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Website Content: The Rules of (Consumer) Engagement

There was once a popular movie called "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying". What a wonderful notion: That there is a simple, easy way to reach the pinnacle of success. Nice as that would be, we know that success is impossible without effort. Let's take marketing, for example.

Traditional advertising and word-of-mouth, once sufficient to guarantee at least a modicum of success, comprise only part of the comprehensive marketing strategy today's competitive environment requires. Effective content marketing is essential to building your brand so that it stands apart from the competition.

Much content marketing emphasis has been placed on social media (also known as social networking sites or SNS). Often overlooked, however, are company websites, yet your website should be one of the priorities when producing marketing content. Why? Because, at the end of the day, a consumer will almost always go to a company website for information, no matter how informative or entertaining a Facebook page or Twitter feed may be.

First, when we say content for websites, we mean just that: Material produced solely for the purpose of creating and renewing content on your official company site, not simply links to other sites or sources (although those can be beneficial to some extent as well). Here, then, are some things to keep in mind when producing content for websites:

Be mindful of purpose.

In other words, remember what you're trying to accomplish which is, above all else, to attract visitors to your site and, once they're there, to engage them via a call to action to convert them from consumer to customer. That's it. That's the bottom line.

Who Are You?

What is your enterprise all about? An honest assessment of your company's identity is an important step because your website content (or any online persona, for that matter) should be an accurate reflection of who you are and how you want your products/services/people to be perceived. A conservative business law firm, for example, is likely not going to impress its existing clientele or attract new clients if its website content is "hip and trendy".

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Although substance is the most important factor, content for websites must also consider style. If your site has been professionally designed, great! If not, it is well worth having a pro look at it and refurbish it, if necessary. If the webpage is unattractive, the visitor will click away (and likely never come back).

You basically have about 2-3 seconds to make a favorable impression and grab the attention of the consumer. There are no hard and fast rules as to what makes a website look good, however. Just know that it can't be too busy, shouldn't look disorganized, must be navigable with ease, and, above all else, should be easy on the eyes. "Shock and awe" is not what you're going for here. Our advice? Spend some time looking at the websites of your competitors. See what works and what doesn't. Look at the sites of successful companies. Then and only then should you revisit your own site.

No sales pitches.

If you want a visitor to spend time on your site and, even better, come back from time to time, your content shouldn't be an online advertisement for your goods or services. Content for websites should be interesting, informative, and of value to your target market. You want your site to be considered a resource, not a marketing tool. The more you can educate and/or entertain visitors to your site, the more they will look around, and perhaps even link to it. So assess what interests your target audience and then focus on it.

It's story time!

The most effective content for websites tells a story. It might be about your company history or an update on legislative or regulatory changes that impact your industry, for example. Whatever the subject matter, the writing should be engaging while it informs.

This is no place for an amateur.

An amateur writer, that is. Your most competent technical person isn't necessarily the person who should write your content. Content for websites is easy to write. Writing effective content for websites requires the ability to - you guessed it - write effectively.

Refresh, refresh, refresh.

In order for content for websites to be valuable, it should be updated on a regular basis. Otherwise, your site will stagnate and so will traffic.

Proofreed yore kontent.

We really don't need to say any more, do we?

Topics: content for websites

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