Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ramping up Your Web Traffic – as Simple as the Right Content Management System

Ever been to a website and just been baffled because it’s obviously outdated? Then what’d you do? We’d bet dollars to donuts you went elsewhere for fresh (and likely competitive) content. People don’t come back to old content. And since return visitors are eight times more likely to make online purchases, the motivation is more than there. Whether old events listings, news or press releases updated years or months ago, or even content that’s clearly not relevant to current industry standards, stale content is no less off-putting than stale bread. And when it’s your own website you’re looking at, somehow it’s that much harder to swallow.

Why keep your content current?

  • Encourage customers to come back
  • Keep customers engaged and at your site longer
  • Drive higher search engine rankings
  • Positions you as relevant and industry leading
  • Reinforces and integrates with your marketing strategy
  • Creates positive perception of company’s progressiveness, credibility and strength

So what gives?

The excuses are many, the challenges even more numerous. Staff doesn’t have technical know-how to update. No one on the team has time. Per-update cost to the web provider is too high. Rarely is the issue truly having no content; more often the issue is truly having no resources.

And that’s sad, because the solution really is that simple. A simple, streamlined content management system makes it easy for anyone, technical know-how or no, to regularly update a website. And a qualified, experienced agency delivers the professional writing prowess to take the load off you and put the pressure behind your site.

You’re looking for a content management system that allows for real-time updates across the site, all template-driven and consistently designed. So you don’t have to think about how to code, how to format, how to program. You worry about putting current, relevant content out there to draw your audience back again and again.

What should you look for in a content management system?
Here are just a few to start with:

  • Easy-to-use toolbars similar to the standard formatting toolbars in Microsoft Word
  • Simple icons with descriptive mouseovers for easy navigation
  • Ability to turn on new content when ready – and have the system store data when turned off
  • Plug-and-play modules to customize the system with galleries, media, banner ads and more 

Then, approach content just like you would any product development or marketing effort: with a carefully strategized and planned calendar. Assign appropriate topics according to factors like time of year, industry fluctuations, audience demand and even any trends you’re predicting. And don’t forget the final (most important) plan: who’ll write what when. Working with that qualified agency makes slipping into the fast lane a breeze: They’ll do all of this, and you need only give the green light.

Where to get the content? 

Your existing materials can be a treasure trove of great info, ready to be slyly repackaged into web-friendly infographics, lists, charts and other visually leading elements. Your team can be a boundless resource, as they’re in touch with what your audience is asking, seeking and demanding. And you could incorporate any number of content tactics, such as blogs (HubSpot says companies who blog have 97% more inbound links), image or video galleries, RSS feeds, integrating with social media and the like.

As you’re gathering, building and expanding your content repository, content management systems offer the added benefit of making it easy to track. With everything centralized, the team can easily share and reference information. Content is secure, so you can determine who accesses what and at what level. And you have the control to make updates as you feel they’re appropriate.

Regular content updates became even more important with the advent of Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm, which searches based on content meaning and relevance rather than simple keywords and phrases. Informative content that answers the audience’s questions and speaks their language will get the highest rankings, and those rankings are also impacted by content frequency. So even your still-relevant content may bear a refresh. (Read more about Hummingbird in this previous blog post.)

Content is king, and its reign looks to extend indefinitely. So get aggressive and get in front of it, before your relevancy and your reason for return visitors are left in the dust! Not sure where to start? We can start with an assessment to determine the right content management system and content strategy approach for you.

Contact Cheryl Neumann, [email protected] or 309-346-2512.