5 Tips for Competitive Content
Sites hold visitors’ attention through design, graphics and the words on the page. The best sites have all three elements. Words are the most critical element to focus on.
When guests arrive on a site, their first questions are: “what service this company provide?” and “Can they help me?”
A site must answer these questions in 3 to 8 seconds or that visitor leaves. And probably never returns.
To be competitive, business owners should focus on 5 specific qualities for the content on their website. The message should be 1) clear, 2) customer-focused, 3) conversion-oriented, 4) competitive and 5) consistent.
Let’s take a look at each of these qualities.
1. Clear — The Most Essential Quality
The home page is the most visited. It should immediately answer the question of what the company does. Just as important… it needs to tell readers who they help.
Your content needs to show the promise of how your service will make their life easier. It needs to offer the customer the big benefit they get by working with you.
The information helps differentiate your competitive advantage — that strength you have, and competitors don’t. This advantage is what you can offer your client that no one else can.
All of this news needs to be shared “above the fold.”
Picture a newspaper in the store waiting on its stand. You only see the top half of the first page.
Think of your website as a newspaper. The most important message needs to be visible without the visitor scrolling down.
Returning guests will forgive some problems, but first-time visitors overlook nothing.
If they aren’t immediately aware that this site will give them something valuable, they’ll leave and never return.
2. Customer Focused – Tell Them What’s in it for Them
When people search the web, they have a specific purpose. Visitors are actively seeking information to accomplish a particular task.
For a competitive website, you must anticipate what readers are trying to do. And then provide them with the information they want.
When users search the internet, they have one of four goals.
They want to 1) research something, 2) compare items, 3) buy something or 4) succeed at something.
Every page on your site should focus on answer one of those four goals. But keep it simple and only focus on one goal.
It’s worth taking a moment here to mention that websites also need to be mobile-friendly and assessable. Web traffic from mobile devices increased by 222% between 2013 and 2019.
Mobile-friendly sites will load quickly and resize to fit mobile device screens.
Many designers focus more on the technical aspect of making pages mobile-friendly. However, the content presentation is also essential. Site content still needs to be easy for a reader to consume.
Google plans to make mobile accessibility one of the top-ranking SEO factors because over half of all internet searches are accomplished through mobile devices. This number is steadily growing too.
Your website should be compatible with accessibility technologies. People who are visually or hearing impaired may need to use your site. Individuals who are paralyzed or missing limbs should also be able to navigate effectively.
Several ways you can make sites more accessible include:
- Using alt tags for pictures. This tag is the text screen readers voice aloud.
- Use formatting that is easy for screen readers to follow as they operate.
- Use high contrast colors and larger fonts.
3. Conversion Oriented – Keep Them Engaged
A college professor once told me that we are seeking to persuade them to something every time we communicate with someone. At the most basic level, we seek affirmation, attention or approval.
In the business world, we seek to grow our businesses.
We build relationships that grow into sales, referrals and repeat customers. It’s the sales funnel.
We find leads and seek to convert them to the next stage in the process.
However, many websites never lead visitors through a journey.
The site provides information, often ineffectively, and leaves a reader to decide what to do next. That usually means they go without taking any other action.
In order to be more competitive, choose one action you want the visitor to take that keeps them engaged with you.
Every suggestion doesn’t need to lead directly to a sale. That strategy would be a critical fail.
Instead, pages should encourage readers to stay and get to know you.
Cultivate the relationship you have with current customers. Give them reasons to come back to you for the next sale – and become your advocate sending you referrals.
The site should show your expertise and credibility. Let prospects know you are trustworthy.
Take the time to build a relationship with your readers. After all, people do business with people. Help your audience know people are running the website. A person cares about helping them.
One last key to being conversion-optimized is having a call to action. Every page should have one.
You may offer a free resource to download, recommend related pages or encourage them to share on social media. If you don’t recommend something, you a losing out on opportunities.
4. Competitive – The Way You Stand Out from the Crowd
Your site needs to gain more effective attention than your competitors. What do their websites look like?
If you are building a local business, do you clearly communicate the geographic area you serve? Your website should show if you have a specific niche; this could be a by industry, service specialty or credential.
The more readers understand how you can help them, the more competitive your site is.
The content on your page should clearly share the promises you make. Highlight the benefit they will get from being your customer.
This statement is your unique value proposition – that trait that sets you apart from your competitors. Well-written content makes this clear.
Using appropriate keywords is a critical part of this strategy. You’ll want to use short keywords (1-2 words) and long-tail key phrases (3-8 words).
Your main pages, topics should be 1 or 2 words. However, other pages, such as FAQs and blogs, should use 3-5-words to identify the page’s focus.
Don’t forget to add a unique title tag. These tags should be 50-60 characters long.
Using the meta description is another tool that helps you stand out. This text is around 100-150 characters describing the purpose of the page. This description is often what search engines use in search results to help people know if it answers their question.
Adding alt tags to pictures is important when your visitors need to use screen readers. The alt tag is what the tool reads to the user. Search engines also use these tags to classify information.
And while it’s not common, you may benefit from adding captions to pictures. This text ensures your audience connects the image to the text. It helps enhance the story your content is telling.
Remember, each page needs to contain enough content to be helpful for visitors. Short webpages rarely answer questions successfully. However, you also don’t want to repeat a lot of information or bore your audience.
Search engine algorithms such as Google use word count to help assess the usefulness of the site. But they’ve also grown more advanced, and old tactics such as keyword stuffing no longer work.
Information like how long visitors spend on a page helps Google identify when the content is helpful. Good content will keep people longer.
However, the analytics also show when a visitor is no longer active. So, you can’t game the system by opening a page and leave it open in a background window.
5. Consistent – Keep it Simple, Keep them Engaged
The look and feel of your website’s pages should be consistent.
All headers should be the same size at each level. Paragraph text size should be standard across the site.
Each page should be formatted the same as all the others, just like sales pages.
Think about the Amazon website. Each product’s information is formatted exactly like the others.
You should have the same sort of consistency.
This pattern makes it easier for page visitors to navigate new pages.
Many web-design programs like WordPress make doing this more manageable. Owners set defaults then formatting stays the same on all pages.
When choosing a font size for your website, remember that HTML uses pixels, not point. The standard font used in school is 12 points. The same size on a website is 16 pixels. Whatever size font you choose, be sure to make it easy on readers’ eyes.
The final consideration for consistency is how the site matches your brand. Coloring and graphics should match your overall scheme. The content on your pages should reflect your personality and company values. This unity makes visitors feel more comfortable.
People are on the website because they are looking for information. It’s not a popular belief, but the words on the page, the quality of content, have more influence on the actions a visitor takes. That’s why content will always be the ruling monarch of digital communication.
Around 380 new websites are created every minute. Over three-quarters of those sites fail to master these 5 qualities. How does yours compare?
If you’re interested in an independent review, reach out and let’s talk. Schedule a free consultation to see if I can help.