Today, there is no shortage of ways to create a website, it's almost like getting fries with your sandwich at your favorite restaurant it just comes on the plate. Everywhere you look there is a free website attached. The problem with that is, what you do with it once you get it. A client said to me once that they built their own site but was stuck on the content. Looking around the web I've seen where a site is made up of several social media widgets with very little original content.
It's like the site owner knew they needed a web presence but didn't know what to do with it or underestimated the time it takes to maintain it. Having a web presence is great but having a good web presence is even better.
Being on the first page or even top of search engine results takes work and is a common goal. It is not a set-it-and-done, one-size-fit-all, I-need-another-saying task. It takes constant tweaking. Heck, even the algorithm gets tweaked from time to time.
Creating content is hard, even for the most prolific writers. The content needs to fit within achievable goals, speak to the organization's truth and draw readers in. Then comes the really hard part - rinse and repeat - again, and again and again.
Don't cringe! I am not specifically talking about your 5 year plan, although it does relate, I mean what is the goal of the piece of content you are creating at that particular moment. Do you want to share information? Promote a special? Gather feedback? Make a sale? For instance, my goal in writing this post is to share my thoughts on creating content based on recent interactions with clients. If there is no goal or it is just to create something because some well-meaning tech person told you that you should, readers won't stick around, the number of visits dwindles, your ranking drops, etcetera, etcetera.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is hard and easy at the same time. It is hard from the perspective that algorithms are tweaked based on treads, statistics, learned behaviors, basically anything can affect it. SEO is easy if you are writing about relevant topics to your target audience. Did you fall off of your chair? Stay with me for a moment (or two) and allow me to explain. I've seen really smart tech people pour over articles and books, attend seminars, webinars and classes to learn about how to conquer SEO only to get frustrated when they don't see the results they'd hoped for. On the other side, I look at/read people like Kat over at This Single Serving Life, who does not study SEO yet has some of the best rankings out there. Kat and I have been friends for many years and sometime partner on projects, so I felt comfortable picking her brain. Questioning her about how she does it, usually has a response that starts with, "I don't know it just happens". After some poking/questioning/pulling teeth, I surmised that basically she writes about her truth in an engaging manner that draws readers in that just happens to have relevant, search engine friendly keywords. Ok, sorta. Kat does make sure that the topic is used and not just alluded to but does not pad with search keywords, SEO, Google ranking, search algorithm friendly sentences just to help her numbers - she writes the story.
I took that brief segue way into tech stuff to make a point. Customers, readers, people in general know when something is genuine. Write something genuine and people will read it. Write something genuine and useful, they may even come back for more. Writing SEO-keyword-laden-non-sensical-tell-me-nothing content is a waste of time theirs and yours.
When working with a client on their web content it is important to me to know their story, how they got started, why they got started and where they want to go. That helps to create/design the canvas for their story. In business school you learn about differentiators. To me your biggest differentiator is your own personal web story. No two will be alike, unless of course you copy another but what why would you want to do that?! If you want to be known as the best in "insert your industry here" tell your story of why you are the best.
This is uniquely your own. It goes back to why you started your business and created your site. Stick to your truth. It is create leverage for future content. For instance, trends/fads come and go. Take a trend/fad in your industry and discuss how it fits/doesn't fit with your organization's truth. If your truth changes, discussed why it changed and how the change will/will not affect clients.
Content generators are great for supplementing your original content. Just make sure to check periodically to ensure the content still matches your web story.
I believe each site should tell a story. With that statement you're probably wondering what my site says. Fair question, let me help you.
The Danico Enterprises site is a work in progress lacking the "under construction" label. It's goal is to provide information to current and future clients on leveraging technology for their events, for their web presence and within their organization as well as creating and maintaining a complementary offline presence. Events / Print / Web / Consulting. Each client is different and so should be, each solution.
Create and maintain a website with your personal web story. Be genuine. Be engaging. Be real.
If writing is not your thing, it is okay to get help. Work with them to tell YOUR story.
Image credit: pixelsaway / 123RF Stock Photo
References to Kat, This Single Serving Life and our SEO discussions, are included with permission and a chuckle