“If you build it they will come”. This mantra tends to be misunderstood by many online marketers. When it comes to website content, it is crucial to deploy a well thought out the strategy, to use the right platform and the right content distribution channels. BUT that is not enough! If you build it, they won’t come – unless you do a whole lot more.
Once the initial, core content is created, you need a consistent and ongoing content effort. That takes dedication and long term vision, as well as lots of trial and error. Some of the content will strike gold and bring visibility and traffic, while other content efforts will fail to achieve what you hoped for. Anyone who builds it and waits for them to come, will be doing just that. Waiting.
Here are some common website content pitfalls to avoid:
- Me First
Have you ever been on a date with someone who only spoke about themselves? It’s annoying, right? Self-absorbed folks tend not to listen to others or to show interest or empathy to the needs of others. Everyone wants to be heard. When your website messaging is all about you and how great you are, it influences your audience’s perception of you and can reduce trust in your brand.
Instead, focus on your audience, their needs and their interests. If you convey to them that you understand their needs and desires, you are much more likely to win their trust and successfully engage with them.
- Too Much SEO
“Landscaping services, Landscaping services in PA, Landscaping services in Philadelphia, landscaping for your landscaper . . .yada, yada, yada” . . .if your website optimization efforts interrupt the natural, organic flow of your content, you are overdoing it. Not only will your audience find it awkward but chances are that the Google bot will recognize that your site suffers from keyword stuffing and other SEO tricks meant to artificially raise your site ranking. And Google might punish you for that. The best strategy is to consistently develop content with your user’s experience in mind. Resist the temptation to overdo SEO.
- Marketing Clutter
Left brained digital marketers tend to get obsessed with marketing technologies and numbers. “Measure everything” is a good practice, but overdoing it can inhibit content flow and creativity. I was recently in a meeting where the marketing team techie had been A/B testing. He amended the site to such an extent that the UX team member was understandably upset about the site losing its delicate design balance – which was what made the site work in the first place. When it comes to digital content, don’t let the numbers distract you from your creative path.
- The Template
With the successful adoption of open source CMS platforms, such as WordPress, the web is beginning to look like a collection of cloned websites. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. The success of the themes marketplace makes it incredibly easy for marketers to create wonderful, responsive sites. Now it is their job to tweak and to adapt the templates into telling their unique story and to create a memorable experience. This can be a challenge if you are playing it safe and relying heavily on the template defaults.
- Frozen in Time (Inactivity)
No matter how beautiful your website may be, when a user visits your site for the second time and observes that there is no change since his first visit, there is no incentive for him to visit again. A website is not a brochure! It needs to change, to evolve and to be dynamic. Otherwise, the Google bots will not rank you well and users will not be tempted to visit.