Content Matters: Planning Site Updates will Boost Profitability

without comments Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

by Scott de Fasselle
email request from boss
“We need this content added to the website ASAP!”

Does this urgent website update request sound familiar? If you’re the one responsible for managing website content updates at your company, you probably receive daily notices like this in your inbox.

How do you respond? Do you immediately post the content, check that task off your list and move on with the day (and next request)? Or, do you stop to critically read the content and consider whether its message speaks to customers’ needs? We know, you’re thinking: “When do I have time to do that kind of thinking? (You saw the ASAP part of that content request, right?)”

We say, think before you post—think strategically, think of your customers, think of your prospect and others you want to reach. By spending time tailoring your content so it aligns with your company’s business strategy, your website will start generating dollars for you. Content does yield profitability if it’s carefully crafted.

How ‘Urgent’ Website Content Updates Hurt Business
Here we go again… More requests for content updates.
“Add this to the site now.”
“Update that event info; this is urgent!”
“Remove that page—it’s so out-of-date it’s embarrassing.”

The problem with these orders is the unspoken (and sometimes admitted) message of, “Don’t think about it, just do it.” When this happens, the content quality often slips and/or information becomes harder to find on the website. No one wants to read boring, irrelevant content. Why would anyone take the time? Instead, content should motivate potential or past customers to contact you or place an order online.

Obviously, you’re focused on running your core business, so website updates often get pushed back. You’ll handle it later, when you have more time—or when something critical on the site needs to be changed. (There’s no time for small stuff, right?) The problem is, when you’re pressed for time, it’s natural to fall into the trap of treating your website like a closet with infinite storage. You can always add something more to it, but reorganizing site content when you pull something out is about as appealing as cleaning and rearranging a real closet. When a website is treated this way for months or years, the valuable content gets lost in the shuffle.

We understand! We have been guilty of neglecting our website in this way because we were too busy working on clients’ websites. You know what happened? Traffic on our site went down, inquiries slowed down, and areas of the site needed to be reorganized to be useful to potential customers.

So, how do you make sure your site quality doesn’t decline as you update the content gradually, over time? We’ve got three ideas for you.

#1 A Simple Question that Drives Website Profitability

“How does this content address the users’ needs?”

If you ask that question and look at your site content from the perspective of the website visitor, you can speak clearly to the needs and wants of the visitor.

In The Elements of Content Strategy, Erin Kissane states, “Without readers, viewers, and listeners, all content is meaningless, and content created without consideration for users’ needs harms publishers because ignored users leave.”

She continues, “This principle boils down to enlightened self interest: that which hurts your users hurts you.”

So, if you just treat website updates as pieces to add or subtract from the site, the whole thing becomes that messy closet no one wants to rummage through to find “the good stuff.”

Obviously, speaking to the users’ needs can generate inquiries, but this doesn’t stop your boss from breathing down your neck when there’s an “urgent” update. So, what next?

#2 Stop ‘Urgent’ Updates and Focus On Content that Matters

Be proactive and schedule a half-hour or hour on a regular schedule to review your website. If your website is small (20 pages or less), consider scheduling an hour once a month to review it. However, if your website is big, consider spending a half hour on a bi-weekly basis to review a section of it. Tackling the site in sections can make the job more reasonable.

When you review the site, take notes in a program, such as Evernote, that enables you to share information across your devices. That way, you can easily share thoughts with co-workers or employees. Doing this will help you catch out-of-date content or find spots where more content is needed before a request becomes an urgent problem.

#3 Manage Pressing Content Updates with a Wrap-Up Session

What about the updates that really are urgent and can’t be anticipated? You can’t plan for every content update, and sometimes an outside factor forces you to make a change to your website quickly. In these situations, do what you have to do, but make a note for later on how to improve that hasty post. As soon as you start to think to yourself, “I wish I had more time to do it right…” jot down some notes so you don’t have remember those details later.

Conclusion: Think Smart Content to Boost Sales

It’s easy during the course of day-to-day business to fall into the pattern of focusing on updating content pieces—especially when those updates are urgent. But when the big picture is neglected, websites become a digital “closet.” There’s some good stuff in there, but you’re not sure where to find it.

So as you add, edit and delete content from your website:

  • Ask yourself: How does this content address the users’ needs?
  • Schedule a regular time to review site content and ask that strategic question about every content piece.
  • Take notes as you review content, and share this information with others creating content so everyone can work toward generating valuable content.

Is your website content driving profit at your company, or adding more clutter to the “closet” of information housed on your site? Let’s talk about how you can create a web experience for users that aligns with your business mission. Fill out our simple contact form or call us at 513-445-2024.

Written by Scott de Fasselle

July 28th, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Web Content

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