Websites – if your content isn’t relevant, forget it!

Having a successful website requires you to align your content with the needs of your target audience.

No matter how visually attractive your design may be or how easily navigated your pages are, if your content isn’t relevant to the needs of your target audience you won’t succeed. Fortunately, it isn’t impossible to develop relevant content, or even very difficult, if you ask some very important questions beforehand.

Your answers will help you to develop effective content.

  • What are your objectives for your website? What are you trying to achieve?
  • Do you have a short-term goal or objective in mind? How about something more long-term and sustainable? Are your objectives measurable? How will you determine whether you are successful or whether you have made a positive impact on your business activities?
  • Have you taken steps to prioritise your objectives? How will you achieve each objective in order of priority or preference?
  • How do you foresee your website being used? Is it simply a place to hold information about your products and services online? Will you develop ecommerce capabilities? Will you have a members only section / client restricted access? Do you intend for visitors to be able to download files from your website? Will visitors be able to interact with a live database to change profiles and update content? Will you have live chat or other interactive content?
  • What actions do you want visitors to take when they have visited your site? Register details, sign up for email newsletters, submit enquiries, engage in live chat, access certain content, leave orders, conduct a sales transaction or pick up the phone to speak with you?
  • What sorts of people do you want to visit your site? If you are targeting a specific audience is your content equally specific about their interests, problems and needs? Is your offer an obvious solution or will they struggle to see the advantages?
  • Have you thought about how you will present the benefits / solutions your products or services will deliver to your target market? Do you really appreciate their needs and understand the criteria they will use to evaluate products or services? Have you presented your information in a way in which it is easy for them to draw comparisons?
  • What evidence can you provide to visitors to build your credibility? How will you earn their trust and respect? How will you position yourself as a leader / trusted supplier / expert within your sector?
  • Have you used testimonials or case studies to paint a full picture of the solutions you offer and how you provide them? How clear and measurable are the benefits your customers and clients have achieved from your products and services?
  • How will you encourage or incentivise visitors to react or respond how you want them to? Is your call to action clear for each objective or purpose? Have you been clear what steps you want visitors to take and how they will be rewarded for prompt action?
  • How is your target audience accustomed to receiving their information? Have you taken steps to provide information in a familiar format? Will they appreciate your tone and language and how your message appears to them?
  • What is your competition doing on their website? Who in your sector do you wish you could most emulate? What can you learn from them? Can you do similar things? Can you do anything better or find a way to improve upon it? (you don’t have to entirely re-invent the wheel; let your competitors point you in the right direction)
  • How important is the issue of price to your audience? If it is important, how can you better communicate the value they will expect to receive from you? How can you downplay the ‘cost’ and emphasise the ‘return on investment’ they will receive buying from you?
  • What are the most frequent types of questions you receive regarding your products and services? Are there any typical misconceptions or assumptions you can discourage or dispel? How can you improve how people view or perceive your products or services?
  • What might explain why you don’t sell as often or as much as you’d like? Could you make the process any simpler on your website? Can you anticipate questions or possible objections or concerns? Could you provide specifications and reviews? Can you offer discounts or package deals?
  • How frequently do you want visitors to return to your site? Can you provide enough regularly updated content or regular sales promotions to stimulate this level of activity?
  • Have you considered security issues and how you will protect and secure visitors’ data and personal information? How will you communicate your trustworthiness and duty of care to your customers?
  • Have you identified what content you will need to update regularly and how you will do this? Content management systems or ongoing website maintenance contracts? Can you grow the site as need dictates or are you confined or restricted?
  • Have you considered things like accessibility, web and online best practice and legal compliance?
  • How will you let people know your website exists? How will you promote it and how will you direct traffic to it?

Your answers to these questions will help you to evaluate how your website will be used and what content you will need to produce in order to meet your objectives. A beautiful website without the right content is like a custom-wrapped package with no gifts inside – the person seeing it is excited until they get past the paper and tape. Give them something they can really get their teeth into, something that interests them and speaks to their needs and they’ll likely stay for a while – and come back again.

If you would like to discuss your own website content, please email me in the first instance.

About Marie

I started Elite Edge at the end of 1999 and I am still as passionate about marketing today as I was then - probably more so because I consider myself very lucky to do a job that I love every day! My area of specialism is strategic planning but like most people these days, I wear many other hats too!
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