Chapter 3: Your Website and the Importance of Content

 

Everything You Need to Consider When Starting Your Own Website

Chapter 3: Your Website and the Importance of Content

 

Everything You Need to Consider When Starting Your Own Website

Content Development

 

When you come to build the website there is frequently a temptation to dive into the design and technical implementation without sparing a thought for what the site will contain and how visitors will find you.

 

I have personally been involved in projects where the pages of the site have been suggested by the web design company. “Let’s see, we need a homepage, an about us page, a contact page and maybe we can list some of the services on another page.” The business then goes away and hacks out some text for the suggested pages and the site ends up doing very little to promote and benefit business.

 

Certainly, the website designer can advise, but this is critical to the success of the site and, as such, is an area that needs some careful consideration.

Website Guide

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Realistic Goals

There is a tendency to view the Internet as a pathway to riches. That every website is an Amazon or Ebay – set up on a shoestring and has made its teenage owners overnight millionaires. The reality is somewhat different and even these Internet titans took years (and heavy investment) to become the profitable household names that they are today.

 

The reality is that website and email can be used to help your business become more efficient and ultimately more profitable. You can cut costs, better serve your existing customers, generate repeat business, and advertise yourself to a whole new market of prospective clients without the steep costs traditionally associated with the marketing of such scope. These are all sensible and achievable goals and should form the basis of your thinking about your new site.

Realistic Goals

There is a tendency to view the Internet as a pathway to riches. That every website is an Amazon or Ebay – set up on a shoestring and has made its teenage owners overnight millionaires. The reality is somewhat different and even these Internet titans took years (and heavy investment) to become the profitable household names that they are today.

The reality is that website and email can be used to help your business become more efficient and ultimately more profitable. You can cut costs, better serve your existing customers, generate repeat business, and advertise yourself to a whole new market of prospective clients without the steep costs traditionally associated with the marketing of such scope. These are all sensible and achievable goals and should form the basis of your thinking about your new site.

Content Is King

The basic content that we develop for the site needs to meet the following requirements:

 

  • Attract potential customers to the site
  • Allow prospects to compare our offering against that of our competitors
  • Enable the customer to interact with the site and make a transaction

Before any design work can be done, you need to consider the content of the site. If the site is to attract prospects and convince them to get in touch, you are going to have to look at who your existing customers are, how would they search for your services, and what questions can you answer to start building a relationship with them that will ultimately lead to a sale (and for that sale to be the first of much repeat business from this client).

 

For some basic location-based businesses, the content required will be very basic, but where we have more scope considering exactly what content is needed is an essential step.

Key Words:

WCMS /Web Content Management System

A web content management system is a software platform that enables the management and publishing of website content.

 


 

RSS /Real Simple Syndication

RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works— such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardised format. Most web content management systems support RSS which allows site visitors to subscribe to your content and receive a notification in their RSS reader (outlook and many most web browsers support RSS).

Content Is King

The basic content that we develop for the site needs to meet the following requirements:

 

  • Attract potential customers to the site
  • Allow prospects to compare our offering against that of our competitors
  • Enable the customer to interact with the site and make a transaction

Before any design work can be done, you need to consider the content of the site. If the site is to attract prospects and convince them to get in touch, you are going to have to look at who your existing customers are, how would they search for your services, and what questions can you answer to start building a relationship with them that will ultimately lead to a sale (and for that sale to be the first of much repeat business from this client).

 

For some basic location-based businesses, the content required will be very basic, but where we have more scope considering exactly what content is needed is an essential step.

Key Words:

WCMS /Web Content Management System

A web content management system is a software platform that enables the management and publishing of website content.

 


 

RSS /Real Simple Syndication

RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works— such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardised format. Most web content management systems support RSS which allows site visitors to subscribe to your content and receive a notification in their RSS reader (outlook and many most web browsers support RSS).

Attracting Customers

The most basic content will be a list of your products and services, along with the standard contact and ‘about us’ type pages. If you want to generate more interest, you are going to have to look at the needs of your potential customers and provide information that will help them choose your product.

By taking this extra step, you are interacting with your potential customers before they have actively started looking for a web design agency to work with, and you have a unique opportunity to establish your business as an expert in the eyes of this site visitor before any transaction has taken place.

 

This approach will help you generate more enquiries and build relationships with site visitors that will eventually lead to a sale (or a lifetime of sales).

 

There are lots of different angles that this content marketing can take, and whether you utilise a blog, whitepapers, case studies or something else entirely, thinking about how to communicate with your target audience is crucial to the success of the website as a marketing tool.

Example

As an example, a graphic design company could write a page and a full report on how to choose a graphic design agency.

Attracting Customers

The most basic content will be a list of your products and services, along with the standard contact and ‘about us’ type pages. If you want to generate more interest, you are going to have to look at the needs of your potential customers and provide information that will help them choose your product.

 

By taking this extra step, you are interacting with your potential customers before they have actively started looking for a design agency to work with, and you have a unique opportunity to establish your business as an expert in the eyes of this site visitor before any transaction has taken place.

This approach will help you generate more enquiries and build relationships with site visitors that will eventually lead to a sale (or a lifetime of sales).

 

There are lots of different angles that this ‘content marketing’ can take, and whether you utilise a blog, whitepapers, case studies or something else entirely, thinking about how to communicate with your target audience is crucial to the success of the website as a marketing tool.

Example

As an example, a graphic design company could write a page and a full report on how to choose a graphic design agency.

Compare Your Offering

Most site visitors will create a shortlist of companies to contact. At this stage, you need to ensure that your site provides adequate information and examples of your work and unique selling points to ensure the prospect gets in touch.

 

If you compete on price or provide a better service then they will never know that unless the website makes this point. Think about how you would clinch the deal in a sales meeting and ensure to communicate this message on your site. You will need to tailor this to suit your audience.

Example

Lists of features and benefits, case studies, testimonials, price comparisons, service levels & guarantees.

Make The Transaction

Once your site visitor has found your site and compared your offering, they will look to make the transaction. The transaction type will vary from business to business.

Service-Based Store – It may be the initial enquiry where the sales team will take over.

eCommerce Store – It will be a financial transaction.

Whatever the transaction, your site should clearly signpost what the customer should do when they are ready. If someone has to struggle to find your contact form, they won’t try very hard and it will be your competitor that picks up the enquiry.

 

Likewise, this process may have many stages and anything you can do to interact with the prospect and start a relationship prior to this stage will only help. Here whitepapers, ebooks or other helpful content can be the first step towards generating a lead or sale.

Site Map

If you spend some time analysing what content you need for the site you should end up with a list of site pages and possibly how these pages are related to each other. It is then helpful to create a simple site map showing the site’s content and categorisation.

The sitemap shown in figure 3.1. provides a range of different content types, including the individual service pages for the graphic design and printing business areas which will detail and raise awareness of the services offered by the business. The client and portfolio pages establish credibility and assist site visitors. Finally, we have the contact page to allow the prospect to get in touch and make a transaction.

 

This structure provides the basic content needed to attract visitors and convince them to do business with you rather than with your competitors. A website without these elements will fail to generate sufficient traffic and will convert only a tiny amount of site visitors. Only by detailing your services, work, and existing clients do you have a strong chance of winning the enquiry.

 

Additionally, by showing your work, this aids in the selection process and there is a strong chance that the client will already have a feel for what you do and this ensures a relevant and targeted enquiry that will likely lead to a happy and satisfied customer.

Figure 3.1

Site Map for a Graphic Design Company

The above image shows a possible layout for our fictitious graphic design company. It lists the graphic design and printing service categories and how these sections break down into the individual service pages. It also details the client and portfolio pages and shows how these break down to detail individual clients and jobs.

Customer Lifetime Value

It has been said that it costs seven times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to convince an existing customer to buy from you. But still, most websites focus all their efforts on trying to attract new visitors and win new customers.

You should not look at the single transaction value of a customer as the bottom line, rather you should be focusing on developing a long-term relationship where the client makes multiple transactions and becomes more profitable over time.

 

Once you have made an initial sale then you have a happy, satisfied customer. You also have an insight into related products and services that may be of interest to this client. The web, and especially email, provide you with a means to exploit this intelligence and to send highly targeted marketing messages to this customer.

After all, they already know you, they already trust you, they need this product – you are doing them a favour and saving them the painful process of looking around, comparing vendors, and making a new purchase.

 

You know this to be the case in your business but often this crucial step fails to make the leap to the website, so simply consider how you will market to existing customers and what content you need to make this happen.

Advocacy

Have a think, how have you acquired most of your customers? Friends of a friend, friends of customers, customers of customers, colleagues?

Word-of-mouth is and always will be the most powerful form of advertising. As such, one of the most powerful strategies you can employ is to ensure your customers are happy, communicate with them post-sale, and actively stimulate the referral process. Provide them with the tools to promote you or the incentives that they need to become your word-of-mouth promotion.

Quick-Fire Question

Don’t think about it the first answer that comes to mind:

 

What is the best form of advertising?

 

SEO? PPC? Leaflets? Direct mail? Web banners? TV? Radio? – not a chance, word of mouth wins every single time.

Content Summary

It is a cliché but content really is king. Whether we are talking about your sales copy, blog posts, white papers, ebooks, case studies, testimonials or something else entirely, we have to consider what we want to say or our efforts will all be wasted. Ensure you get your messaging perfectly dialled in and consistent from the top down.

For some help here, we really like the book ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek. This will get you thinking about your business in an exciting way and give you the tools to really determine what your purpose is in business and how you can easily communicate this on your website.

 

We are only touching on how powerful and important your website content is here.

Free 30-Minute Consultation

 

Please visit our content marketing blog for more information on how content can benefit your website and business. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions and we will help in any way we can.

 

All of our website packages, from small business websites to redesigns and bespoke builds, include a sitemap and content architecture, plus we have the in-house resources to help you write website content that attracts and converts customers and builds long-lasting relationships with them.

 

We also offer a free 30-minute consultation in which we analyse your requirements and provide you with a strategy to get started.

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