Content is the reason the web exists. We use the web to find and consume, and increasingly create, content.
What exactly is content? Anything that can be displayed or download from a web page. It can be
- files (pdf, doc, etc)
The better your content, the more people will want to consume it.
A website is only as good as its content but what is “good” content? The simple answer is that it’s any content that people want to consume.
We’re not talking about revealing the meaning of life here (it’s 42). Your store hours posted on the home page is good content for someone wanting to know if your business is open tomorrow.
Your content needs to be easy to read because people don’t read web pages like they read a book. In fact, most people don’t read web content, they scan it. This means you need to use things like
- short paragraphs
- bullet lists
- section titles
Web content also needs to be fresh. This means keeping content up-to-date and adding new content.
Keeping your content up-to-date is vital. If your monthly special hasn’t been updated in 3 months, it gives the impression that you don’t care about your website, or worse, you don’t care about your customers.
Managing content can seem overwhelming to small business owners who are often wearing many different hats while running their business. But it doesn’t have to be.
With a little bit of planning, you can get a handle on your content.
One of the secret weapons of keeping your content fresh is an editorial calendar. You can plan when and what needs to be posted ahead of time.
You can often create the content well ahead of time and schedule to appear, and often disappear, at a certain time. This alleviates the stress of last minute posting.
Youtube is the second most popular search engine after Google. Over 3 billion searches are performed on Youtube each month.
Having a Youtube channel with interesting content provides another way for people to discover you.
You are probably thinking, “But I can’t afford a video camera and mics and lights and actors, etc, etc, etc!”
Here’s the good news: You don’t need any of that stuff to make good videos.
Remember, “good” content is any content people want to consume. If you have a smartphone, you have everything you need to make videos.
While the production values are not going to be on par with professionally produced videos, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the content of the video is something your potential customers/fans/clients will find interesting.
Another easy and cheap way to produce videos is to create screencasts on your computer. You can get free software that will capture your computer screen while you talk.
Search Engine Optimized (SEO) Content
The greatest content in the world is useless if people can’t find it. Search engines are how most people find content.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding search engines and how they rank their results. This is intentional. If you knew how a search engine worked you could game the system to get your site ranked higher.
SEO best practices have evolved as search engines have become more advanced but basic rules still apply, like semantic markup and using alt tags for images.
It’s not difficult to optimize your content for search engines, it just takes a little attention to detail.
Let’s talk about how your business can create, manage, and optimize your content.