Here’s where you’ll find answers to your questions about content and how it’s created at BW SEO. I do have a magic wand and a crystal ball, but often there’s a bit more effort and skill involved.
The term ‘content’ itself is confusing because it can mean so many different things. Depending on what you need, I can create a series of one-paragraph emails, a regularly scheduled newsletter, some press releases, a speech or two, a how-to video script, social media posts, blog posts… on and on and on.
If you still have questions after looking through these discussions, feel free to contact me, or leave a comment even. Perhaps you’re not the only one who needs clarification about something. There’s only so much room I can use on a page before people give up and go to sleep, or just leave. Gosh no. Please don’t do that.
What are the Top Ten Signs of a Needy Website?
First of all, let’s make clear what a needy website is. The purpose of your website is to increase traffic and sales, and to grow your business. A needy website has so many of its own problems that it can’t possibly solve yours. Fortunately, most of them can be corrected with content, whether edited or created fresh.
How is your clients’ user experience on your website? Do you know your bounce rate (users who leave the site without investigating one more page)? If it’s above 50%, something needs to be fixed!
Site visitors typically click away from a landing page for a variety of annoyances.
- It’s difficult to navigate (this includes misdirected links and links that don’t go anywhere)
- The text is hard to read (too light and/or too small)
- There are broken images with no alternate text to display
- It’s hard (or impossible) to use on mobile devices
- The website may look nice, but what does the business actually do?
- The content is a jumble of corporate-speak, in desperate need of simplifying
- Popups appear on every page, sometimes 3 or 4 of them (an initial opt-in email popup is fine, but only on the first visit to the website and only once)
- The website is using outdated and ineffective marketing strategies (no one likes a pushy salesman)
- The content goes on and on, without subheads to divide the torrent of words
- Improper grammar, spelling and punctuation are decidedly unprofessional
There are plenty of other reasons, but in my opinion, these are the Top Ten. Fortunately, I can take care of every single shortcoming and turn it to your advantage.
How can you tell what your website needs?
We’re assuming you already have a website, or at least one is in the works. These days, if a company doesn’t have a website, they’re losing a significant amount of business. Even in a tiny one-stoplight town, word of mouth only goes so far.
Almost two-thirds of people searching for products or services do so online. And two-thirds of those searchers use their phones. So, not only is a website important, but also, it’s crucial that it be mobile friendly. A frustrating website experience will turn away 97% of searchers. To repeat – 97% of searchers will go to another company and not return.
I’ll take a look around your website and make a list of things that could be improved. Sometimes it’s just a question of editing for grammar and syntax. Other times it will require a complete rewrite. You have the right to know what’s involved before we decide to work together. Expect an advisory proposal in writing, with specifics.
What the heck is ‘outstanding content’?
Outstanding content does its intended purpose. Simple as that. Know your audience and what they expect. If your business is alternative health care, your website visitors probably aren’t interested in the latest prescriptions. Ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough… yada, yada.
A good website is made up mostly of content – pictures in your head, painted with words. Many businesses contract for the creation of their website with only one aim — to present their product or service and hope for sales. Once the launch honeymoon has waned, the normal spike in site traffic slows down and levels off at a crawl. Why is this? Because it’s just the beginning of the process.
Generally, business owners trust their website designers to make the magic happen. A good share of the time, those projects are thought to be ‘low maintenance’, just like people’s lawns. Nothing could be further from the truth. Websites can be ‘low’ maintenance, as long as it’s done frequently. ‘No maintenance’ will not yield the expected results. Anyone with a lawn knows that the grass has to be fertilized, watered, weeded and mowed on a regular basis to nurture that turf into being the most beautiful in the neighborhood.
In the same way as landscaping ‘curb appeal’ works to attract potential home buyers, interesting and informative content will entertain visitors to your website. And they may well buy something!
How can your website be more informative?
If a website visitor can’t find the answers to questions, it’s a sizable turnoff. A page for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), with real answers instead of deflections or obvious constant pitches, tends to keep a visitor on your site at least a page longer. Internal links to other pages on the site add credibility and further information.
Provide a search feature on the website to help visitors find what they’re seeking. This assumes that good keywords have been used throughout the site, plus synonyms. Keyword research is valuable here, not only for SEO, but also for solid informational content.
If there isn’t a blog on the website, give some thought to how it could help. For one thing, a blog is the perfect platform to introduce new products or services. It’s also a good vehicle for explaining how the company interacts with, and relates to, what’s going on in the world. And a blog is a great source of material to repurpose into videos, email newsletters and even ad campaigns.
How important is it to be available?
When visitors want to chat, it’s a great idea to have an online chat window available. However, if it’s offered, you’ll want to ensure that there’s someone on call to respond and answer questions. Chatbots are very frustrating and as big a turnoff as voicemail menus. Listen closely to your options, as our menu has changed… you’ve heard that before, I’m sure.
If you rely on a contact form, make every effort to respond within an hour after receiving that email or notification. Speedy answers are part of being professional. Let visitors know that you value their communications.
Messaging on social media is a good way to keep in touch, as it’s more immediate than email. If you have local business listings, be sure to monitor them as well for messages from potential clients. I do know that Google My Business will turn off your messaging feature if you don’t respond within 24 hours.
What should you simplify and explain?
Any company that’s been in business for more than six months tends to lapse into using terms specific to its area of focus. For instance, I was a landscaper for 16 years. Even now, I use specific terms such as fescue, Bermuda grass, centipede or St Augustine Grass, when most folks only care if their lawn is green. I should just call it grass, right?
The same goes for an electrician, dentist, event planner, safari guide or Caribbean cuisine blogger. Use a specialized term, but then explain it the first time, ideally in the same sentence or one directly following. Later in your discussion, you can go back to that term knowing you’ve already made it clear.
Leave the technical things to the industry journals. Unless the website is intended specifically for people who are already at that level, your references will be ignored. Exception: Footnotes are very useful for such resources.
Is it a good idea to have a backup plan for social media?
Most of us agree that social media is integral to a company’s marketing efforts, because of the connections and exposure it can get for you. But there are inherent pitfalls. Remember MySpace? No. Neither does anyone else. Entire social platforms can disappear almost overnight. You can find yourself in the same situation as the US textile industry, which was overwhelmed by much cheaper overseas imports.
Study this photo of an Upstate SC textile mill that was shut down. It stood empty for decades. Then a development company had the brilliant idea to convert it to loft apartments. It’s becoming a trendy place to live and is attracting some talented artists.
Social media algorithms can change with the wind, and a company caught unprepared can be crippled if it depends on only one social media community. And what if someone with a grudge starts a campaign to get you banned? Innocence is harder to prove than guilt. Where do you go to get your reputation back? And incidentally, your business?
Building a presence on several social media platforms is no doubt a smart move. Diversifying is a good thing. But beware – you don’t own those groups, not even Etsy if you happen to have a store there (I do). Having your own website is a very smart backup in case of social media disaster. Use the other communities to drive traffic to your central website.
Will your website ever be finished? Um, no.
It’s true that you can build the most beautiful, informative and user-friendly website in the world. But that’s just the beginning. Once the palace is decorated and furnished, and the communication system installed, if it just sits there on the estate hardly anyone will know it’s there. How to get the word out?
Well, advertising is a good start, of course. But I wouldn’t advise throwing money at any old campaign in hopes of increased traffic. Make sure your website is initially optimized the best it can be. That means doing keyword research before writing the first paragraph. Your content must match the intent of each page, post or product. If it doesn’t, not only will the search engines ignore it, but so will users.
Then get busy adding blog posts, products and services. New, relevant, authoritative content is enticing and delicious to the crawl spiders. Searchers love it too. Schedule your additions or repurposing to regular intervals. Making a lot of changes in a wad, followed by a wasteland of inactivity, then another wad, will not work as well as steady activity on a website. Keep good structure in mind as you go.
What if you need a different content project than what’s listed here?
Reach out via my contact form and tell me what you need done, the time frame, the scope, the purpose and frequency. For instance, you may be considering a company newsletter to go out every 2 weeks. Will you need photos? Will they be supplied or would I need to source them? How long will each newsletter be on average? We can automate publishing and email delivery to suit your schedule.
Content marketing is an effective way to advance your business, but it’s more than just blasting out emails. We can talk about using a strategy that includes emails, social media posts/campaigns, press releases, and so on. Introduce new products, update existing services, repurpose a blog post into a how-to video.
Case studies, white papers or employee handbooks are simple to produce, as long as all the parameters are agreed on before the project begins. They can all be very effective and helpful to your business.
What’s the price per word?
We can agree on a unit price based on how many words you expect, deadline parameters, research involved, resource citations, image sourcing and other requirements that may be hidden at first. All of these will be included in a contract between us, to be signed by both and binding to both. I’m not opposed to the idea. But both parties should understand what’s going on from the start and not deviate from it once the agreement is carved in stone.
For the simple reason that content is so variable and fluid, a flat per-word price is avoided here. And my writing is original. I do not use AI or any content apps that convert the spoken word to characters on a page. You won’t find me lifting voices from videos and transcribing them. What you see on a page — website or actual — comes from my own veins.