It’s that time of year. The time where you start looking at your website and tilt your head wondering if it’s starting to sound a little stale to readers. If it’s been a few years since you’ve updated your content, your site could probably use a good scrub. A lot changes in a year – trends, tools, keywords, methodologies – and you want to make sure your Web site is giving users (and the search engines) the most up-to-date information about your company. The best way to do that is to give your website a quick content audit to determine what exactly it’s saying about you.
Below are five ways to tune up your content for 2011. You want to start the New Year off on the right foot, don’t you?
1. Highlight your strengths.
You’ve probably heard it a lot over the past year – marketing is storytelling. Each sentence on your site should be part of a larger effort to tell your brand’s story and lure readers in. To capture people’s attention, your content has to be telling a story that displays your product/company’s strength and tying it back into how it will solve a problem they’ve expressed. Does the content on your site do a good job highlighting your strengths or is it simply a list of features? Do you show customers how your product will help them achieve a larger goal or are you waiting for them to put it together themselves? If it’s the latter, you need to go in and tweak your message. What’s different about your product or service? What goes above and beyond in a way your competitors don’t? Revamp your copy to include these selling points and clearly outline the benefits you offer to customers.
2. Know your competition’s weaknesses.
Part of knowing where your product succeeds means also knowing where your competitor’s product fails. Maybe you deliver superior customer service, maybe it’s a price point issue, or maybe they’re nowhere to be found on social media whereas you’re dominating and ever-so-accessible. Whatever their specific weakness is, make sure you account for it when highlighting your strengths. Don’t do this in a way that speaks badly about your competition, but in a way that highlights something that you do really well. It’s about you, not them. You have to remember that potential customers are landing on your website to research their options in service providers. Make sure you’re showing them why you’re the best choice and what you offer that your competition can’t match.
3. Tighten your calls to action.
One of the most important things you can do for your website is to use your analytics to find your high-traffic/low-conversion pages. You know that a large number of potential customers are landing on these pages, but for some reason, they’re abandoning before they can convert. Why? Often it’s due to too many distractions on the page, or maybe your calls to action aren’t as compelling as they should be. If it’s a case of the latter, experiment with your calls to action to try and find ones that do better with your audience. Sometimes simply changing the call to action on a page can change the whole tone and make things sound fresher.
4. Reassess keywords.
Two years ago you used keyword research to help you determine how users were searching for your products and which terms you needed to rank for. You then developed content based on those terms. But have you checked back in to see if you’re still on the right path? Are you regularly looking for new opportunities, checking for any terms that may be falling off, or calculating the ROI for going after a specific term? If you haven’t, now is a good time to go through your site and reassess your keyword needs. Just because your customers typically referred to something one way doesn’t mean they’re still searching for it that same way. By tidying up your keywords you ensure you’re attracting the right people and optimizing your search traffic.
5. Freshen up your stats.
Another way to revitalize your content is to go through it and update the statistics you’re referencing to make them more relevant. It’s hard for customers to establish trust in your brand when you’re still talking about how effective your company was five years ago or about the latest in mobile trends from 2002. Make sure you’re constantly reading up on different sources to update your stats as your industry and market matures. If your site is talking about what happened decades ago it’s an unintentional sign that you haven’t done anything since.
The end of one year gives us a chance to tidy things up in preparation for the next. One of the best investments you can make for your website right now is to clean up your content to make sure it’s attracting the right people and properly differentiating your business from your competitors. Give yourself a content audit before the calendar hits 2011 to start things off on the right note.
Take a couple minutes to run through your conversion funnel like you were a customer. Search a keyword on Google and see where you show up and what your SERP listing says. What page does is land on? Is there message match throughout? How clear is the CTA? Are there unnecessary steps in the shopping cart? Are you asking for information that you don’t use and just makes the conversion process longer?
Have a non-techie friend do this and talk you through their thoughts. What you may think is obvious or easy may not be.
The answer to the “stale” issue is surely to keep a genuine passion for one’s business and keep a track on trends in the news and blogosphere – or find a professional blogger who can do so.
Five great points, for which I thank you.
Take a couple minutes to run through your conversion funnel like you were a customer. Search a keyword on Google and see where you show up and what your SERP listing says.
Thanks for the great food for thought. I will do a SWOT analysis in the next few days and plan for next year. My EGO Sole Trader will be move from alpha & beta stage to a fully ready site. I have do write some copy under a few sections of the site and update the calendar for 2011. My goal is to start with a newsletter in mid January. What’s your favorite mailing listing software? I am thinking of testing e.g., MailChimp, ConstantContact, VerticalResponse. I am reading a booklet on e-mail marketing by Apsis at the moment.
I’d also recommend adding a company blog, if you don’t already have one, and integrate it with you website. Sure, it takes some work, but you get a great channel for fresh, consistent content. And, done well, it can really help on the SEO front …