Ahh… Fresh content. People love it, Search engines love it. It’s heady, potent stuff. There are three main categories of content that you’ll want to pay special attention to, if you want your website to perform like the marketing powerhouse that it can be.
- New content for a new website
- Updated content for an existing website
- New posts on your existing website’s blog
Search engines use a website’s content to judge how popular, relevant and well-liked it is. The higher your website’s score, the more often it will be shown to people who are searching for your services.
Let’s explore these categories, and highlight their differences so you can create a solid content creation plan.
Website Design – Content Comes First
Content is the most important part of your website redesign. It’s also one of the more time-consuming aspects.
The ideal approach to your new website project is content-first design. This is where you build the design of your website around your content. Too often people have ideas of the cool functions and neat features they want, and they fill in the content afterwards.
Your content delivers the real value of your website. So all of your design elements must spiral out from your content. What message do you want to deliver? What intentions do you want to share? What is the unique value that you, and you alone, bring to your customers?
Good design will create a good user experience so that people will stay on your site longer and absorb your message.
Set aside enough time & money to actually create content. If writing isn’t your thing, it’s best to outsource this task.
A lot of freelance web designers will have a copywriter they work with as they build your site. Most are happy to collaborate with a copywriter that you hire yourself. Some freelance web designers will even do the content themselves, but that’s generally not a good idea.
Full disclosure: Web design and website copywriting are specialized skill sets, and it’s rare for someone to excel at both. Think of it this way: Fabulous design and yawn-y writing? Bad. Exquisite prose and clunky design? Also bad.
Do yourself a solid: Hire a copywriter.
Existing Website – Content Updates
Content is king, and fresh content can make or break your marketing goals.
Informational websites don’t need constant updates. These types of sites have what is known as “evergreen” content that stays relevant for a while.
If your business provides a service to people, changes in that service will often dictate your updates. When you change your class schedule, add a new team member, or want to advertise a special upcoming event – you should update your website.
Fresh content could be a new page on your website, an update to your list of services or a change in your hours of operation.
Blog Updates – Ongoing Content
Your site will rank better with search engines if you regularly update it. But not just any update.
Write a new blog post when you have something unique to say that is of benefit to the reader. You want to provide reliable, valuable information so that you can be seen as an authority in your field.
Make sure the content is relevant to your audience, unique, and easy to read. Choose the titles of your posts carefully, to match your customers’ interests and/or trending keywords.
Every class you teach, every workshop you host, every event you podcast, every cause your company supports — these are all juicy, delicious, newsy updates just begging to be featured on your blog.
So that’s what to post. Now… how often do you need to add new content?
Update Daily – If your website or blog deals with trending topics like fashion, lifestyle, finance or sports, daily updates are a must,
Update Weekly – If you have a travel, catering or event planning business, or if you’re running a personal blog, a weekly schedule is perfect for you.
Update Every Other Week – If your content can keep up with this pace, think video production or photography services. This also works for class schedule updates if you own a boutique gym or art studio.
Update Monthly – If you are offer SaaS or if you are a B2B provider, monthly updates are enough. Gardening or landscaping businesses can even stretch it out to having seasonal highlights every quarter.
Good Habits to Develop
Create a publishing strategy – Deciding when you should post will help you build your schedule, your action plan and deadlines. If you leave it for “when you have time” you risk blowing it off when the first obstacle comes along.
Think like your readers – Put yourself in their place and ask, “If I were them, would I like to see more of this? Less of that?” Make sure you are writing what they want to see, not just what you find fun or cool. This one can be tough.
Have several posts queued up in advance – Life likes to throw curve balls, and you don’t want your publishing strategy derailed because something came up. I recommend having at least a month’s worth of posts ready ahead of time.