Tag Archives: business content

Do you design your website around your content?

As a web designer do you design your websites around the content your client is going to use to communicate his or her message and make useful information available to its visitors, or do you first create the design and then want the content to fit into that?

If you’re doing the latter, you are not alone, and you’re also denying your client the ability to provide enough information to his or her customers and clients.

No matter what is the business, ultimately it is the content that generates leads and sales. People need to know what you stand for. They need to know what your product or service can deliver. They want to be able to trust you and they can only trust you if they can find the right information on your website.

Sure, when they come to your website for the first time they may get impressed by the design and layout but eventually they will look for the information they need. By merely focusing on the layout you are not going to be able to sell.

So whenever you are designing a website, take into consideration how your layout is going to accommodate the written content, whether it is on the homepage or other pages.

I myself have gone through such experiences. There are many clients – especially those who have purchased a ready-made template – who want me to fit content into the template no matter if on one page they can just have a single paragraph. No harm in having single-paragraph pages by the way, but what if you need to say more? We are not talking about Twitter where you always have to use 140 characters. Sometimes people need to know more. For that you need to publish multiple paragraphs.

This is why, no matter how attractive your design is, unless it is able to scale according to the content you want to publish, it is of no use. Whether you are a web designer or you are purchasing an off-the-shelf template, make sure that the layout accommodates content sections that can expand vertically to accommodate as much content as possible. Don’t use a design that does not accommodate your content well.


Something to keep in mind when it comes to paying your content writer

I am writing this blog post for the benefit of those clients who often wonder why they should pay the amount I’m asking for. In more than 90% cases it doesn’t happen, but I think even if 10% clients have some doubt it makes sense to explain to them, what they are paying for.

What is content writing basically?

Content writing is of many forms but what I provide is a service that should help you build your business and put your best foot forward. I’m not in the business of providing $3-articles to improve your search engine rankings (they rarely do, and even if they do, it is a fluke that sometimes work and most of the times doesn’t).

I help you convey your message in a manner that it convinces your customers and clients to put your trust into your product or service (and into you) and consequently, do business with you. What I provide is a mix of content writing and copywriting. I might not be an excellent writer (I am gradually getting there) but when you want to speak your mind and when you want to make the right impact, I can certainly help you.

My content writing is a mix of content writing and copywriting

The fundamental purpose of copywriting is to help you sell, whether it is your product, your service, or your ideology or idea. Content writing on the other hand educates and informs your present and prospective customers and clients and creates a ripe ground for the business to take place.

So the content on your business website must be a balanced cocktail of content writing and copywriting. This is especially true when I’m writing for your homepage. Think of your home page as your front office if you open a brick and mortar business. You would like it to look its best and you won’t decorate it with cheap stuff. Every item in your front office reeks of professionalism.

Your website is your online office and your homepage is your front office. Although unlike a brick and mortar office, there are as many entrances to your website as there are pages and blog posts under your domain, eventually, sooner or later, people reach your homepage and this is where the most critical impact is made. You need to inform your visitors. You need to educate them as laconically as possible. And then you have to turn them into paying customers and clients.

Just like home page, most of the links appearing in your top most navigation are highly critical and in fact, sometimes they are more important than your homepage (because it is not possible to pack every bit of crucial information into your homepage).

So when you’re paying your content writer who is practically creating an entire business presence for you and you are wondering why you are paying what you’re paying, think about how crucial his or her job is. If you’re getting your content written professionally, it means that you understand that it matters to your business what text there is on your website.

I’m not saying pay your content writer through your nose and pay him or her at the cost of your business infrastructure, but don’t go for as cheap content as possible. Believe me, whether you do business with me or not, this doesn’t work. It might cost you your business if just at the outset you try to save on the most crucial aspect of your online presence – your website content.


Content marketing pain points, and how to go about it

Many people talk about content marketing but very few understand what it exactly means and even the ones who understand it sometimes don’t know where to start and where to go. In order to benefit from content marketing you need to first of all understand what it means.

What is content marketing?

It is not marketing per se: you are not running an advertising campaign and it is not a media blitz. Content marketing is not an event, it is an activity stretched over a long period of time. Content marketing constitutes of the following core functions:

  • Generating and publishing high-quality content that informs and engages your audience
  • Spreading your content using various online channels (search engines, blogs, e-mail newsletters and social media profiles)
  • Generating new content based on the requirement of your audience

And the cycle continues if you function in a highly competitive business environment.

The main purpose of content marketing is keeping your customers and clients informed and educated in an engaging manner. It is not a one-way communication channel: you continuously obtain feedback from your audience and produce new content accordingly. Add entertainment to information and you have got yourself a winner. Take for instance the Will It Blend campaign where a person tries to blend everything he can get hold on. This campaign single-handedly has helped Blendtec increase its profits by a whopping 700%. This is not just an exception. There are many businesses that are leveraging content marketing to revolutionize their bottom lines.

Content marketing channels

You can use the following content marketing channels to publish and spread your content:

  • Blogs
  • Article directories
  • Social media and social networking tools (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.)
  • E-mail newsletters
  • Online forums
  • Your own website
  • E-books
  • White papers
  • Webcasts
  • Video series

You don’t necessarily have to focus on all the channels mentioned above; you can stick to 3-4 channels and create a compelling presence over there. For instance your company’s business blog coupled with Twitter and Facebook profiles can give a big boost to your content marketing efforts.

Where to start content marketing?

In content marketing too it is all about demand and supply, like any other product or service. Your customers and clients are looking for something and you provide it to them. Make it something that is not easily available. They will value your content if it is highly useful and if it is not easily found elsewhere. Quality and relevance is of great importance.

Before extending your content marketing reach to different channels thoroughly analyze your website and see what sort of content it has. Does it properly inform your customers and clients? Does it make them want to do business with you? Is it simply marketing hype or you really reach out to your customers and clients?

After you have made sure that content on your business website is up to the mark you can start spreading your content over your business blog, Twitter and Facebook profiles and other online channels. You can create content in any form suitable to your particular business needs. Some prefer text, some videos, some images and some a balanced mixture of all of these. It depends on your comfort level and your audience.

Don’t let content creation intimidate you. Taking an example from highly successful content marketing campaigns can seem a bit formidable so draw your own plan. Clearly define your audience and start creating content accordingly. You can start publishing small articles explaining various aspects of your product or service. A good start would be a comprehensive FAQs section. If you already have it perhaps you would like to expand it further.

Then you can create small blog posts dealing with various issues. Suppose there is a problem your customers or clients are facing constantly and they are talking about it on Twitter and Facebook. Aside from addressing the issue on individual channels you can also create blog posts on your own business blog and explain in detail how you plan to address the problem. This will instantly hit a chord with your customers and clients and they will be encouraged to reach out to you.

After creating blog posts you can post the links on your social media profiles. You can invite feedback from fans and followers and create further content based on that.

I hadn’t intended to create a very long blog post so I will stop here. In my next blog post I will try to write about how to create a content marketing strategy specifically focused on your business and your audience.


Your content helps you attract the right people to your website

The greatest challenge people face while doing business online is getting the right people to their websites. But what do we mean by “right people”? They are the people who would like to do business with you. What sort of people would I like to get to my website? People who would like to hire me to avail my content writing services.

Once you get to it it isn’t as easy as it seems especially when billions of people are constantly going through millions of web pages processing millions of terabytes of information. For instance, how do I make sure that people who are looking for a content writer can easily find me when they need me? Since there might be thousands of content writers doing business on the Internet how do I make sure I get ample amount of exposure and consequently, attention.

And even if I get the sufficient amount of attention how do I make sure that the right people are getting attracted? I can do it by creating a noticeable presence on the Internet. My content helps me do that.

You can publish your content on your own website/blog, on other websites/blogs, online forums and social media and networking websites. It gives you the needed visibility. Of course your content has to be about the product or service you offer. It is no use writing about scooters if you’re selling cars. And even if you’re selling cars it is no use talking about Mercedes-Benz if you’re selling Ferraris.

What sort of content you want on your website/blog in order to attract your prospective customers and clients? It depends on what sort of traffic you are trying to attract. Search engines, for instance, are looking for lots of informative content and consequently they rank higher content that teaches rather than the one that sells, especially Google. But it doesn’t mean it indexes and ranks only content that teaches: it just prefers it.

In order to attract right people from search engines you have to focus on keywords and search terms that help people find you for the exact service or product they are looking for. I would like to be found for “content writing services”, “freelance writer”, “website content writer” and such terms. Since I am continuously writing content on how to write content better or how to improve your business through content marketing and content strategy it may seem like I’m trying to attract an audience that is more interested in “learning” and less interested in doing business with me. This happened when I was offering web design services back in 2002: instead of attracting clients looking for a web designer my website was majorly attracting people who wanted to learn web designing and web related programming. When I started my content writing business and again started generating content for this website I made sure that I didn’t repeat the mistake. Although even now a majority of my traffic constitutes of people trying to figure out things and exploring career options I get sufficient number of business queries due to the content I continuously publish here.

The basic idea behind generating content to attract the right people to your website is getting lots of people for the right keywords. I may be getting lots of traffic for “website content writer” and 60% of that traffic may be those people who are simply trying to explore the field (want to try out this “content writing thing”) or researching for their own articles, 40% still are looking for someone to write content for them. In my specific case I have concluded that it is difficult to change this ratio and the only thing for me to do is increase the numbers so that this 40% becomes a bigger number.

While generating content for your website/blog (on your own or by hiring content writer) try to cover as many keywords as possible. Generate your business pages using those keywords first of all. If you’re providing content writing services then generate sufficient number of pages explaining that you actually provide this service. Once you run out of such pages don’t keep repeating them. From then onwards you can start creating instructional content. You may attract people who are trying to “learn things” but the brighter side is you will be covering all your major keywords and their various short and long combinations. Keep your focus on the relevant keywords and keep publishing all sort of content around them. Just make sure that your primary/business pages are visible from every possible page on your website/blog.


Why cheap content mostly harms your business

Just stumbled upon this blog post titled “pay peanuts, get monkeys” that basically means if you publish cheap content on your business website your conversion rate falls down drastically.

I would like to state at the outset that I offer very low-cost content from my website sometimes and I outsource this work to writers who can produce lots of “passable” content at extremely low rates. I would also like to tell you that I started providing low-cost content after having provided content writing services at normal international rates for more than 4 years (I still do) primarily because of 2 reasons:

  • There is high demand for cheap content
  • Writers are actually willing to provide such content

So I thought if there is a demand and if there is a supply and if I can earn money out of it then why not? I started offering a “package” and I also got some clients and some steady work for my writers. I mostly provide this content for SEO boost — it helps my clients increase their keyword density. But it stops there.

The problem comes when some of the clients want very cheap content and then want to use this content as their primary content and when the quality doesn’t meet their expectations they complain. It’s like, desiring to drive a car while paying for a cheap bicycle. This is exactly where the expression “pay peanuts, get monkeys” applies.

Cheap content isn’t always bad and surprisingly there are a few writers who really write well without charging much. How do they do that? When I asked around for most of them writing is just a side activity carried out either during office hours or after office hours. They have the skill but they don’t have the expertise and providing professional content writing and online copywriting service is not their primary activity. This means they neither invest in resources nor in improving their skills. They are simply comfortable with the language, they can quickly search on the Internet and find the relevant information and then rewrite it very fast. Nothing is unique and individual voice is always lacking. This is where the clients pay the casualty.

Whereas cheap content written around your keywords can certainly give you an SEO boost it doesn’t help you when it actually comes to selling. You may increase your search engine traffic but it will just remain traffic; you’re going to generate very little revenue. This is because you are inferior content is never going to convince them into doing business with you. Your content needs to inculcate a sense of trust and authority. If you sound like a teenager it isn’t going to do you much good if your target market mostly consists of grown-ups who are very conscious about making purchase-decisions.

Content writing is like any other service: it takes effort and experience to give you content that gets you business. There is a reason why bigger businesses eagerly pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars to experienced copywriters and content writers; they perfectly know what harm cheap content can cause.

But I hear some of you saying, “What makes you think that people who charge less cannot provide quality content?”

I have a Chinese Blackberry phone that almost looks like the real thing. So if you can purchase really cheap versions of a Blackberry or an iPhone, why do you spend so much money on the real devices? Well, this may seem rhetorical so let us see the practical aspect.

Let us say a content writer agrees to charge you just $5 for a business webpage — a professional content writer may charge you anywhere between $40-$100 for the same webpage, and I’m not talking about a well-known and reputed content writer or copywriter. How much time do you want your content writer to spend on your particular webpage? One hour? Two hours? Keep in mind that your business depends on this page and that is why you are getting it written. When people read it they will make their purchase decision. So you would like your content writer to spend ample amount of time while preparing your page. You would want him or her to properly understand your business and your market and you would also want him or her to visit your competitors’ websites to check out how they express themselves. To sound convincing you would want your content writer to properly understand your concept and its impact on the target audience. After all this you would want him or her to come up with convincing copy.

Do you actually want someone working on your business page who is desperate enough to provide a skill for just $5 per hour or worse $2.5 per hour? How much time can that person actually devote to your content? He or she will certainly devise ways to make up for the meager payment.

On the other hand if you pay standard rates (rates that enable your content writer to make contemporary income per hour) then you make sure that your content writer eagerly spends sufficient time on your project without having to worry about how to make up. He or she doesn’t have to come up with “n” number of words in the given time. He or she can actually focus on the quality of your content.

So what is the solution if you don’t have a big budget? Quality always works better than quantity. Well-written 10 articles are far better than poorly-written 100 articles. The same goes for your Web pages. If you don’t have budget for 20 pages just stick to 10 pages but get some writer who can really write them well.

And what if you also need SEO content? Then you need to strike up a balance. You can publish low-quality content in as much quantity as possible but also make provisions for well-written content that actually does business for you. You need to balance between content that generates you search engine traffic and content that converts that traffic into paying customers and clients.