Content Is The Heart Of Your Website

Content-Website

Owned media is only one piece of the puzzle but it is really at the center of your marketing efforts.

I spend a lot of time talking about owned media and the other pieces that make up the PESO model, created by Gini Dietrich at Spin Sucks.

For those of you who might be new readers and haven’t heard of the PESO, welcome. The PESO model is an integrated marketing model that is made up of:

  • Paid Media
  • Earned Media
  • Shared Media
  • Owned Media

Owned media is where you own the channel and the content. Your website is the most obvious piece of owned media. You own the content and the channel. The only other thing you own is your email list.

I spend a fair amount of time talking about owned media at a high level and I have talked a bit about email marketing but I’ve never really talked about website content.

Without content, you wouldn’t have a website. It would just be a bunch of blank pages. That certainly wouldn’t do help your owned media efforts.

Over the last 20 years, there has been a steady stream of businesses that have created a website. The COVID-19 health crisis has further accelerated the move to do business online.

This is the new world. If you have a business, having a website isn’t optional anymore. I feel funny having to say that because owned media was really one the first and most obvious marketing channel as we’ve into the digital frontier but, some still resist the move online.

Not all websites are created equal and having a website isn’t any sort of guarantee for success. Your website can work for you but only if put in the work to create a great website.

It’s easier said than done. Every six months I look at my website and think, “I’ve got to make some changes.” It takes time and it’s not a build it and forget it venture.

As your company changes so does the world around it. This means you need to be constantly evaluating your website and making the appropriate changes.

For your customer, it has to answer their questions and create enough interest to pull them through the marketing funnel.

Website content plays a big part in how well your site will perform yet I find that many times it’s the last thing anybody thinks about.

For some reason content is misunderstood. When I say content, it’s interesting how many people think “blog” but content is more than that. It’s every single word on every page. This all content.

Each page has it’s own purpose so it needs a different type of content.

Today I’m going to talk about the different types of pages that can (and in many cases should) be on a website and the type of content that should be on each of those pages.

For clarity, I’m not talking about e-commerce websites such as Amazon, Target, Walmart, Costco, Kohls, or Macy’s. Those type of sites is their own animal.

We have a lot to talk about so if you’re ready, let’s get started.

Why Should You Have A Business Website?

I think this is a fair question. Especially if you don’t have a website or haven’t really invested in your website.

I basically grew up in the digital age so it makes sense to me that everybody should have a website. Isn’t it just part of the price of doing business these days?

For many the answer yes. For some, the answer is still no. For others, they have a website but it’s not really anything more than an online advertisement. I’ll talk about that more in a moment.

In the past, it’s been optional to have a website. If your a medium or small company, you may not have seen the need to do so. However, the following figures might change your mind.

87% of shoppers started their buyer’s journey online. That’s a staggering figure and this number doesn’t reflect the massive movement that we have seen in 2020 towards online shopping.

If you sell to businesses, that number climbs to 90%. According to this report, “70% of buyers fully define their needs on their own before engaging with a sales representative, and 44% identify specific solutions before reaching out to a seller.”

If you don’t have a website, you are likely missing out on business. If you have a website but don’t have the right content, you are also likely missing out on business.

I don’t like making bold proclamations but I’m here to tell you that if you have a business you need to have a website. It’s not optional anymore.

I have run across many websites and like everything else they fall on a spectrum. Some are great, some are fairly good, and some need improvement.

An important but often overlooked fact is that your website is more for your customer more than it is for you.

I have said this to prospects and my customers and sometimes I get a funny look but think about it for a minute.

The buyer’s journey is starting online. 87% for consumers and 90% for business to business transactions. This means people are looking for information and they aren’t just looking at your website.

They are visiting the website of your competitors as well. They are comparing services/products as well as prices amongst other things.

If you tell them what you want them to know instead of what they need to know you are daring them to purchase from somebody else. If you only focus on you, chances are decent they will accept your dare. Especially if your competitors are giving them what they need.

There is information your customers will need before they are willing to commit to making a purchase.

This means there are certain sections that you need to have on your website. I’m going to talk about those that I find the most important.

And yes, I realize that I might be oversimplifying things a bit but bear with me.

Now, let’s look at the different sections of your website and the content that you need for each.

What Is The Purpose of A Homepage?

The homepage of your website is one of the most important pages of your site because it gets the bulk of your site’s traffic. For most people, it will be the first impression of your business.

In technical terms the homepage is the root of a website. Every other page that is part of your website is tied to the homepage.

If you look a the url of this page you can see it ties back to my homepage, dshanecarpenter.com. This is the root of my website.

It’s the same with every website whether it be for Google, Apple, Bank Of America, or Chevrolet.

This is how the homepage functions in a technical way but when you go to a website’s homepage you don’t think of it as the root.

When somebody comes to your business, they walk through the front door and you welcome them. In essence, the homepage of your website does the same thing.

Like most people coming into your business, somebody coming to your website knows of you and maybe a bit about you. The homepage welcomes visitors to your site and gives them more information.

Content needs to include enough information to create some interest and should include links to pages that go deeper on what you’ve just talked about or teased.

I don’t have a checklist of information that you have to include but some content you can include is:

  • High-level information on your company
  • High-level product/service information
  • Testimonials
  • Videos
  • Links to recent blog posts
  • Customers that you have worked with
  • Calls to action

If you visited 10 different homepages we would not only see different designs but different ideas of the type of content is on them.

Ultimately, the content will give people an idea of who you are and what you do while also creating enough interest for people to delve deep into your website.

If you can’t interest people on your homepage, chances are they will leave. Once they do, they may never come back.

What Is The About Page Of A Website?

It’s only natural that people want to know a little more about your company. The about page is the opportunity to tell people about your company.

As with many things involved in marketing and public relations, this sounds easy enough but there is often a lack of execution.

Too often the about page is nothing more than bullet points and/or bragging. While it might be interesting that you won some awards, got coverage in the Wall Street Journal, or it took only five years to make $100 million in revenue this isn’t likely to resonate with people.

Ultimately, marketing is about connecting with people. A bunch of bullet points that list your accomplishments likely won’t help with this.

Avoid turning this page into a brag page or even a sales page. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find this endearing. I find it rather soulless.

The About Page is an opportunity to tell your story and connect. Don’t waste it.

For example, I didn’t start my company to be another in a long list of digital marketing and public relations firms. I wanted to be a different type of company. One that focused on creating custom solutions that get great results. I don’t want to be known for being the biggest or making the most money. I want to be known for doing the best work and solving problems.

That’s all part of my story.

What’s your company’s story? Why was it started? What makes you different? What obstacles have had to overcome?

This is what is going to resonate with people. It’s what is going to help them connect with you on a deeper level.

What Should Be Included On A Services Page

While I’m calling it a service page, it could easily be a product page as well. They both serve the same purpose. To give some information about your services and/or products.

Simple enough right? Yes and no.

Getting the content right on this page can be a challenge. Again, keep in mind that it’s not all about you. Its about your customer. This means you need to have the proper balance of information that talks about what you offer but you also need to address how it’s going to solve a problem.

If people don’t see the value, they won’t consider buying from you.

Remember, they aren’t here to help your business grow. They are here to solve a problem and they are looking for information to see if you are the one who can help them do this.

If you have done your research and have some good knowledge about your customer, it will be easier to create content on this page.

I’ve already hit on it but the two big questions that you need to address are:

  • What problem(s) does your product or service solve?
  • What’s the value to your customer?

Have you ever been on a website and find a product or service that is intriguing but your not sure exactly if its right for you? Did you buy it? Probably not.

I know I’m beating this into the ground but it’s for good reason.

My best piece of advice is this: When you’re creating content for this page think of it from your customer’s point of view.

What About The Pricing Page?

I debated for a long time in regards to actually including prices on my pricing page. That seems kind of odd, right? I mean, it’s called a pricing page. Why wouldn’t there be prices on the page?

There were a couple of reasons for this in which you might relate.

Some of the services that I offer depend on the scope of work. The bigger the scope the more it’s going to cost. The inverse is also true. The smaller the scope the less it’s going to be.

I do have a couple of services that have a flat fee but I didn’t really want to give pricing on them because I was worried it would chase people away.

One day I was listening to a podcast specific to agency owners where the hosts were talking about including pricing on websites. They came down on the side of listing prices if possible.

Despite their very good arguments, I shied away from posting prices until I read this article a couple of months ago by Joel Klettke.

Not sharing pricing information leads to what he calls “pricing rage”. You might know the feeling. You find what looks like the right solution and then search for the cost only to find something that says, “contact us”. It’s very frustrating.

If you do this you’re trying to push people into sales call that they might not be ready for. What are the chances if they actually make the call that your sales team can convert it? There is also the flip side which is you could be making it more likely that they walk away from considering you.

As you’ve already seen, people are now trying to find as much information as possible before they contact your sales team. Price is one of the pieces of information they need.

There are certainly valid reasons why you might not show pricing but if this is the case, you need to explain why.

The job of your website isn’t just pulling people through the marketing funnel to make a purchase. Part of its job is to qualify and disqualify people.

Not everybody who visits your website is going to buy from you. Many of those people are simply not going to be the right fit for you.

Reading this might make you feel uneasy but it’s true. It’s taken me a long time to accept myself.

Pricing information is important content. If you sell services that are priced at $10,000 a month, you don’t want to talk to people whose business is only generating revenue of $100,000 a year because they can’t afford you.

You don’t want your sales team to spend time talking with prospects that aren’t going to buy. Thus, qualifying your prospects by sharing pricing information is extremely important.

Don’t be afraid. Give your visitors pricing information.

What Should Be Included On A Contact Page?

It’s rare that a contact page is much more than a form to fill out.

You give your name, email address, telephone number, and the reason why you’re contacting them. Some may ask for more but it’s basically a way of giving people a way to come out of the shadows and start a dialogue with you.

The case for asking for more information through contact form would be to find out enough about them so you can do a little research on them before contacting them back.

Keep in mind that not everybody likes filling out forms. The more information you ask for, the more likely it could be that people may not fill out the form.

This makes asking for more information a risk/reward analysis. If you ask for more they may not fill out the form but if they do you have some additional information that you can use to find out more about them so you’re not walking into the conversation completely blind.

You also might want consider having more than a contact form on this page.

Sometimes salespeople may use the contact form to make sales pitches. This likely isn’t what you had in mind when you set up your contact form but you can address this by adding text by giving an email address for sales inquiries.

Orbit Media makes it clear on its contact page that the form is to be submitted by those who are ready to have a sales conversation. It even includes verbiage and a link to information to make sure that they are the right fit. It serves as a final qualification for customers before they submit the form.

You could also take it a step further and include a link where people can just schedule a meeting time with you.

These are all options to consider.

However, I’m going to make a final suggestion that I think is a missed opportunity.

Think about it. You submit a contact form and then you wait. You have no idea when they might contact you back. It could be later today, tomorrow, three days from now, or next week.

This doesn’t create a great experience.

Set expectations. Give them a timeframe in which you will contact them back.

Is it going to be within one business day? Two business days? Be specific. “We’ll get back to you as soon as possible” tells people nothing.

Setting expectations sends a message that you respect them and their time. It shifts the power dynamic from being in your favor to being equals.

They already have an impression of you from all the content they have consumed on your website. Don’t ruin that impression on the first step they have taken to speak with you.

The Importance Of A Good Landing Page

A landing page is a stand-alone page created specifically for a marketing campaign. It has a very narrow focus and includes a call to action with the goal of creating a conversion.

It’s most commonly used in conjunction with an ad that is served on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other platform. The link you include takes people to the landing page where you want them to take a specific action.

I want to clear up any possible confusion before we move forward. If you’re like me, you’ve likely used an ad to send somebody to a blog post or another page on your website. Does that make those pages landing pages?

No, and it’s for one specific reason. The main purpose of these pages is to provide information and guide people through your website.

I understand that these pages are including sales messages as well but they are also providing links that take you to different pages. If you look at the top of this page, you can see that there are menus and links to help you navigate this site. Every page within those links takes you to another page that includes the same menu.

A landing page does not include navigation. It’s a sales page. The only choice is to convert by providing information or leave.

It’s not likely that somebody will go to a home page and then buy something. The same is true for all the other pages we have talked about up to this point. These pages have multiple jobs. A landing page has one. To make a sale.

The content is simple. It’s information that is persuading people to give you their information in exchange for something and it includes a call to action.

Like with your contact page, you get to determine what information needs to be provided. At a minimum, it would be a name and email address but it could also include a job title, the name of their company, the number of employees at their company, and the industry they are in.

Should You Have A Blog?

The answer is that it depends.

I know that it isn’t a good answer its not as easy as yes or no. The truth is every situation is different.

There are certainly good arguments for having a blog.

Marketing relies on content and a blog can be a great source of content. Studies have shown that 77% of people on the internet read blogs.

Blogs also can help with search engine optimization (SEO) which is the process of improving the amount and quality of traffic to your website through search engines like Google.

Blogs are a central component of content marketing which is considered inbound marketing, that is people come to you instead of you reaching out to them (outbound marketing).

In fact, content marketing produces over 3x as many leads as outbound marketing while costing 62% less. It also improves conversions by nearly 126%.

This is all great but you need to know that writing a blog requires an investment of time. You need to commit to spending the time creating a content strategy and executing it.

In a study by Orbit Media, they found that bloggers spend an average of 3 hours and 55 minutes to write a blog post.

By the time I do the SEO research, write a blog post, find a graphic for the post, and schedule posts promoting it on social media, I’ve typically put in 5-6 hours of work. This is why I only publish a blog post on a weekly basis. With everything else that I do, I don’t have time to publish more than once a week.

However, Orbit Media’s study found that 57% of bloggers who posted daily reported strong results for their efforts compared to 28% who posted weekly and 18% who post on a monthly basis.

If your willing to put in the time to not only write the blog, but do all the things you need to make it successful, it can be a good investment. If you can’t make that commitment, you won’t see results. It’s that simple.

Don’t forget about SEO

You have the taken the time to create a truly great website but what good is it if nobody visits?

In the previous section, I talked about how writing a blog can help with your site’s SEO because you want people to find you. SEO isn’t the only way but because so many people start their research with a search engine, SEO is simply to important to ignore.

Here’s the thing though, we often don’t associate SEO with the rest of the website. SEO isn’t just for your blog. Any content that you are creating has an SEO opportunity attached to it. Don’t ignore it.

There are an abundance of tools that will help you with your SEO efforts. Moz. SEMrush. Ahrefs. Answerthepublic.

You’ve created the content for your customers. They should be your first priority but don’t ignore the opportunity that SEO gives you.

The world has changed and it’s no longer optional to have a website. It’s a necessity but don’t forget that it’s not all about you.

A website is an investment. If you put in the time and work, you will see the results. If you don’t it will just be another piece of overhead.

Owned media is one of the most important pieces of your marketing. It’s time to put it to work.

*Image by Marek Studzinski from Pixabay

Shane Carpenter
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