Often, we forget people visit websites looking for information. If you are a web usability consulting company, customers need to know how web usability can increase their profit or if you are an e-commerce website, customers need product information before they buy. If you do not provide contents, you will not have any visitors.
Content makes your website stand out
Contents can differentiate your website from the ordinary and boring. If your website is about beers, what differentiates it from other websites talking about beers? Do you provide food recipes using beers? Do you provide calorie information for every beer in your product line?
Contents will keep your visitors coming back at your website. They will tell their families and friends (and friends of friends) about your website; eventually, you will own the best website about beers.
Google, Yahoo, MSN, AskJeeves love content
Have you felt the joy of success after seeing your website ranked #1 in Google? I have and I want to feel it everyday that is why I keep on writing web usability related contents in my weblog.
The process of getting at the top of search results is called search engine optimization or SEO. A lot of websites offer techniques on how to make your contents search engine friendly and these will come handy as you write contents for your website.
However, you should always remember that you are writing first and foremost for your readers and not for Google or Yahoo. You may get a high ranking in search engines but when it’s time for your visitors to read your content they will be the final judge of whether your website is #1.
#1 in the visitors’ mind
Pause for a moment and imagine a visitor. What does she want? What can you write such that when the visitor arrives at your website she says, “This is the right website.”
Being #1 in the mind of your visitors is more important than being #1 in Google. Some of your visitors may be websites owners themselves. As they write contents for their websites, they will reward you with inbound links. Inbound link is the Internet’s version of a recommendation. The more websites recommending you, the higher you go up in search engine ranking.
Even if your visitors are not content producers, word of mouth spreads like wildfire in the Internet. Visitors may still recommend your website using emails, chat rooms, instant messaging, SMS, and the good old reliable telephone conversation.
The biggest roadblock I see in having useful content is that nobody cares about it. When you look at how website teams work, technology and graphic designs play the pivotal role. This has to change and you can start with the following suggestions.
- Rethink your view of the Internet. The Internet is a global network of connected people — not of connected computers. We use the Internet to exchange ideas, tell stories, trade, increase our awareness: activities that we do as a person.
- Put a premium on writing. This does not necessarily mean having a writer on board though it would certainly help. The key thing is to accept that content writing should be given enough quality time and importance in our schedule the same way we consider construction and testing as key steps in software and website development.
- Put technology on the sideline. Are contents valued higher than technology, or the other way around? Success in the online world depends not in using the right technology but in using technology to deliver the right information.