Every new business faces an overabundance of challenges when it’s first starting up. First comes the legal stuff – the paperwork, tax documents – basically, all the things the average person doesn’t have fun doing. After all the paperwork is sorted, it’s time to start hiring. After that, well, you get the idea – there’s a lot going on. Same thing when you’re launching the website for your business. Content planning may not be on your radar immediately. However, planning your content is one of the most essential pieces of your website strategy. Without the proper content in place, visitors and potential customers may have no clue what services or products you offer or even what you’re about. Having relevant content is also extremely beneficial when it comes to search engine optimization. Google favors websites that create useful and unique content, as well as sites that regularly create blog posts.
Below, you will find three steps (in no particular order) on content planning for your startup that will allow your site visitors to walk away with a great user experience, as well as a strengthened site.
Identify Content Planning Needs Within Your Niche
I’ll use a fictional guitar shop as an example. Though it may be easy to write an article on how to change a guitar’s strings if you’re a guitar shop, stop and try to identify the needs within your niche. If you type something like “how to change guitar strings” in your search engine of choice, you’ll be sure to come across a few pages of content including step by step tutorials from WikiHow or About. Chances are, you’ll even find YouTube videos from people around the globe showing you how to change the strings on different styles of guitars. There’s no way you’ll be able to compete with that.
So, it’s time to think bigger. What’s better than a simple post on how to change guitar strings? How about creating an entire guide, breaking it down by style of style of guitar, as well as how to string guitars with traditional tuners or locking tuners. You’ll be able to help not just the person with one style of guitar, but a broader spectrum. Not only can you have all this information in one place, it creates a page that has a lot more content on it, and having an in-depth, unique, and useful guide will be sure to generate links from people who found it useful.
Write For People, Not For Search Engines
Chances are, you’ve read a lot of conflicting information on how you need to optimize your site. You may also be worried about keywords. Though there’s some truth in having to worry about some of the more technical aspects of things, your main focus should be on your audience and providing them with the most useful content you can. How can you make sure you’re writing for people instead of search engines?
- Write catchy headlines. Not every headline has to be a home run, slam dunk, insert another sports term here. However, if you’re looking to get a larger amount of shares and traffic, consider writing articles that will catch peoples’ attention. Take a look at this Moz post from a couple years back that has some more insight on this.
- Stay relevant. Make sure that you’re writing content that’s related to what your website is about. There’s not many more things more confusing than going to a site about technology and getting a recipe instead – unless of course, the article has to do with new technology used in the creation of the recipe.
- Leave your audience with a takeaway. Even if your site is eCommerce, and your main focus is on selling products or services, you’ll only gain good will from your site patrons by giving them the information about the product that they’re looking for. If they can find all pertinent information on your site, there’s a good chance they’ll stay on your site to buy the product instead of going elsewhere. Same concept goes with content – if they walk away feeling like they learned something, they’ll keep coming back for more informative content.
Consistency is key. Google’s post from 2011 is just as relevant today as it was the day it was released. Google likes to display fresh topics, and users like to receive those topics in their search engine results. Google also likes websites that post on a fairly consistent basis. You should do this for a couple reasons:
- Search engines will start to notice this, and index your site quicker than a site that doesn’t get updated as much.
- Visitors will notice that you’ve created fresh content topics fairly often and come back more often.
Creating a content calendar could help you stick to those goals and have a schedule planned out. Content calendars are beneficial no matter the size of your company. So if you’re looking to stay organized and have a topic to write about, referring to your content calendar could save you a lot of time and stress.
Content planning doesn’t have to be hard. It just takes some time, patience, and perhaps even bouncing ideas back and forth. Just give your site visitors what they need, not what you think they want; write for your visitors and don’t stress yourself too much on the technical stuff; and lastly make sure you stay consistent and regularly post awesome and fresh content. Following the framework of these three steps will help you with one portion of becoming an authoritative website.