Posted Friday, December 3, 2004
Time and time again content has proven to be the single most important component of successful web sites. Virtually everywhere you surf the web, you can locate just about any type of information or content you are seeking. With this thinking in mind, what would make people utilize your web site? Furthermore, what would persuade people to return? The answer to these questions could hold the answer to your web sites long-term health.
WebSiteEstates.com (http://www.websiteestates.com), a free on-line marketing resource, is a perfect example of a web site that thrives on delivering content. While I am managing editor of the web site and control the editorial content, I have proactively been involved in examining how our users interact with our web site and their involvement with our content over time.
What we've learned is quite simple. If your content is good, you will over time acquire web site visitors. To retain those visitors often takes a little bit more. While the number of web sites on the Internet continues to escalate, the value of solid content will only continue to rise. Here are some concepts that may help make your site the 'stickiest of them all.'
You may have the best content on the planet, but if people can't find what they are looking for, it's useless. One idea is to break your content into appropriate subcategories and make sure those subcategories are clearly representative of the content behind them. Also, be consistent in the placement of content for up-dates on the site. You don't want to confuse repeat visitors who become accustomed with the navigational structure you have set forth from the beginning.
When possible, up-date the content on your site. If the content is exactly the same as the last time that user viewed your site, why should they stay? Furthermore, why should they return again if they believe the sites content will be exactly the same as when they left. Also, try and be consistent on your up-date schedule. Whether it is daily, weekly, or monthly, the user knows when to return for the sites latest content.
Multiple Deliveries of Content
Offering the content to be deliverable to their email account is a definite luxury that many web site visitors may definitely take advantage of. If you have multiple topics of content, you can offer the option to select which topics they are interested in receiving instead of all of the content at once. The key here is to give the user control of the content they are seeking.
Feedback to Improve Content
There is no better market research that the insight from your site visitors. Make sure your web site has open channels of communication to allow visitors to let their opinion be heard. As with any web site, you should always respond promptly to suggestions or at least make note that all suggestions will be reviewed and taken into consideration.
Allow Visitors to 'Spread' the Content
"Recommend a Friend" or "Send this Page" are very good features to have on a web site. It makes it quick and easy for users to spread the word to friends and colleagues. You may also consider inserting a link "Print this Page" to further assist users in displaying your content
About the Author
Damian Bazadona is President of Situation Marketing (http://www.situationmarketing.com), an Internet consulting and strategy company. Prior to forming Situation Marketing, Damian served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Cyber-NY Interactive