Last week I attended PubCom South in Austin, Texas along with one of my marketing colleagues. It was a great, well-organized event put on by the folks at WebmasterWorld. I picked up quite a few good tips which I will share in a short series of posts.
Content is King
In the realm of SEM, one theme I’ve caught once and again at various events is that a well-optimized web site will have good, fresh, compelling and relevant content. One can optimize all day, but if the content is no good, the site still won’t score well in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Fresh Content is Important
In my notes next to various ideas I picked up at PubCom I wrote “Blog” five times. At each occurance the word is circled and once I wrote three exclamation points behind it. Here’s why:
An important point many PubCom presenters mentioned about web site content is that it needs to be fresh. Gone are the days when someone can create a great web site, post it and forget about it for a year or two (if those days ever really existed).
Not only does content need to be good when the site is first posted, but the content needs to be refreshed on a regular basis. This is especially true if you want visitors to come back to your site after their initial visit. Think about it: how many times will you visit a web site which isn’t often updated?
Blogging is a very good way to get new content on your site on a regular basis. Before you start a blog, here are some things to consider:
- Commitment. If you start a blog, you need to commit to posting. Opinions vary, but I think once per week should be the maximum interval between posts. If you’re not going to be able to post at least once a week then you shouldn’t start.
- Your posts need to be relevent. If the purpose of your web site is to sell banana guacamole, then don’t post articles about how to select a cell phone or what kind of shoes are in style this season.
- SEO. Your blog posts should be optimized just like the rest of your site. If you have good, relevent content a lot of that work is done as you go.
I know what you may be thinking at this point: “I just don’t have time to blog. The time commitment alone is enough to put me off the idea.”
If you’re in a small shop and you feel this way, perhaps blogging won’t work for you. At least not for now. But, if you’re in a corporate shop and there are a number of people in your marketing, sales and IT departments, please allow me to introduce the concept of “Team Blogging.”
Team blogging is simply this: get a group of people who can write some posts and make a schedule of who blogs when. If you go on a weekly update schedule and can gather a team of 6 people to blog you’ll only have to post something once every six weeks. Is that do-able? For many it will be.
When gathering your team, don’t forget to include those who perhaps can’t write themselves, but would make a good interview subject. For instance, your CEO might not have time to write something on a regular basis, but is available for an interview every so often. Also, don’t exclude those who can come up with good content but whose writing skills may need some polishing. Editing can be faster than writing something from scratch. In reality, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
Because people today want to hear from the real people who work for the companies they do business with, I don’t recommend hiring a ghost writer to do blog postings. Although a tempting short cut, using ghost writers can backfire, especially when you take into consideration my last suggestion. Guest writers who are acknowledged as such don’t fall into this category.
My last suggestion about blogs: Allow your visitors to comment freely. Your web site’s visitors can also add relevant content to your blogs by commenting and asking questions. Of course, you (and the rest of your content-generating team) will need to respond. That will take some more time investment, but it’s well worth the effort. (I know you might be thinking about it now, and I’ll post suggestions on how to handle detractors and angry commenters in the near future).