Content is King
Article Audience: Generic Users
Maybe you've seen this cliche over and over again, but have you really ever understood what this means? For your site to be successful, you simply need to attract as much traffic as possible. Once, you have traffic, you need to keep it. And to do this successful there is one crucial thing, your content.
Content is what makes or breaks your site. Original, valuable, useful content (lots of it). Your content must be able to help your visitors in some way or another. You want to genuinely interest your visitors, and you want them to visit all your pages, ideally bookmark your site, and visit over, and over again.
There are two functions that your content will do:
- Attract traffic - you need to get the visits frist
- Keep it there - once people land on the site, you want them to stay
Again, you've probably read the above suggestions over and over again, so how do you actually go about creating the content?
- Usefulness and orginality of content - Concentrate on creating content which will be useful to people visiting your site. If the content you will publish is about popular topics, your competition is going to be fierce. Therefore, think of giving the content a new (better) twist. For example if you are in the business of photography, do not be afraid of sharing tips and tricks of the trade. Chances are, if people landed on your site due to your helpful pages, they will be more inclined to stick to your site, especially if your content has helped them develop their own skills. And if they stick to your site, they will be more inclined to buy services / products you are offering.
- Plan your content - Decide the topics your site will concentrate on. Stick to a single topic (or a related topics at most). Plan your content before going live with it. Think about your website design, think it out over and over again, until you found the best way of presenting your content. During your design / development, always imagine your are the visitor you want to attract. Test the design you have on a test setup before launching it.
- Write content for human beings not search engines - Yes, it may be true that most traffic is brought to your site from search engines, however once a visitor lands on your site, it is critical that the visitor stays! For this you need to ensure that your content genuinely helps your visitor in some way or another. Even if you are selling products or services, make sure that you genuinely try to help your visitors, not just make money off them. Trying to milk out every cent from each visitor that lands on your site is a sure way to loose them. Stuffing your pages with adverts, will annoy your visitors. If you advertise, stick to products / services which you have tried and test and which you would highly recommend.
- Professional - Stick to content which you are passionate about, or which you are proficient in. This ensures that the content you provide will be of high quality, thus ensuring loyal visitors. Again, if you love photography and fishing, stick to providing content on these subjects. This ensures that your content looks and feels professional.
- Accessibility - Ensure that your content is accessible. Organize your site navigation in a way that visitors can arrive to content with minimal clicks, and content is readily available. Once a visitor has found on a particular article, ensure that they read any additional related articles by creating a related content navigation mechanism.
- Navigation - Stick to navigation standards (especially for mostly static content). People have become accustomed to certain navigation standards in a website. And even though some technologies and designs may look really cool, from a usability perspective, using standard navigation items, makes life easier for your users.
- Easy and ideal design - the first impression a visitor makes on your site is the one which will probably determine whether he will leave immediately, or stay on to indulge in the content you have provided. So design your site professionally, making sure that the site gives a good impression first glance. If your site is too plain, visitors will automatically assume that your content is "plain" too. Too much clutter will make any information you provide difficult to find, and thus remove any extra, unneccessary information. Always remember: Power in Simplicty. As an example think of the google.com home page vs the yahoo homepage. The google homepage is quick to load and focuses your attention on the search (the scope of the visit to the site) whilst the yahoo site offers much more information but distracts you from the actual search function itself.
- Length of items - Keep the length of articles to a reasonable amount. Too little content (<100 words) will result in not enough useful content whilst very long articles (1000+ words) discourage users from actually reading your content.