Does your website give you the type of return on your investment that you expect from a business project? If your content is being slapped onto the site without concern for structure and function, then the answer is most likely ‘no.’ Likewise, it’s important that your audiences find your content riveting, while the search engines rank it highly. This takes a bit of planning to make sure your content strategy is working.
How Website Structure and Function Supports Content Promotion
Ask yourself: ‘Is my website structure enabling visitors to find what they need or not?’ When someone visits your site, can they get their mission accomplished in a few short minutes or is it going to take them inordinate amounts of time to get what they’re looking for? To enable your visitors to get the most from your site, you need to focus on the following in your website structure:
- Site Hierarchy – Is your site hierarchy flat or deep? Site hierarchy is about how many levels one has to navigate to easily get to a specific category. Drop-down, collapsible, menus can help alleviate the need for deep hierarchies for sites with tons of content, by allowing designers to put 20 or more subcategories under the main menu heading.
- Navigation – Are your menus clear, readable, and easy to use for people on tablets and desktops? Do users also have a way to navigate your site without having to click on menus, too? Users on smartphones need other options besides clickable menus (which may be hard to navigate with your thumb) like including a search box or links embedded in relevant content. Can users scroll easily down the page? Will they need to resize or pan to get to different areas of your content? Avoid anything that ads time or complexity for users during site navigation.
- Platform-Friendliness – Can people using smartphones and tablets access your navigation as easily with their thumbs as you can with a mouse pointer? Many website designers are using responsive designs to enable content surfing for more mobile users to avoid unnecessary clicking, which can be difficult with a fat thumb.
Once you have the perfect website design, you will then need to make sure all your content is also optimised to produce results.
Why Page Content Needs to Be Optimised for Maximum Exposure
However, no matter what design you choose for your website, the search for profits will always come down to the actual content served to your visitors. In order to be appealing to both humans and search engines, the content has to captivate your audience and command a good ranking with search engines.
How to Write Appealing Content
Writing is an art that can take a lot of time to perfect. You may be able to understand the dynamics of a good article, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you can craft a great article simply by following the rules. However, for those that want to attempt to write their own content, here are a few easy steps to take to write quality content.
Step #1: OrganiSe Your Thoughts
Create an outline of the main points you want to get across. If you find you have too much to say, split it into two articles. Pick topics that appeal to your audience, not something that appeals to your company. Your company is not the buyer. Your audience is the buyer.
Step #2: Match Content Size to Content Type
You need a minimum of 500 words to rank well with the Google search engine for blog articles, but over 2000 words and you are going to lose your audience soon afterwards. Match the word count to the type of content. Product summaries and descriptions can be less than 200 words. E-books and case studies can be over 2000 words.
Step #3: Create a Semantic Keyword Strategy
If you’ve organised your thoughts well, you’ll have come up with a major theme or concept idea. Use this to research semantic keywords using tools like Ubersuggest.org or Google’s advanced search facility. You will generate a keyword cloud to use within the content to prove to Google that you are an expert in this particular theme or idea.
Step #4: Create a Killer Title and Opening Paragraph
When people surf, they read differently than when they pick up a paperback. Online, they will search for content and make a decision to open it, based on the title alone. They may even read the first few sentences in the opening paragraph. These have to be so captivating that it makes people want to read your content. You can do this by adding attention-grabbing, emotionally-triggering, words, but often it goes back to the skill level of the writer themselves.
Step #5: Write for Both Skimmers and Researchers
Some people are skimmers while others will want to read more in-depth as they research some topic extensively. You need to put enough information in the article to please the researchers (i.e. not just ‘fluff’) and also make it easy to skim by adding white space, headings, subheadings, and bullet points.
Step #6: Include Relevant Links
You will get more credit for an authoritative article from Google if you include your references. You will also want to include links to other relevant information on your website, whether it is an archived blog post or a product description.
Step #7: Make the Content Easy to Share Online
You can make blog posts easy to share by including buttons for common social networking sites, like Facebook ‘likes’ and Twitter ‘tweets.’ You will need to include images if you want to make it shareable on Pinterest. You should also have an email option for those that want to share the article via email to their friends.
Step #8: Request Some Action
Add a call to action. If you want people to share your content, ask for the share. If you want people to comment, tell them to comment. If you want them to check out your latest product, provide a link and ask them to go there. The call to action is absolutely necessary if you want the page to convert someone from visitor to buyer.
Top 10 Different Types of Content that Give You a Return on Your Investment
The content should match your audience’s interest in coming to your site. For instance, if you are a car part dealership, your audience will consist of hobbyists and certified mechanics looking for a particular part. In that case, product summary and descriptions are more important than case studies and testimonials. However, if you are selling a product or service that is innovative, then you would want to emphasise the case studies and testimonials instead.
- Product Summaries: When a person has a listing of a variety of products, they will read the summary first before clicking on the final details. It should include an overall view of the product, without too many specific details.
- Product Descriptions: This should be heavily detailed, include dimensions, colour, and what the product works with and how. It will indicate pricing and delivery options. It can also show complementary products that help enhance the functionality of that one item.
- Blog Articles: Blog articles can include a variety of different formats: how-to, controversial posting, entertainment, benefits listing, story-telling, and more. A good blog will develop a core group of repeat visitors who will help you get the word out about your business by sharing your blog posts with their social media friends and followers.
- FAQs: Tired of answering the phone or wading through questions in your email about different easy-to-answer questions? Don’t hire someone to do that, just post a Frequently Asked Questions section on your blog. This will increase your customer service reach without costing you anything extra.
- Technical Support Specifications: You will want an area where people looking for information on how to use a product properly can find the technical support specifications. This also helps you reduce overhead while providing the type of content your audience is most likely to search for on your website in certain cases.
- Hints, Tips, and Fact Sheets: Even people who are novices need instruction, and this is more readily done with hints, tips, and fact sheets. They can digest a smaller, less technical document and still get great value from the piece. It can help them advance their skills and become better at whatever they do.
- Tutorials: Once they get a taste of what you can do with a particular product or service, they might aim for grander goals. In that case, they will need even more education through tutorials or online workshops to help them gain the skills they want in record time, preferably using your products and services.
- Case Studies: A new product or service can come with a lot of scepticism. It may include an ingredient not recognised until recently to help in health benefits or a new technology that people might fear is a hoax. Providing case studies helps to alleviate those fears and raises the authority level of your site’s content.
- Testimonials: What could be more persuasive to potential buyers than others who will vouch for your company’s ability to produce results? It can also be a way to showcase the benefits to a particular demographic or industry.
- Thank You Pages: Most online websites do not make use of their “Thank You” pages properly. They can be one of the highest-converting pages in your arsenal if you know how to position them. Once a person buys, that’s the time when they have indicated their trust in your company. So, that’s also the best time to upsell or cross-sell them. You can do this by offering them more content on the “Thank You” page that not only shows your appreciation for the recent purchase, but also gives them a reason to purchase something else, either now or later, via coupon or discount offers on the future purchase.
As can be seen, the path towards an effective, high-performing, content strategy involves a path of many steps and nuances. Those that can master these skills (or at least outsource them to those who already know), will end up reaping more sales and exposure than those that don't. If you need help with your content, be it a content review, strategy or writing your site content, contact us today for a chat.
Whitenton, K. Neilson Norman Group (2013) Flat vs. Depp Website Hierarchies. Retrieved from: http://www.nngroup.com/articles/flat-vs-deep-hierarchy/ Patel, N. The Moz Blog (2012) How to Improve Your Ranking with Semantic Keyword Research. Retrieved from: http://moz.com/blog/how-to-improve-your-rankings-with-semantic-keyword-research