So You've Got a Website, Now What Do You Put On It?
So you know that you need a website — good. Maybe you've even set up the site: bought the domain and hosting. But now that it's there, what do you do with it? You put up all main basic pages: About Us, Contact Us, Products/Services, FAQ. Now what? Does it stop there?
Far from it. In fact, if it does stop there your site is not liable to attract interest. A site with little content is little of a site at all, and before you can start marketing and promoting your website and expecting visitors to come and give you their email addresses, clicks or money (it's usually at least one of these) you need to populate your site with content that will interest...no captivate them. Good content not only brings a site search engine visibility but it improves the site's conversion rate. To this end, the creativity and technology website CrossComm posted an article in 2009 by Michael Stalker, a member of the CrossComm staff who specializes in "web development, website usability and SEO" offering 10 great ideas for such content.
As the owner of a website on a particular topic, you are officially an expert on that topic. That emboldens you to write expert reviews on the products sold on your site. Just be sure to post a disclaimer if you ever decide to review products given to you by another source for this purpose. Readers need to trust your credibility and if you're lauding praise onto a product you don't even represent, merely to get the promised link-back from that product's website, you're doing your own site and its visitors a disservice.
Your expertise on your website's topic, Stalker points out, should also extend to current events in your area of expertise. Not just event announcements either, which admittedly are also valuable (and another of Stalker's 10 "fresh ideas"). News happens every day and in every corner of the world. Chances are, something is happening right now in the corner of world your site focuses on, and who better to bring it to your potential visitors' attention than you. Don't be afraid to take a position, as long as it's relevant to your topic and doesn't alienate any of your audience. And remember, you can provide a compelling and even provocative viewpoint without necessarily being controversial.
And getting back to event announcements, for a moment, don't just limit yourself to announcing events put on by your company; provide some service to the community by posting events in your area, be that geographical, topical or otherwise.
Articles offer an endless trove of potential content for your website, if you're willing to dig a little. And the deeper you dig, the more article topics you'll find. Just start with a problem, relevant to your industry, to the products or services you offer, or simply relevant to your target audience; then solve that problem for them. Or write about how others elsewhere are trying to solve that problem. Instructive, how-to articles are also useful for visitors. Write about how to use the products or services you offer, how to get the best value out of them, even how to do other things related to your products, services, topics or market niche.
If your About Us page doesn't include a company history, that's another article topic that can turn into part of your site's main content.
One of the best ways to continually provide new content to your audience is with a blog. A blog allows you to write as much or as little as you want on a particular topic and then post it to the Web. Keep providing interesting content this way and people will start to subscribe to your blog, receiving your posts (or notifications of them) as updates in their emails or online readers. And as part of your website, blogs, unlike newsletters, help your SEO.
There are also a couple of ways Stalker suggests to encourage your users to contribute to your site's content. One way is with a forum in which you and they can start conversations on different topics, forming threads that anyone can read and contribute to. Another way to help users help you generate content for your website is with an expert Question and Answer section of your site. Invite people to write in with questions and answer them for all to see on this page.
Content is still king, even in this age of social media. Think about it: what are people mostly sharing on Facebook? Content. Without it, and enough of it, steadily supplied, your site may simply sink into the morass. But with it, yours can be the site notching up Facebook Likes and Twitter Follows.
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