Business Web Site Content Strategy
Your web site content helps you get in search engines, speak to visitors, and ultimately get visitors to buy, contact you, or follow a link. Meanwhile, your content has to be updated at least once a month if you want to get return visitors and search engine traffic. To be successful, you need to have a web content strategy.
Web Content Strategy: Sources of Content
There are four basic ways you can get content for your site:
1. Licensed content that you can publish on your site for a one-time or recurring subscription fee, or in exchange for putting a link to the author's site under the article. The main benefit of this kind of content is that you can build up your site quickly. The drawback is that hundreds if not thousands of other sites will be publishing the same content, which means you will get little search engine traffic from it. Also, within a few years, the subscription fees or the value of visitors who leave via the required link to the author's site will amount to more than you would have paid to have original content professionally written.
2. Original content contributed freely by your visitors, such as message boards and guestbook-style comments. The main advantage of this content is that it costs nothing and gives you insight into your visitors. The disadvantages are (usually) low quality and the constant vigilance needed to police it for misbehavior.
3. Original written content that you allow other sites to republish in exchange for a link to your site. This content is usually informational articles, whitepapers, and sometimes, press releases. Distributing content is an essential component of getting links to your site.
4. Original, well-written content that's exclusive to your site. You should have some content that you hold back from republication, to avoid giving visitors or search engines the idea all your content can be had somewhere else. This can include FAQs, "about us" pages, case studies, testimonials, and other content that other sites would not want to reprint anyway.
What Kind of Content to Use
So, which of the four kinds of content should you use on your site? Ideally, all four. That way you'll maximize the amount of quality content your site can have.
But, the precise ratio of the four kinds of content you end up using will depend on the goals of your site. Some examples:
* Licensed content: If you have a content-based website that draws revenue from advertising, a large amount of licensed content can be useful. However, if your site's primary goal is to collect leads, too much licensed content might risk distracting visitors from contacting you, without the benefit of bringing in significant search engine traffic.
* User-contributed content: A website that handles support issues may have a lot of use for a user forum. A professional services firm would probably be better off without a forum, with all the user-contributed content in the form of testimonials.
* Original written content, exclusive and for distribution: Any website can benefit from original content since it draws search engine traffic and puts your best foot forward with visitors. The broader your potential audience and the greater the competition from other sites, the more content you need.
Scheduling Content Updates
Search engines, especially Google, seem to give pride of place to sites that regularly update their content. Regular content updates also give visitors a reason to return.
In short, if you have thirty web pages worth of content this month, it's better to post one page each day rather than put them up all at once. To make sure you do this, schedule an hour each day for updating your site's content.
One way to get regular content updates for your site is to start a blog, a "web log" in which you write your thoughts and post news. The one disadvantage is that many web users are getting tired of blogs, which are often not well written and contain more opinion than information. Search engines, too, seem to be featuring blogs in their results less often.
Identifying a Content Provider
Ever wonder how Bill Gates keeps the MSN and Microsoft sites so content-rich? Doesn't he get RSI from writing a thousand or more pages a day?
You guessed it: Bill Gates does not write the content for any of the Microsoft websites. Nor should you write all your own content. All successful website owners have someone else write a large part of their content. This person or company is often called a "web content provider" or "website copywriter."
You need to select a web content provider with proven experience writing content for the web, rather than just writing for print. Ask to see writing samples. You might even ask if you can commission just a single page to start with, for evaluation purposes. Also make sure that you are buying all rights to the content.
After all, the most important part of your website content strategy should be quality.
About the Author: Joel Walsh, a professional content writer and founder of UpMarket Content, recommends you check out their site to learn more about what you can get from a web site content provider: http://upmarketcontent.com/website-content [When posting on the web, please hyperlink this text as the anchor text: "web site content provider"]