There’s a popular saying in the world of web design and creation: Content is king. That’s because no matter how good your visuals are, or how impressive the font, animation or photography, if there is nothing to grab the reader’s attention then they won’t be hanging around for long.
Ultimately, your aim is to deliver your message in a way that is engaging and captivating. Keeping the reader or viewer interested enough to keep reading or watching – and then ultimately to come back again and again.
There are millions of web pages out there competing for a finite amount of attention. And we all know what it’s like when you land on a page and can’t find the information or content you are looking for. It’s straight back to the search results page to look for an alternative.
Great content should prevent this from happening, holding attention and guiding the reader towards where you want them to be. That could be making a purchase, an enquiry or signing up to a newsletter.
So, to find out more about how to write great content that achieves all those aims, keep reading.
How unique content affects your website
Back in the early days of SEO, all you had to do was cram your website full of relevant keywords and Google would rank your site as being very visible, and up the page rankings you would go. These days, SEO is a little bit more sophisticated. As the algorithms that drive the Google ranking engine have become more complex, the needs of your onsite content also need to evolve.
All content is no longer created equal. Poorly written, keyword-stuffed text is not an option. Instead, what Google tries to do is to search pages for well-written, informative and (here’s the key part) unique content.
In order to improve the web experience of its users, Google loves sites that offer quality content that gives people something new, different and yet still relevant. So, it’s not enough to fill your site with copy and pasted info from elsewhere on the web.
But how do you go about creating unique content?
Well, the answer is that it takes either time or money – or both. Unique content has almost always been well-researched and is relevant to the subject at hand. You know from experience that when you visit a site and the content is poorly written, unclear or contains confusing information that it’s a big turn off. Well, it’s exactly the same for a search engine these days. So, it’s worth spending time on creating content that reflects the qualities you want to project. And if you don’t have the time or skill set to do that, then it’s well worth the investment to get a professional to do it for you.
However, content still needs to be written in certain ways in order to be SEO effective. Your content could be very informative, but if it’s not written in a way that confirms to SEO principles, then it’s not working as hard as it should. Which is another good reason why using a professional copywriter is a very good idea.
How content influences customers
As we mentioned above, the ultimate aim of content is to engage an audience and turn them from passive readers into active customers. This is the real key to killer content. Informative, funny, and engaging text is great, but if at the end of it the reader clicks off and heads off to make a purchase somewhere else, it’s going to affect your bottom line.
You need to know how to translate that good information into sales and enquiries. And there are several ways of doing just that.
Opinions are like eyebrows, everybody’s got a couple. And if you’re writing a blog, then feel free to put them out there. But when it comes to making sales, customers love facts. Factual content shows who you are and what you know and is essential for establishing the trust it takes to turn a reader into a buyer.
Of course, these facts are at their most powerful when they are related to the product in question. Shopping online always carries an element of risk because you can’t see or touch the physical product. That’s why customers love to know the facts. How big is it? What does it do? What colours are available?
If your product is digital, then what are its key benefits? How can it help to make their life better or easier? These are the key pieces of information that people really want to know.
Almost as important as product information is what other people thought about it. Reviews help to influence buyer opinion and act as an endorsement that they are not making a big mistake. Study after study has shown that customers take recommendations from their peers far more seriously than any marketing information. So, don’t waste time and space telling them how great your product is – let someone else do it for you.
And don’t be too scared by bad reviews. Not everyone agrees with everything. There’s always something a little suspicious when there’s not a negative comment in sight. See this as your chance to engage with customers and ask what you could do to improve.
These are slightly different to reviews in that they don’t necessarily deal with the product but more your services. They are often given by people who have credibility in a certain field, so as such they can carry more weight.
If possible, use images and videos to emphasise your point or to aid in the presentation of a product. Again, quality and uniqueness matter here, so stay away from the glossy and cheesy stock images. It’s well worth the time and expense to create some unique visual content as this is way more powerful.
Content: what to do and what not to do
When it comes to the time to create your content, there are certain key rules to follow and other things to avoid altogether. Stick to the following and you should be able to write content that works for you and achieves all your desired goals.
Always do your SEO research and know which keywords and terms to use in your copy. Try and get them in early, naturally and if possible in a subheading. However, you should avoid overusing keywords as stuffing can seriously hamper the quality of your content.
Use hyperlinks to relevant information and sources. Not only is this useful for readers and confirms authenticity and accuracy but it also has potential SEO benefits.
Try to create content that gives the reader what they are looking for and that creates an emotional response. To do this it is worth thinking about your core message and what it is that your product or service can deliver.
Try to avoid the passive voice and use active words that keep your writing exciting and engaging. And keep paragraphs and sentences short and easy to read. Big blocks of text are really off-putting.
It’s also important to be concise. Call a spade a spade, not an elongated earth moving device with a handle and wide, flat face. The best writing is deceptively simple.
It’s also very important to keep your content fresh. Make regular updates, add new and relevant information and change images every now and then. There’s nothing worse than visiting a site and realising it’s not been touched for years. It immediately makes you think that the hosts are not staying on top of what they are doing.
Ways you can create content
When it comes to creating content, you are basically faced with two options. One is to do the work yourself. After all, you know your product and services better than most. So why pay someone else to write it when you can have a crack yourself?
In theory, there is nothing wrong with this. If you bear all the above in mind, stick to the SEO strategy, and do your research, then there is nothing stopping you creating great content that really works for your site.
However, the same goes for plumbing. And you probably wouldn’t have a go at fitting a sink if you had no real experience. Sure, we all know how a sink works in theory but when even little mistakes can have big consequences, it’s probably best left to an experienced professional. That way, you can be sure it’s being done correctly. And it won’t take up hours of your time doing the research online and then struggling with tools you don’t quite understand. You’ll be left free to concentrate on what you do best – running your business.
When it comes to reviews, testimonials and other third-party content, it always pays to be honest. Don’t be tempted to write them yourself, and make sure you use a variety that gives a true picture of your product. Readers are always more likely to trust reviews they perceive to be genuine.
Stick to all the above, and you can have a site where the content really is king.