Content Strategies to Create a Value-Driven Website
December 11, 2019
By Jason Dodge, originally featured in SBAM’s FOCUS magazine
Your website says a lot about you or your company. As we know, first impressions are everything and the first place people usually see your business is online.
When it comes to planning a new website, or giving your existing site a facelift, navigating the process can feel daunting. Some of the most seemingly simple questions are often the hardest to answer in a website redevelopment plan. Working through those questions and shifting your mindset away from what the site will visually look like and instead putting that effort toward what value is delivered to the viewer is well worth your time. That means focusing on the value of your content.
When going through a website redesign process, this is an opportune time to focus your attention on the language used throughout your content. Consider the naming conventions you use to describe what it is that you do and the products or services that you offer. Next, follow the practice of asking yourself “what, who and why” and then determine the value that this content is bringing or will bring to your users. Content for the sake of content is not a strategy to deploy for successful conversions.
While asking these questions about brand, product or service may seem basic, you would be amazed at the number of companies that do a poor job of telling customers what it is they actually do. Think about who uses your products or services. If you have multiples, spend time showing people how your products fulfill the needs of those in a particular industry or by application. Next, you can usually answer the question of why—not why your product is superior than another, but rather, why your customer should implement your product for a specific use. In doing so, you help the user better identify themselves with your company and its products.
Finally, are you conveying the value that your products and services bring to others? Working through the process of defining value helps you understand the future use of that content and language used throughout your site. Content that strictly has value for search engines can also be used to connect with prospects at different levels of their buying journey. Without defining such a value, you hinder the performance of your new site.
Most sites do not actually give users enough information and present themselves in a way that could be deemed as having “thin” content by Google’s standards. Sites with thin content inherently disappoint users, who ultimately will leave the site seeking answers elsewhere.
To curb this, take the time necessary to really understand your customers and what they are looking for online. This can be achieved through some simple research or by asking your existing customers what would be helpful for them in their search process. Listening to your customers will likely uncover an opportunity to develop page content that is more helpful and avoids the problem of having little to offer.
The Right Structure
How you structure your content can mean everything to creating a positive user experience and to maximize search value. However, it doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. The mantra you want to employ here is one of “don’t make me think.” Provide your users with the information they want, when they want it and make it simple to find. Essentially, get inside your customers minds and experience things like they do as a consumer—empathy and understanding go a long way here.
Creating a simple outline of the structure can solve a lot of problems up front and help guide your content. This outline can also be shared with your web developer so that when they receive your content, the site will be developed around the consumer need.
Talk With Your Audience
Yes, you want your site to be found by search engines, but search has moved far beyond keywords and links. For long-term success, the human side of your website’s content must be taken into consideration.
Keep in mind, it is not what you think and it is not always about what the robots think. Consider the individual sitting behind the keyboard or on their phone. How is that individual using your site and how do they want to communicate?
If your content is not getting the point across clearly and succinctly and doesn’t deliver a positive experience to the user, it’s time to start thinking and planning out your strategy through a different lens.
Jason Dodge is Founder and Chief Strategist of search marketing firm, BlackTruck Media + Marketing. Combining his 17 years of industry experience with the efforts of holistic, human-centered thinking and technical search marketing tactics, Dodge works with brands to be successful online through honest search marketing strategies.