Now you have your website running, you reached an important milestone and probably you think that after all that effort is the time to relax and wait for visitants and orders. Well not quite yet…the true is that unless you are prepared for Internet Marketing Campaign, It will never happen.
I found this is one of the most erroneous conceptions of website owners who complain that they are not making any profit of their website. My response involves an analogy to the tangible world. In the real life you set your business in a street and if the location is right and the front is attractive and inviting, all the people who circulate in the street will notice you and some of them will go in, once they enter your territory, it is up to you to make that sale or to make them regulars.
In virtual life is almost the same, the big difference though is you are not in a particular street, you are in a point where millions of stores around the world are competing for millions of customers, a wild fight where just the fit will survive. But having many options how a potential unknown customer will “get into your store”?
Lets answer that question imagining how we interact online. As we do in real life with stores, we go to websites based in recommendation, clever advertising or searching for who has the product or service we are looking for. We “run” that search using a search engine, our own virtual assistant who will find the options for us; then we’ll check a couple of the results, and if there’s too many options, we won’t see usually more than two or three pages. Search engine results are important.
Lets put aside advertising or recommendations por another post and focus on search engines. Having that many competitors, how can I get the chance to be ranked by a search engine? Search engines are robots that use specific criteria, and although they are not the same for all the different engines, all check the type and amount of content provided, the level of optimization done on the site, and the popularity of the website. Improving your chances of listing is well-known as search engine optimization or SEO.
Lets focus on the first part: Type and amount of content provided, or web content. Marketing experts point to the importance of web content just with one phrase: “Content is the king”. Even if you run marketing campaigns, develop viral tools and attractive affiliate programs, your efforts can be trashed and temporal if you don’t entertain, retain and attract your audience more than anything else.
But how I can create content for my website? The first thing you will need is discipline, I will explain: In any publication there is always a schedule, an expected time when content is published regularity and that is very important for create loyalty and expectancy. For example, magazines are published monthly in a strict schedule. Virtual world is the same; to make people come back to your place, you need to publish content regularly. You have to stick to a schedule, and that requires discipline. Successful writers develop a regular writing schedule; they not wait for inspiration. Wether they feel it or not they just sit and write. Regular updating gives you and edge over the competition, if people like your stuff they come back for more, some people even subscribe to your post and you are starting to have a demanding audience!
There are some considerations for creating relevant content, first as an any publication you need to know your audience. Consider this: newspapers and magazine expend thousands of dollars creating focus groups trying to determine the content that please their targeted group. You need the same approach and if you know what your audience wants, then you are a big step ahead of your competence.
First you will need to plan of how to provide that content. Second, think about the ways you will use to provide that content utilizing your resources: articles, stories, photos, videos. Third define a clear strategy for uploading all that information and be honest and realistic about it. Ask yourself some questions: Do you have good writing skills that explain easy and in a way that readers enjoy what they reading? Can you provide photos or videos? Do you have expertise about it? Do you keep up to date with latest information? And the most important, do you have the time?
For small business where mostly the owner or a handful of people run the show this is really difficult, it seems a time-consuming task. A non ending task day after day, week after week. Can you do it? The good news. Yes you can…if you delegate.
One way is to hire a content provider who will do the work for you. There are three options: get a freelance author, create a job or hire a company. A full or part-time specialized writer is the most expensive option, but still cheaper than trying to acquire the skills by yourself. A freelance author will work by contract and will submit articles on a pay per word/article basis. A company specialized in content will take over and place the content for you.
The last option has the advantage that usually will provide other service additions such as search engine optimization and social media integration. They usually charge in a post per month basis based in a contract and some of them offer also videos and graphic content for additional charge or as part of the contract.
A good content provider will offer you good writing, originality and punctuality. Good writing is just necessary, without it, you can’t be successful and I am not talking about typos and grammatical errors in online content. As the says goes: If you need to have something to say and you need to say it well.
Originality makes your website exclusive, and place you ahead in the search engines, on the contrary when there is a copy of the same article in different websites, search engines ‘punish’ you lowering your ranking. This doesn’t mean that every topic has to be original just the content of every page on your website must be original. The best way to make sure your content about to be published is original is to run it through the online service called Copyscape. For a five cents fee, copyscape will check in the web if your content is stolen from another website. Punctuality refers to all the work ethics, the content provider must comply with the agreement in time and quality promised.
Web publishing may changed the way we live in the present but not the essence, and today, with that bombarding amount of information, is more important than ever to offer quality in the information of our web pages.