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Getting your website content-marketing ready
Content marketing will drive people to your website – and you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. So, what do you need to do to get your website ready?
You’ll need to add a blog – a place for the articles to reside. So, before you just ask your developer to add one in, there’s a few things to consider. The best place to start is with a website review – because when you get lots of small tasks done at one time with a developer, it doesn’t take as long and is therefore less harsh on the expenses. Plus, it ensures that when your new visitors arrive at your website, they get to enjoy a smoother journey with your business.
Firstly, step out from under your business owner/manager title. Do a little role playing and imagine yourself as a visitor to your website. When you arrive at the home page, what are the first three things you see? To take the viewer on a journey, there’s a check list of eight, but the top three are in my opinion, are the most important:
- Logo – a tangible representation of your business, is it findable, readable, and good looking?
- Navigation (menu) – sounds obvious, but is it user friendly and if there’s a lot on the site, is there a search?
- Headline – is there a clear description of your business and what you do?
- Call to action – is there something better than ‘call us now’ or ‘email us here’? You want to entice the viewer.
- Social proof – testimonials are a powerful way to stimulate trust and establish your expertise.
- Photos – people are visual, does your imagery provide a way for the viewer to connect?
- Text content – the language of your site matters because it connects – have you used industry jargon?
- Footer – should you reach the end of the page and not find what you’re looking for, how have you helped?
If you prefer, hire an expert to do this for you. The MasterJack online marketing review also includes analysing your Google search results, a speed test (a slow loading website is a killer), mobile responsiveness, social media channels, and provides recommendations on next steps to improve your online presence (click here to book one with us).
Adding a Blog
Once you’ve got a to-do list for your developer, let’s add a blog – or if you already have one, let’s ensure it’s got what’s needed. There are a fair few proven blog templates and it’s really about what works for your business and your viewers (figuring out who your audience is will be in the next article). Let’s start with the structure.
Make it cumulative. Think about what it will look like when there are hundreds of posts within it. You’ll need to include a navigation, by author or topic or product. Can the viewer search by keyword to find what they’re looking for? Do you need page number navigation? Next article / previous article buttons?
Include an index. The ability for the viewer to scroll through quick-summary boxes to find what interests them. Does it need to be visual with an image? Or just headings and summations? Google often uses the content in these boxes for featured snippets in search results – so it’s worth making them look good. But this one brings a new point…
To use images or not? Some businesses will find it hard to include an image for every article and you can end up looking very stock-photo and unreal/fake. The goal is to use real photos, but this is often not achievable, so the best compromise is to take your own photos as often as you can and use stock photos when you can’t. But back to the question – yes, you should use images (I don’t like the word should, but there’s no way around this one). The photo will get pulled from the post everywhere you post the link, and people are visual, so it’s really a no brainer.
Keep the template simple. An image, a heading, an introduction/subheading, the main content, perhaps introduce the author, and of course, a call to action. Ensure your developer makes the design responsive so your articles can be readable on both desktop and mobile. Don’t use fancy fonts or oddly shaped images, that just makes it harder for your developer and reader alike.
Include sharing. Once someone’s read your article and they think of someone who needs to read it, make it as easy as possible for them. Include social media links so they can share on their channels. Consider making these buttons/links ‘sticky’ (they scroll down the page with the reader).
Ability for viewers to comment. This option is quite polarising. If you do provide a way for people to comment on an article, you need to have the admin time to manage responses – including the negative ones. You’ll also need to be ready for spam – ensure your developer reduces that as much as possible (with the use of honeypots and/or CAPTCHAs).
Calls to Action (CTAs). There are the general CTAs such as ‘email us here’, but if you can be different with them, you’ll stand out, such as ‘find out the secret here’. Decide if your brand is happy to have the ones that pop up and cover the content, so the viewer must decide what to do before reading on (can also be polarising if your audience rate these as annoying). These are ‘Lead magnets’ and are usually irresistible offers those users can exchange for specific contact information – a way to grow your newsletter database. An example would be, sign up for our newsletter and go in the draw to win… or let us email you with our latest articles and you can download this free e-book… At the very least, there should be a subscribe to receive your fantastic articles directly to their inbox.
Highlight your authors. A face to a name creates a connection, the more dots you create for the reader to connect, the better. The design could have the author’s by-line at the top, side or bottom and it could link through to their profile to find out more about them and links to other articles they’ve written. (Internal and external links on a post also help SEO).
Related articles. If you’ve found a fan of your articles, help them advance their journey with you. Create something for the reader to do next – these should be related by topic or keywords, not just random. Having them at the bottom of the article can also keep the reader finishing the first one – rather than being distracted throughout or to the side of the article.
Who is your audience? And who do you want them to be? By analysing your clients, you can then strategise your content to attract the clients you like and want (usually the ones who enjoy interacting with your business, leave good testimonials and pay everything on time, repeatedly).
If there are any terms we’ve used in our articles that you are not familiar with, please view our ‘Marketing Jargon Glossary’.
If you would like help with your content marketing, feel free to drop Lisa an email and get the conversation started.