Today I received an email about copywriting services. It reminded me of the importance of writing good content for one's website. Good content has two major effects, neither more important than the other. The first effect that most people would focus on is search engine optimization. The second, often neglected benefit is visitor conversions - getting visitors to purchase a product, pick up the phone, or download the report - whatever reaction is desired. In actuality, both of these go hand in hand. From the email: "The Internet is constantly changing; methods that may have been hugely popular have been rendered obsolete. Google's guidelines, for instance, are always evolving. Most recently, Google has punished websites for unsatisfactory and irrelevant content. This shift into quality, rather than sheer quantity, has propelled internet-based operations to rethink their marketing strategies." Well said.
Content as Search Engine Optimization
Obvious - right? Not as obvious as it should be. The single most important thing you can do for your website is to keep it fresh with well-written, relevant content. There are three co-dependent criteria to keep in mind in that statement:
- Fresh - content should be added at regular intervals
- Well-written - should be clearly written and free of nonsense
- Relevant - be clear in conveying what it is that you offer
Avoid trying to trick the search engines or stuff keywords. An appropriate approach will always net you a return on your investment, even when others are incurring the wrath of Google's next algorithm update.
Content for Visitor Conversion
A huge amount of interesting, authoritative, and even humorous content is what sets you apart from everyone elses brochure, "About Us" approach. My clients (the one's who take my advice) have experienced this again and again. Folks call them up to make the sale and comment how much they enjoyed their website. We have also had reports that when web visitors call a particular client of ours - they invariably state that the reason they called was that they could tell that they were "obviously experts" since they have written so many informative articles. Let's consider some major players. Would Amazon.com sell as many products if they did not put so much effort into obtaining reviews and other visitor-submitted product information? Would Craigslist.org be so useful if it contained few listings? Do we wonder why everyone likes YouTube? Content. And lots of it.
Good Content is an Investment
The most common excuse people use for not putting content on their website is that it's too time consuming. This is partially true. Big websites employ people full time just to write articles. But this shouldn't deter you. Start with baby steps. Did you see a cool website related to your service - even remotely? Tell people about it in 100 to 200 words and provide a link. Did someone ask you a question about your product over the phone - even a seemingly stupid one? Share the answer in a blog entry. An hour a day is all you need - get started right now.