and read carefully to be sure what you are sharing doesn’t undo what you are working to accomplish with your own content.
· Outbound links not only look good to search engines, but can turn into inbound links. When you link to someone, they are likely to investigate and may return the favor!
Referrals are some of the best and most qualified leads you can get. Through links, you don’t just get traffic, you get traffic that came from a recommendation. That is a very valuable thing. Since the best way to get something from others, is to give it yourself, start there by building some great outbound links to high quality content.
5. Keep your content fresh!
Sites that have static content are invisible to search engines. If your site has been indexed previously, a search engine reading it again is likely to discount you for not having kept it up to date. Whether it’s right, or not, new content is considered better content.
Start a blog, or add articles to your site on a regular basis, then ping the search engines for indexing of new pages. Blogs are one of the easiest ways to achieve this. Many webmasters think social media can provide this, since it changes regularly. Social media is great, but, since it is not inside your site, it does little to build SEO for your site. It provides a great way to push traffic, but it cannot attract it from inside.
· Content should be added to on a regular basis. Most best practice articles are recommending multiple times a week, or even daily.
· Blogs are the best way to add new pages. They are fast and simple and offer a lot of built in formatting and multi-media options.
· In addition to adding content, find ways to autoshare posted content. This will go a long way toward building backlinks. I suggest a website called IFTTT.com
If you follow all five of these guidelines, it will not likely skyrocket your traffic overnight, or maybe ever. But, what it will do is provide targeted, meaningful visitors, whose numbers will grow over time if you are dedicated and don’t give up.
This may seem like a big job, and it is. But, you can do it. But, just in case you can’t, contact me and I will be glad to give you some pricing on getting things up and running for you.