Every digital business needs new web content in an ongoing basis. The question is, do you know how to create compelling, optimized website content that converts? Can you write articles, blog posts, and industry reports that instantly grab attention and drive engagement? This is different that brochure copy and definitely different that product manuals.
Since the answer to these above questions is often “NO” for the majority of small and medium sized businesses, I’ve rounded up the top seven considerations to help you start creating website content that actually profits your business.
SET YOUR WEBSITE CONTENT GOALS
The Search Engine Journal has created a comprehensive guide on how to set goals for a content writing campaign. According to the guide, website content can help you achieve five things;
• Earn links
• Rank more favorably on search engines
• Educate an audience
• Drive engagement
• Generate leads and close sales
Before you do anything else, decide on your goals, keeping in mind that web content can have more than one purpose.
KNOW AND WRITE FOR YOUR AUDIENCE
Now that you’ve addressed why you’re writing, it’s time to address who you’re writing for. Inc. has a great article that you can use for this. According to the article, to define your target audience, you need to:
• Look at your current customer base
• Check out your competitors’ audiences
• Analyze your product or service
• Narrow down to specific demographics of gender, age range, interests, job titles, etc.
Once you’ve defined your audiences, create reader personas that you can always refer to when creating new content. You will write specifically to an audience.
START WITH A POWERFUL HEADLINE
According to one study by eConsultancy, “On average five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” The writer says that as soon as you get the headline right, you’ve done 80% of the work.
To this end, website content marketers must give their all when researching and writing headlines. The following five tips should help;
• Make it eye-catching
• Use active voice
• Be brief
• Check spelling and grammar
• Use keywords
Also, consider using headline analyzer tools such as CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to evaluate the quality of your headlines.
FOLLOW BEST PRACTICES
Among other things:
• Use the “inverted pyramid” approach to make readers want to read to the end
• Keep jargon to a minimum. The web is for everyone, not just technical experts
• Use short, concise sentences to drive the point home with no fuss
• Make copy scan-able: Today’s consumers don’t read long paragraphs or sentences
• Incorporate images and videos; they help boost engagement
• It’s also recommended to stick to active voice rather than passive verbs as active voice speaks more directly to the reader.
We recommend optimizing your content for two things; SEO and mobile devices. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means creating content in such a way that search engines find your pieces easy to crawl. When content is easy to crawl, odds of ranking at the top of search engines dramatically increase.
Mobile optimization, meanwhile, means taking steps to ensure that people who access the content on mobile devices have the same enjoyable experience as those using PC.
MAKE THE CONTENT ACTIONABLE
What should readers do when they’re done reading? Do they call you? Do they take the conversation to social media? Can they give their opinion? This is something you must think about too because it’s these actions that eventually result in conversions.
Fortunately, there are endless ways to make your content actionable. From the top of the head, you can;
• Provide a comment section
• Link to other content
• Utilize social media badges
• Use hashtags and mentions
MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS
Finally, when the content is up and running, go back to your goals and ask yourself whether it’s is helping you achieve the objectives you set at the beginning of the campaign. Is it helping you earn links? Are you ranking favorably on search engine pages? Are you getting the desired engagement, leads, and sales?
Thankfully, several tools are now available to help you track all the content marketing metrics you need. We suggest focusing on lead quality, traffic numbers, onsite engagement and number of sales.
The only thing we didn’t discuss above is the need for aggressive content distribution. Always share content on multiple channels (LinkedIn and other social media sites) and, where possible, repurpose old content to reach new markets. If you can follow all these tips, rest assured of plenty of traffic, growing leads, and increased sales.
Mike Gingerich is president of Digital Hill Multimedia (www.DigitalHill.com), a Goshen web design and marketing agency. He is also a co-founder of TabSite.com and Waftio.com, leading software tools for contests and lead capture, and author of the book Game Plan for Social Media Lead Generation. Find out more at www.MikeGingerich.com/book.