According to a Netcraft survey completed in March of 2012, there are over 644 million active websites globally.
What this means is that the competition for readers is fierce. The pool of likely candidates in any given search is in the millions. At which point, your site will get a few seconds of consideration – as the searcher decides if they want to click on yours or the next one. Then, if the do choose you, you get another few seconds to make an impression before they go back to the original search and try another.
This all happens in a matter of a few minutes. It seems unjust, with all of the heart and soul you put into your business and in creating a website that expresses who you are and what your business represents. It almost feels like a personal rejection.
It’s not. Don’t take it personally. This is the way business is done in a globally connected world. To succeed, you need to speak to your customer’s only – not everyone who does a Google search. Your content must address their unique questions, issues and concerns. It must be presented in a manner that eliminates everyone else form the equation and establishes you as the authority on the subject and the answer to their need. You have to do all of the heavy lifting – think of everything the searcher might look for and have it ready for them when they arrive. To survive, it has to be easy on the client or they will move on in a hurry.
Whether is be a blog or a website, follow these guidelines for creating web content that works as hard as you:
1. Know Your Audience – before your write a single word, know exactly whom you are talking to. Visualize the “ideal” client and clarify their background, needs, demands, challenges and questions as they pertain to your product or service. Then write everything as if you were speaking directly to this person.
2. Keep it Conversational – Everything you write should be with conversational, informative, and friendly tone. Remember, you are the expert, sharing your wisdom with inquiring minds. Write as if your customer is right in front of you, asking your advice regarding their needs.
3. Client Needs Come First – Visitors to your website have come looking for information, knowledge and answers. Your content should be benefit driven from your client’s perspective.
4. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) – Don’t assume that your visitor’s have any particular knowledge of your business or product. Content should use words and phrases that are familiar to your potential customer and avoid industry jargon only you understand. Write one idea per paragraph and give them the answer early – then expand on it.
5. Avoid the Hype – Avoid the use of superlatives (the best, the most effective, etc.) when describing your products and services. This should not be an advertisement. They want to get your input then make a decision for themselves – no pressure, no hard sell.
6. Be Relevant – Everything should have meaning and significance to your reader – they want what they came for and care little about anything else. This is also significant regarding your search engine results. Every month Google bots crawl all known websites – cataloging, filing and organizing key words and phrases. This information is used when a user types in a Google search – these keywords are scanned for relevance and used to serve up the “best” possible results to answer the searchers request. Your content should be communicated in a concise manner, including as many keywords as possibly, yet still written for a reader. Don’t just string together keywords – this might generate a search results but it will gain you no readers.
There seems to be a dual challenge – to be found via an Internet and to engage the reader in hopes of building a relationship. These two outcomes are not at odds with each other – nor are they easily accomplished. Your content tells people who you are and is a tremendous means way to help clients find you and to building a relationship with them. By following these simply guidelines you will be well on your way to building a site that works as hard as you do to grow your business.