When it comes to generating traffic and search engine optimization (SEO), few practices are as universally recommended as producing quality written content on your site.
Whether your website is a personal portfolio or a corporate site with hundreds of subpages, having quality written content is an essential component to gaining ground in both page rank and in traffic generation.
This doesn’t mean you have to turn your hardware store’s site into a news outlet. Instead, think of blog posts and other written content as a service that you provide to your visitors which serves as an encouragement for them to not only visit, but to spread the word about your company by sharing that content.
In this article, we will go over five tips for better written content.
Search engines are incredibly smart. If you are copying or simply rewording something someone else has already written, then Google, Yahoo, and Bing probably already know about it.
Good written content is unique. It may be difficult to write about a subject or offer tips that no one else has made before, but try to avoid simply rehashing the same content you can easily find elsewhere.
Your content should be unique to your brand. Your company’s voice, or your voice, should be apparent in everything you publish. This will separate you from everyone else.
In some cases, having content that is copied and pasted from elsewhere can actually have a negative impact on page rank. Google actively penalizes content producers that publish duplicate content.
If you or no one on your team is a particualrly good writer, considering finding one. There are many great bloggers out there looking for a site to contribute to. You can often find someone that will write good, unique content at a reasonable price. Your written content is an investment, and part of your long-term marketing strategy.
You can find good writers in several different ways. Freelance sites like Elance and oDesk are popular options, but you may want to find a writer that can contribute at a more frequent pace. Consider putting an ad on Craigslist or searching for active bloggers that write in a field related to your business.
If someone can’t scan your blog post or article and get a good sense of its message in the first five seconds, there is a good chance they will not stick around to read it. Even worse, they might hit the back button on their browser and find a different site to get information from.
Make your key points subheadlines and divide your content into sections based on those key points. This will make it easy for someone to scan the post as a list, and read paragraphs that interest them most.
If you are writing content to promote your hardware store, you want people to stick around and think of your business as one that makes people’s lives easier. You can do this by making your written content easy to follow.
Your content is a service to your visitors. It’s the first impression many customers will have of your company, and an opportunity to build rapport with your audience.
Does your content relate to your audience? Does it answer questions they might have or set them up for success?
These are important questions to answer when planning your content strategy. You want to produce written content that relates directly to the people you want to have visit the site.
A hardware store would have a difficult time converting customers if every other blog post is about comic books. If the focus is on a subject that is more related to the product, such as home improvement, then the chances of converting a customer from that content increase significantly.
If someone is searching for a tutorial on building a fire pit, they might just buy a shovel and a wheelbarrow from the company that provides the answer in a clear, easy to follow step-by-step guide. They may never have found that company if the blog was focused instead on Iron Man and the Avengers.
Social media has changed the landscape of content discovery. While search is still the dominant medium by which content is accessed, platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are also giant traffic generators.
With search, someone is specifically looking for something. Your content serves as an answer to a question the visitor has. With social media, your content is shared because it is interesting or provides the reader with a new idea they might not have thought about otherwise.
If your written content is shareable, someone is more inclined to pass it on to their friends and followers on social media. For content to be shareable, it should have one or more of the following attributes:
Another key component is how well you have the site set up for social media. Facebook, for example, uses Open Graph to pull data from a particular page in order to create a preview on the network. By following recommended practices and creating images and tagging information so that it looks good on these networks, you will make it inherently more shareable.
Your blog shouldn’t stand idle for months at a time. Create a game plan for your written content including a rate at which you expect to release new content. Once you have it in place, stick with it for at least six months.
Not every post is going to be a home run. You might go months before anyone reads your content only to have one post take off out of nowhere. Sometimes, a post you wrote a year or more ago will become suddenly relevant as it gets picked up by an influencer and passed along.
Every piece of content you generate becomes another asset in your marketing strategy. The more quality assets you have, the better positioned you are to be successful.
You might even find that some of your customers come to expect your weekly or bi-weekly blog post, having enjoyed your previous posts. This is a good thing, and will pay off for you in the long term.
Your consistency also keeps your site from looking stale. If you visit a site that hasn’t had a content update in six months, you would likely assume that it’s been abandoned or isn’t very well maintained.
Consistency also extends to your focus and quality. There is an old saying among bloggers that states, “You are only as good as your last post.”
Think of your company’s blog as a service to your customers. Keep these tips in mind and you might be surprised at how well your customers will respond. You never know when that one big client you’ve been waiting for might stumble across your content.