Any successful entrepreneur knows that website content creation is one of the most effective marketing strategies of the 21st century.
Regardless of the type of online business you run, increased online visibility leads to a broader audience, i.e., potential clients. The days of the bulky, paper Yellow Pages are a thing of the past – long live the digital age.
But how do you make sure your content has the desired effect on your target demographic? Well, that's what we’ll explain today. The following article includes an overview of the essential elements of high-quality website content creation.
Know Your Purpose
Before you dive into the world of online content creation, you need to have a clear vision of why you’re doing it. After all, a prerequisite for creating compelling content is setting a clear goal, whether you’re writing a YA novel or running a tech blog.
You need to determine the purpose of your website. Are you trying to attract new clients or simply want to boost the traffic on your page? Depending on your answer, your content creation strategy can vary.
Make sure you pick a niche that can help you fulfill your goal. If the endgame is to assert yourself as an industry expert, write about topical issues within your profession.
Find Your Target (Audience)
After figuring out the what, it’s time to determine the who. Consider the target audience – your potential reader or buyer character.
Define what content would be most beneficial to your ideal reader. Think about how you can inspire them to appreciate your particular brand of products or services. For example, you may need to teach your reader about the benefits of hiring a marketing coach, web designer, or IT specialist.
Knowing where to direct your sales and marketing activities requires creating a target demographic. This will assist you in determining who the potential client is and what they value.
Try visualizing who your ideal reader is and what they’re looking for in a website. Are they interested in advice on how to expand their company and generate more revenue? Or would they rather find a way to work fewer hours while still earning enough profit? You must first consider what moves, motivates, and inspires your ideal reader and frame your content around that idea.
Study the Competition
As the old saying goes, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Okay, the word ‘enemy’ might be too strong, but the point remains: always keep an eye on your rivals. If a long-term online business is marketing a product or service similar to yours, you can learn a great deal from their content strategy.
The chances are the company has a good understanding of the target demographic. Take a look at their social media pages and note the type of users who usually interact with the content. Casual research can help you determine what topics rank well with the average reader without taking up too much of your time.
Once you cherry-pick a few content ideas, ask yourself if it’s possible to include a similar article on your website. It might seem a little like cheating, but it’s a certified way to generate more traffic.
Combining the new information with the data you already have can inspire you to tap into a market you probably wouldn’t consider otherwise. Besides, it’s a standard practice between content marketers. With billions of active websites, there’s no such thing as a one-of-a-kind blog post.
Conversely, try to spot your competitors’ Achilles heel to capitalize on their shortcomings or things they missed. If you find a better way to respond to the clients’ needs, why not double down on it? Weaponized your content to advertise the unique service your online business rivals might be lacking.
Keep It Simple
Refrain from flamboyant writing and wordy sentences. It’s the internet – no one wants to spend 35 minutes reading a dissertation on the best gardening tools. The average site user needs concise, accurate information written straightforwardly. Instead of going full Tolstoy, try using the following techniques to achieve optimal readability:
Keep it Simple
Declarative sentences are often the most effective. Instead of flaunting your eloquence, the goal is to make your content speak for itself. Usually, when people go online, they're looking for concrete information. Your web copy should provide the answers in the most obvious manner while remaining interesting.
Keep it Short
Sentences of 25 words or less are optimal due to the limited attention span of today's readers. It’s a proven fact that easy-to-read blog posts attract a larger audience. You want your content to be accessible to people from all walks of life, regardless of their age, education, or professional background.
The internet is for everybody, not just experts. Make sure people from outside the niche can digest your content. For example, don’t assume your reader knows what a random acronym stands for – spell it out instead. Also, avoid using any insider lingo.
Explain terms that may be difficult to understand or are specific to a particular field. Ideally, provide hyperlinks to other articles (including your own) where readers can learn more about a specific subject.
Use Nouns and Verbs
Your sentence structure should revolve around the subject and the action word. There’s no need to go into too much detail – just tell us the who, what, and how.
Limit the Use of Modifiers
One of the most common mistakes content writers make is piling up adverbs and adjectives. It creates unnecessary clutter and leads to convoluted writing. You don’t want your article to be repetitive.
Every sentence should provide fresh insight or new information. While puns and quotes are fun, they don’t add much to the content overall.
Test the Readability
You can use different online tools to check whether the text reads well. Most grammar checkers have the feature, but we suggest using the Readability Calculator or other similar software. Also, MS Word has a built-in tool for optimizing readability.
Emphasize Important Information
When it comes to website content, you want to explain your point of view right away. The most valuable information for site users should also be the first thing they see. Ideally, you can include a summary at the top of the page along with a brief ‘about me’ section.
Make a statement that lets your audience know who you are, what services you offer, and how they will benefit from reading your article.
This type of layout is known as ‘the inverted pyramid’ and is commonly used by journalists. The most crucial material always comes first, followed by facts and additional information. Think about it – you can usually grasp the big picture just by reading the first paragraph of a newspaper article. The same rule should apply to your website. First and foremost, the clients deserve to see the whole picture.
Make Sure the Layout Is Scannable
The average user should be able to skim through your article or blog content with ease. You don't want your audience to give up halfway through the post because the layout is too dense.
Instead, try formatting the text so that all essential details are emphasized. That way, potential clients can quickly scan the text and maybe even check out the rest of the website for more info.
Here are a few pointers on how to make your text more readable:
- Apply bulleted or numerical lists and avoid text-heavy paragraphs. Organize your material into labeled tabs rather than one big chunk of plain text
- Include ‘white space’ wherever possible. This refers to the blank space on the web page between the paragraphs, media files, and other elements. Though it may seem counterintuitive, empty space is a web designer's best friend. It makes the text more legible because there’s no surrounding cluster of elements
- Use headings and sub-headings. You can also divide the post into different sections with descriptive headers and sub-headers. Not only will it help your readers navigate the content, but it will assist search engines in finding your material
Tell Your Audience What to Do
If you want to encourage users to interact with the content, your website should include a clear call-to-action (CTA for short). And what kind of action is that?
Well, whatever’s relevant to the particular type of content. It can be anything from leaving comments to signing up for a membership. Usually, the CTA is placed at the end of each article, but nothing’s stopping you from using them throughout the entire page.
Remember to keep your CTAs short and sweet. Use action verbs like ‘Download,’ ‘Share,’ ‘Sign Up,’ ‘Comment Below,’ ‘Learn More,’ or ‘Watch.’ And, of course, don’t forget to provide a link that allows your readers to complete said action.
In the end, every marketing campaign aims to increase the number of purchases. CTAs guide the site user and inspire them to enlist your services or buy your product. That’s why you should use assertive language and feel free to tell your audience what to do.
Be Thorough With Your Edits
Editing doesn’t just mean correcting grammatical and spelling errors. It’s a crucial stage in the content creation process that ensures a satisfactory result.
Once the writing portion is complete, you need to examine the overall flow and check for any discrepancies. A poorly written text can cost you your credibility and influence the website’s search engine ranking. No one will bother deciphering a poorly edited post, so you need to be thorough.
- Make sure the capitalization and spelling are consistent. To counter consumer objections, use non-sugary testimonials. Don't just put your testimonials on a separate tab; include them on your ‘Home’ page, ‘About’ page, and product pages as well
- Make it a goal to cut the word count in half
- Simplify the message, eliminate repetitive clauses, and eliminate unnecessary words, so the meaning is conveyed in the fewest possible words
- Exclamation marks are a hallmark of a sloppy copywriter or a sleazy salesman, so get rid of them
- It's best to avoid using the passive voice because it sounds too corporate
If you can’t afford the services of a professional editor yet, there are other options. You can always use an online grammar checker for proofreading and editorial assistance. Most platforms offer a free trial period, but a monthly subscription pays off in the long run. We suggest the following tools:
Remember – A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Think of your website content and design as two peas in a pod. No matter how enticing your article is, no one will read it if it doesn’t look good on your page. The content format has to fit with the overall aesthetic.
Humans are visual beings, and you need to take that into account when creating your website. If a simple picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what incorporating infographics or video content can do. Most people interpret visual information much faster than plain text. For example, an easy-to-understand graph can clarify a technical subject better than text alone.
You might not think it, but the overall readability of your text is also heavily influenced by the visual appeal. Images are a great way to break up the text on your website, making it easier to read. For a more elegant layout, try including at least one picture per page.
If your goal is to generate more traffic, it's better to do keyword analysis before you start writing. This allows you to concentrate on words and phrases with high search volume and plan your content accordingly. In other words, you’ll be able to recognize the most popular topics that reach a broad audience.
There’s a wide range of online tools you can use for finding relevant keywords. To name a few:
Once you've finished writing, look through the web copy and make sure the top keyword placement is optimal. For example, a keyword density of 1-2% usually leads to a higher ranking. That way, search engines can analyze the information quicker and recognize your website as a top search result. Ironically, overusing the same term can hurt your ranking, so keep that in mind as well.
Use the keyword not only in the main body copy but also in the following SEO content elements:
- Description of the tab (the headline that’s visible on the page)
- At least one subheading (for content that’s formatted with H2, H3, H4, etc.)
- Tag for the title (the 50-60-character page title embedded in the code of the page)
- Meta Description (the 150-160-character summary embedded in the code of the website)
- Alt-tags for images (the text that describes an image and appears if it doesn't load properly)
So what’s the most SEO-friendly piece of content you can include on your website? Blog posts are one of the simplest ways to generate a steady stream of traffic. They’re incredibly adaptable, so you can include all kinds of SEO elements, not just keywords.
Blogs are also more entertaining and thus more likely to reel in potential customers. They can be a perfect weapon to establish the site's authority in a particular niche if implemented wisely.
How to Generate Content Ideas?
Coming up with great content ideas is the cornerstone of success. Not even the most successful content strategist can spin a lackluster project. As a content creator, you need to keep your finger on the audience’s pulse and generate titles that pique people’s interest.
But how do you consistently produce original content that also speaks to your target demographic? After a while, the inspiration's bound to run dry can derail the entire distribution process.
Luckily, there are plenty of online resources you can turn to for exciting content ideas. Generating tools are an essential part of every marketing strategy since they provide valuable data about consumer behavior. If you hit a wall, try using any of the following tools to jump-start the creative process:
Answer the Public
The Answer the Public keyword tool incorporates search engine suggestions and visualizes the results in a so-called search cloud image. It summarizes the most frequently asked questions and categorizes them into sections such as where, when, what, and why. You can also cross-reference the results with Keyword Planner or a different SEO tool and use the findings to construct the framework for your content.
HubSpot Blog Topic Generator
This is a simple and intuitive tool, perfect for coming up with blog post ideas. All you have to do is submit three different but related nouns (e.g., design, home, decorating) and press the button. The Blog Topic Generator will then provide you with five ideas for a genuinely entertaining blog.
The key to a successful content strategy is capitalizing on the most popular trends and crazes. And there's no better tool for that than BuzzSumo. It lists the most engaging content, highlights high-traffic keywords, and generates reports based on online discussion groups and the most common user queries. If you’re looking to spice things up with the latest pop culture fads, make sure to try it.
Of course, the most reliable resource is audience feedback. Don't be afraid to reach out to your readers and ask what type of content they'd like to see in the future.
You can survey with SurveyMonkey or Google Forms and get your content idea straight from the ones who matter – your audience. An even better option is to create a poll on your Facebook or Instagram page and offer multiple choices.
What is the Cost of Creating Content?
The costs of content development are determined mainly by the size and structure of your staff. So, let's take a look at the three most common content management models and go over the average costs for each one.
It makes sense to hire a full-time content manager or a small content creator staff for your brand, particularly if you already have a marketing department. Your in-house team should consist of a content management officer, an editorial planner, content writers/creators, and, preferably, a content distributor.
The system works well if you need to coordinate your content marketing program with other marketing activities. It's also super convenient to have full-time content marketing employees who can, in turn, hire freelancers or work with a content marketing partner.
With a full-time staff, you pay the content creators an annual salary to generate different content throughout the Financial Year.
A content creator can earn anywhere from $32,00 to $80,000 per year, depending on their specialization, skill level, and experience. Discuss the salary upfront so that both parties know where they stand, and you’ll make sure they'll fit your budget plan.
Freelancers are estimated to comprise more than half of the United States workforce. There are dozens of successful companies that exclusively hire freelance content creators.
It’s definitely one of the more flexible content management models. Their flexible schedule enables them to produce high-quality content for different projects. They also tend to have a more versatile skillset, making it hard to put them in a fixed price range.
Writers, videographers, audio specialists, and artists who work freelance set their prices based on their level of experience, skill, and project scope. Most commonly, they charge by the hour, but more experienced creators sometimes demand a flat fee.
At the end of the process, hiring a freelancer can cost you between $50 and $3,000. But the total sum should include edits, input, rewrites, final touches, and other stages. It’s best to appoint someone on your staff to handle the hiring process and manage the employee.
If you're looking for a completely hands-off approach, you might be better off going with a content writing agency like Human Proof Designs who can handle all the keyword research, content writing, editing, and uploading the content.
Content Marketing Partners
It can come in handy to have a squad of content creation professionals dedicated to the brand's needs. Content marketing partners work best when you want to save your resources and avoid hiring freelancers on particular projects.
Hiring a content marketing partner differs from the first two models. Their services include finding content creators in your stead, handling content management (including several levels of editing, fact-checking, proofing, etc.), and delivering the finished product.
A content marketing firm's production costs can vary from $3,000 to $10,000 per month, depending on the quality and frequency of the content being created.
How to Develop a Content Strategy for a Website?
With many customers distrusting conventional ads, content marketing has emerged as the preferred strategy for digital content creation. Much like other online business strategies, the effectiveness is reliant on a well-documented content plan. While we’ve already gone over a few of these steps, let’s reiterate:
1. Set Your Goals
What are your reasons for creating a content marketing strategy? What motivates you to build content and develop a content marketing strategy? You'll have an easier time deciding the best course of action if you have your priorities in order.
2. Determine the Target Audience
You want to create content that speaks directly to your target demographic and guides them through the buying process. This is particularly important for those of you who are just putting your foot forward in the industry. Knowing your audience will help you create more exciting and informative content that will, in turn, lead to more potential buyers.
3. Use Search Engine Optimization
To ensure a high ranking, you should thoroughly review the keywords and phrases relevant to your target audience. A solid content strategy includes or at least should include Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Without it, your audience will be limited to former customers and an occasional wandering surfer.
4. Choose the Right Channel for Content Distribution
Both managed properties (such as websites and blogs) and popular social media properties (such as Facebook and Instagram) are viable choices. Allowing yourself to be swept away by the almost infinite number of promotional platforms is a bad idea. You should instead concentrate your efforts on a limited number of channels. By hyper-focusing your resources, your brand is more likely to reach the audience who’s willing to buy what you’re selling.
5. Create an Editorial Calendar and Stick to it
An editorial calendar is a visual workflow that helps a group of content creators outline their work schedule. It can be updated on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Editorial calendars are the best way to keep track of advertising platforms, writers’ success rates, and, most notably, publication dates.
6. Look at the Competition
Since your rivals' products or services are likely similar, your future buyers will want to know what makes your online business superior — or at least different. This is where the value of content comes into play. Don’t shy away from blowing your own horn and using website content creation to distinguish yourself from the competition.
Will Plagiarized Content for My Website Hurt My SEO?
One of the most misunderstood concepts in the SEO culture is the idea of duplicate material. There’s a lot of vagueness about what constitutes duplicate content, especially how damaging it can be to a website.
Duplicate content, according to Google, refers to substantial chunks of content that’s either very similar to or somewhat equivalent to other web content.
While it may not be illegal, it may still affect your search engine rankings. When many pieces of content are slightly similar, search engines have a hard time determining which version is the most reliable. As a result, the oldest entry gets the highest ranking, so if your article was published recently, it'd likely be outranked.
Plagiarizing copyrighted content, on the other hand, may lead to legal action. No company wants to be accused of copyright infringement, so tread lightly.
It’s best to ensure the content you're producing is original or, at the very least, similar but not contain exact phrases. You can use a wide range of online tools such as Copyscape to detect plagiarism and edit accordingly.
What is the Best Way to Hire a Content Writer for My Website?
Lastly, one of the key players in every content marketing team is the writer. You have to make sure you hire the right person for the job since they’ll be the ones putting your ideas into reality. Here’s a list of things you should take into account when searching for content writers.
- Review their portfolio. Take the time to go through their previous work. It’s the best way to see if their tone, style, and viewpoint align with your particular brand.
- Check the references. When recruiting employees, make sure to ask them for references. You’ll be able to see what their previous employers think about their performance and factor that into your decision. If you're considering hiring a freelancer, you can possibly check out their reviews on their Upwork profile.
- Assess their skill level. You can learn about their skill levels by requesting a sample of their work. Usually, employers ask for a short article on a topic of their choosing to assess the writer’s competence levels. They might not be a good fit if they always misspell terms and use incorrect punctuation.
- Ask about deadlines and time management. You must determine whether they have what it takes to meet the production requirements. Tell them what kind of timeline and turnaround you’re expecting. Understanding the writer's pace and reaction times can help you avoid missed deadlines. It’s not a bad idea to include a time-based skill test that will give you a good idea of their turnaround time.
- Talk shop. As an employer, you have to make sure the content writer is within your budget. Many freelancers have developed hourly and project rates. However, it is possible to reach an agreement.
Write to Your Heart’s Content
Any type of online business can significantly benefit from including content on its official website. Whether you have an established online presence or are just starting out, you want to keep the page traffic flowing. And blogs, articles, product lists, and similar additions are just the way to do it.
However, publishing content is a long and winding road. You have to choose a niche that works well with your brand and determine your target audience. And that’s just the beginning.
Website content creation is a continuous effort that often requires a whole team of capable employees. Luckily, the advantages outweigh the potential hiccups, and all that hard work can ultimately lead to a satisfying result.