Planning Content for Your Website
The best websites on the internet upload new and fresh content regularly. This applies to content heavy websites like news sites and blogs but it also applies to smaller websites and websites for bricks-and-mortar businesses. The only difference is scale: content heavy websites might upload new content hourly; other websites might upload new content once a week. Whichever category you fall into, you’ll need a structure in place so here are some ideas for planning content for your website.
But before getting into that let’s briefly answer the questions why? Why does your site need fresh content? There are two reasons.
- It helps with your search engine ranking as search engines prefer sites that posts new content over sites that don’t change often.
- New content helps get visitors onto your website and when they are there it helps to convert them. If your user sees old information they might go elsewhere to make sure they are getting what they need.
Who Is Your Audience
Understanding your audience is the first stage of the process. This is critical as there is no point producing new content aimed just at the search engines. For a start you want your content to help your users make a buying decision. But there is also the fact that search engines look at things like “social signals”.
This basically means search engines look at whether people on Facebook, Twitter, and Google “Like, Retweet, Comment, or +1” your articles. Your users will only do that if they find the content helpful, useful or interesting. They will only find it helpful, useful or interesting if you understand: a) who they are; and, b) what they want. You can then create the content with the answers to those questions in mind.
Come Up With Ideas
The next stage of the process is to come up with ideas. There are lots of different ways of doing this but before you start you need to:
- Understand your product and business
- Understand your audience
- Be actively engaged in your sector and well read
One way to come up with content ideas is to brainstorm. This is not always easy and doesn’t always produce the best results when done in isolation, but you have lots of other things that you can do to make the process more effective.
- Save bookmarks, articles or snippets of information that you read on the internet. These can make excellent ideas for future articles. Tools like Evernote and GetPocket make this easy.
- Find what topics are currently trending on social media networks and big blog and news websites.
- Look at the questions or queries you have recently had from your customers. Other customers will have similar questions which creates an opportunity for you to create content to answer it for them.
- Do research into keywords to find what queries people type into search engines.
- Find common connections with ideas. When you find common grounds among random topics, you get new, original ideas for content. Realistically you can’t come up with a completely new content idea every time. So use articles and content created by others for inspiration. You should never copy or plagiarize. But ripping off other ideas to then create your own unique article with added value, new information or alternative suggestions is completely legitimate.
Create a Content Plan
The final stage in the process is to put all these ideas into a content plan. This is essentially a calendar which plans when the content is written, who will write it, when it is published, and when it is promoted.
Using a content plan means it is less likely that you will forget about uploading content in the hustle and bustle of a busy business day. It also means you’re less likely to forget about a key event or promotional period.
The trick to creating good content on a regular basis for your website is in the planning. If you don’t plan, it can look like a daunting prospect. But planning properly and then following through on that plan will save you time and make your website more successful.