A picture is worth a thousand words but sometimes, five hundred words is worth three times that. Today’s websites are designed with fantastic, defined, super quality images that move and scroll, colours chosen with psychological profiling experts and perfectly proportional fonts and funky icons.
Click here! Act now! Free! Download! I am visiting your site – excited, ready with mouse in hand to get the greatest, newest, best, most amazing, easy to use, completely redesigned thingamabob. I search, but cannot find. What is this thing? Why do I want it? Where can I learn more? How many pages do I have to dig into before I figure out that I in fact do not want or need a hamburger scented candle.
This is why content is the first thing you need to nail down for your website. Nothing is more frustrating than clicking a website at the top of your chosen search engine only to spend time wandering around the site trying to find out why you are there. Google knows this too and they want their users to be happy. That’s why they came up with their Panda update – to target usability and content.
As Bill Gates once said in 1996, “Content is King”.
Start with what your business is about
Your business website is not a mystery novel. It’s not good design to hide the purpose of your business under layers of pages covered in images, no matter how cool you think it looks. If you want to sell a product – get it on the first page and explain what it is. Right now. Don’t wait. Hit the visitor with your best material right on that first page.
If a visitor can’t figure out what the site is about on the first click, you’ve lost them. There’s a fine line, though – web surfers don’t like lots of text. They want valuable text. There’s a lot of information out there competing for their attention. You’ve got maybe five seconds to convince them to stay.
Use content wisely
Figure out before you start what you want your site to do. You only have five lines of text to get visitors into your sales funnel. Use headlines and short sentences. Sort out your information with lots of navigation tools. Get inside the head of your target visitor and put on the first page what you would want to know right off the bat if you were them.
Content opens the lines of communication. It is your store greeter, on the job 24 hours a day. So use content to dire ct visitors to act: contact the store, person, or office to get more info, go to a product page and order online; donate, visit, make an appointment, download. Whatever you offer, make it easy for them to become a potential client right on your website.
Keep it fresh
Search engines like websites that people want to visit. People like to visit sites with engaging content. Engaging content is fresh content. See the connections? Search engines know people like websites with engaging content. So they look for the fresh.
You’ve got options for keeping your website fresh. It would be great if we could design a site, launch it, never look at it again and find that it still drives clients your way after five years. Easiest marketing tool ever. Build it, launch it, forget it. Right?
Wrong. If you allow your website’s content to lag. You’ll find yourself dropping off the first pages of search results. So keep your site’s content fresh to keep visitors coming back, through blogs, news articles, tweets, facebook posts – whatever puts new, relevant content up on your site to make you a search engine superstar.