Do you remember the movie "Field of Dreams" and the catchy phrase "If you build it, they will come"? Sometimes website owners are hooked into believing that the Internet is one giant "Field of Dreams."
While that might have been true a decade ago, when the web was a much smaller place than it is now and sophisticated search engine algorithms were practically non-existent, today's website owners have discovered that keeping their website up to date and relevant is a much more complex process.
There are so many elements that go in to building a traffic generating website that anyone who is selling products or services but not constantly and consistently keeping up their site will soon discover that they're among the millions of others in the website bone yard.
What is the biggest challenge that business website owners face in order to keep their websites relevant and generating new traffic as well as returning visitors? Certainly design is important. But, believe it or not, the "look" of a website isn't as critical as the content of a site. In fact, producing relevant, quality content is probably the most important aspect of any website. And it's also one of the biggest challenges that a site owner will have to overcome.
It needs to be informative, with a call to action, and yet it can't push too hard or be too "salesy". You might also have a blog, a series of short, informative posts that are update regularly. Additionally, there can be white papers, newsletters, autoresponder emails and, a fairly new entry into the website marketing arena, social media. And moving forward, the demand will only grow.
According to the Direct Marketing Association, in a June 2012 article, companies are turning away from ads and actively marketing their products and services using a combination of ramped-up social media, content curation and blogging. GM (who is the third largest advertiser in the United States) has moved from advertising into creating more relevant Social Media.
Unfortunately, unless your clients have a full-time marketing person on board, the sheer volume of quality content required to keep their sites relevant may become too overwhelming.
Here are four tips that you can use to feed your clients' sites, increase their traffic and, ultimately, help them increase revenue.
1. Create interactive content.
Interactive content is information that invites reader participation. This might be asking for their opinion on a product, or it could be introducing a discussion about something controversial. Interactive content can also be as simple as creating a link in Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest or another social media outlet, and inviting the reader to click on it. This will generate more traffic to your client's site and, in turn, create a bigger social buzz.
2. Create new content with videos.
Video content marketing has exploded in the past 18 months. This is partially because of higher bandwidths, but also, marketing experts have realized that people enjoy watching videos of about 3-5 minutes in lengths. And while consumers are turned off by blatant ads, companies who create useful videos outlining the benefits of products can significantly raise their ROI. The research firm Borrell Associates has projected that in the next 5 years, video marketing will account for more than 1/3 of online advertising spending.
3. Update often.
Adding a blog to your client's website is a smart way to start increasing your content. But it must be updated frequently. The good news is that it doesn't have to be long, involved, in-depth discussions. A short post of 250-400 words is an ideal length and easily attainable. Most people suggest that a blog be updated at least once or twice a week.
4. Hire a professional writer.
It can be frustrating for a reader to try to get information from a website that has poor spelling, grammar or is obviously not written by someone who is familiar with the language. Sometimes, in an effort to save money, a site owner will purchase poorly written content for their site. Your client's website is a showcase for their product or service -- so investing in high quality web content is the best way you can let a potential customer know that your clients are worthwhile. Sure, it costs a bit more, but in the end it's worth it.