Everyone who owns a e-commerce website hopes that visitors will come to it for purchases. In truth, visitors often sites for their content or ideas. You should never presume that visitors are looking to compare and purchase your product, especially with the importance of blog posts to SEO efforts. If your visitors find crappy content, you can kiss that sale good-bye.
Sadly, there’s more than one kind of crappy content. For some reason, despite spelling checkers, bad spelling runs rampant on the Internet. Bad grammar also shows up far too often. But there is even worse content than bad spelling and bad grammar, and that’s pointless content.
Pointless content, by definition, should not exist. It’s the kind of content that does nothing. It doesn’t inform or entertain your visitors; it reveals nothing about your products or services; it just sits there, taking up space. It may be boring or small hard to read text, and it certainly does not help your visitor to make a choice or convert into a sale. Pointless content is content that wasn’t written with your visitors in mind.
So how can you keep this pointless content from appearing on your website? And if some of your pages do contain such content, how can you improve them? Please note that these are the absolute basics, to be used with your main product and/or service pages. We’re going to get into a lot more depth with SEO, but I think this is a great starting point.
First, let’s consider your headlines… I’m not talking about headings, <H1>, <H2> or any of the content designed for search engines. Instead we are talking about good old fashioned headLINES, optimizing your content for the user. Keep in mind that by taking a user first approach you are future-proofing your business and the genuine traffic you can generate off good content can be far more valuable than keyword stuffing your content for bots, which may one day result in a penalty. Your headlines should be clearly visible with a quick scan and reveal or summarize what the reader will find in that section. For example, if you offer a variety of accounting services, your website might include a page that lists all of these services grouped under appropriate headlines: “Accounting Services for Individuals,” “Accounting Services for Small Business,” etc. It’s a simple example, but your visitors can take in your offerings at a quick glance and know exactly what they’re looking at.
Let’s focus in on one of those headlines – “Accounting Services for Small Businesses,” perhaps. Why does a small business need an accounting service? How will your accounting service help? Answer those questions right away – immediately after the headline. It’s what your visitors really need to know if they’re going to buy your service. If they’re visiting your website, they may already know why they need this service, but hearing it from and the solutions you offer will reassure them that they’ve come to the right place.
This brings me to my next point about your content: you need to create trust and persuade. You won’t be able to do the latter without achieving the former. In our accountancy example, you will probably need to create a high degree of trust, since you’re asking clients to share very sensitive information about their livelihoods – to say nothing of the potential taxation consequences if you mess up! So give your visitors the information they need to trust you – include testimonials, years of experience, other background details, etc.
As you continue to write your content, keep your readers in mind. I think it’s something people struggle with a lot as it’s effectively a one sided conversation. You’re not “big noting” at the pub, so don’t take the opportunity to talk about yourself. Make sure you tell them why they need the service, how it will benefit them, and why they should choose your company to do the job. There’s also a lot of websites out there that indirectly say “Choose us because we need the money.” Everything you write should tell the story from your reader’s perspective. You can and should sell your services, but you may want to do it subtly; let your reader reach the final conclusion.
And now I’m going to contradict that last sentence a little by reminding you to finish with a call to action. It doesn’t have to twist a visitor’s arm off, but it needs to tell them what to do next – to avoid confusion, if nothing else. Something like, “Send an e-mail to example@CPAservices.com today to set up a free consultation, before the tax season rush” could work for our example accounting firm.
Pulling my marketing hat on even tighter, I’m going to remind you to upsell, but only for services that might interest your visitor. Our accounting firm might offer an add-on session that educates your client on reasonable practices to help organize their records for next year. For a small business, it might offer a bookkeeping service. Make sure you integrate these services smoothly with the rest of your content and ensure that they’re appropriate for the type of visitor that’s going to view that content. Don’t ramble on for 1000 words about small business on a page that individuals would also visit, instead have seperate pages and keep your articles between 450 and 850 words.
Up to now, I haven’t even talked about SEO. These are all simply content guidelines. But, don’t let that distract you from these important points! If you’re working in an SEO company, or even if you aren’t, I’d like to emphasize that there needs to be an SEO strategy for each and every page that supports the overall SEO strategy for the entire website! While making sure that all of your content actually works for your visitors is a good first step, you will need an overarching strategy to make everything pay off. Yes, you will still have to focus on keyword research, the structure of your website, promoting your content, adding new content regularly – the whole nine yards. This isn’t easy, but replacing the crappy, pointless content on your website with the kind of information that really serves your visitors is the ideal start. Good luck!