As more and more transactions take place online, the internet is increasingly our go-to for information, entertainment, communication and more. A business’ website is at the heart of these exchanges, and where once websites were all about the design, a website’s content is more important than ever. So move over web designers, now is the age of the content creator. But exactly what is content creation in websites and what are the tips to help your content succeed? Read on for our in-depth guide…
What is content creation in websites specifically?
Content creation refers to any text and media you see on a website. This includes blog posts, web pages, videos, infographics, whitepapers, pop-ups and more.
Content marketing is vital in 2021 and beyond, not only to get found but to prove your credibility in a competitive marketplace. And it works. Not only can content marketing create 3 times more leads than traditional marketing methods, but it costs on average 62% less.
Importantly, content isn’t just there to fill in the blank space, it serves an important role. It must attract, engage, inform and convert.
That means it needs to deliver the information that your target audience needs to know in the best way possible to persuade them to take your intended action.
The different types of website content you can produce can all work together to achieve this aim based on their individual strengths.
Content creation examples: two definitions
Content on websites might be static – web pages that are intended to stay the same, usually for information purposes – or it might be dynamic – where content is regularly updated or delivers different content based on the device or location a user is viewing it from.
Examples of static or pillar content:
- Core web pages (home, about, services etc)
- SEO-targeted landing pages targeting specific keywords or locations (e.g. ‘plumbers in Devon’, ‘plumbers in Exeter’ etc)
- In-depth guides, tutorials, whitepapers or ebooks
Examples of dynamic content:
- Blog posts
- Web page content that is delivered differently depending on the person viewing it, for instance when viewing on mobile or desktop, or in the US or UK. An example could be a video tutorial versus a text tutorial or filtered product pages.
Let’s look at each piece of content in more detail to see how it achieves the overall aim of your website.
What are the types of content creation, how do they work and what are the tips for success?
At the core of your website’s sitemap will be the chief landing pages: Home, About, Services/Store, Contact. They can also include guides on how to use your product or service. These web pages typically serve as pillar or cornerstone pages on your site. They are the place where new visitors land when coming to your website direct (using the URL) or they may be directed there after searching for your services and clicking a top result or paid ad.
Above all, these pages need to be informative; they are your opportunity to identify the pain points of your reader and sell your solution to their problems. As such, they are often more on the salesy side.
Web pages are the storefront of your online presence, including need-to-knows such as opening times, product/services, where you operate and how to get in touch. From here users should easily be able to find out anything else they need to know which is where website navigation and linking comes in. The more easily they can find this information themselves, the fewer basic enquiries your customer service team will have to spend time fielding.
If you’re putting together a content strategy based on a robust keyword plan that is aimed at capturing more leads from search queries, then you may want to create specific landing pages targeted around, for instance, your service and the different locations you operate in. These don’t need to be visible in your menus or footer, but they should link out to your contact page to ensure you convert your leads to capture their information.
A blog post is a piece of content that is produced around a specific topic. It may be newsworthy or it may simply serve to promote a new product, awareness campaign or provide an opportunity to showcase your thought leadership. As such, they are less salesy in tone and more insightful.
Blog posts may be considered dynamic in that they are constantly changing. It’s recommended you post at least once per week, though the more frequently you post the more frequently your site will be crawled and indexed by Google.
What’s more, you can revisit old posts and refresh them. This is encouraged as your content will already have gained some traction in the SERPs (search engine results pages), so updating the content is more likely to improve its ranking, potentially even bagging you a top spot.
Blog posts can be on any topic that’s relevant to your business and, crucially, its readership. But they can also follow a keyword strategy to help you rank for long-tail query-based keywords you would like to be found for. This can guide your blogging strategy and provide an easy topic plan to follow.
So long as your content is useful and engaging, this is a great way to bring in potential new customers who may not be specifically searching for your product or service but searching questions around your offering, positioning you front of mind. With 61% of online purchases stemming from a blog post, it’s clear the quality of your content matters.
Guides and tutorials
Another form of cornerstone content, guides or tutorials are a great way to provide answers to common questions around your service or product. For instance, if you offer accounting services, it might be a quick guide to using your software of choice. Or it might be a crib sheet to filling in a Self Assessment Tax Return.
Guides should be helpful and easy to digest. They don’t have to be overly complex or detailed – they just need to answer a specific question in a succinct way that can be understood by your audience.
The best guides and tutorials will be those that use images and text. Consider including screenshots and creating an explainer video. This gives you flexibility over how you promote this content. For instance, you can share the video more easily and with greater engagement over social media than a page of text.
Whitepapers and ebooks
If you are in a research-heavy industry then a great way to share your thought leadership is by commissioning a whitepaper. A whitepaper is a body of work based on your findings into a given research area, such as waste in your industry or new advances in technology. It can be either used to showcase your knowledge and commitment to new research but also be referenced by others, earning you lots of backlinks and domain authority.
A less formal option may be to produce an ebook that can serve as a handy download and a free incentive to sign up to your service. Ebooks are a great way to add value to your service and can be a more in-depth guide than on-page tutorials.
Videos, infographics and galleries of images are also considered content. Adding these media to your website is a great way to show rather than tell, backing up the information that’s available.
Visual media are also much easier to share over other platforms and usually boost engagement faster thanks to their easily digestible format. In fact, HubSpot found video to be the most engaging content when it comes to consumers paying full attention, and consumers showed a preference to see more of this in future.
Audio content such as podcasts are also gathering pace, particularly during the pandemic, and are another passive way for people to consume engaging and insightful content while getting on with other tasks.
Pop-ups are a great form of dynamic content but need to be used sparingly because ultimately they are a disruption to a user’s objective (i.e. the reason they clicked through). However, pop-ups are useful to both you and the reader when they offer something of real value. This could be a discount to a new customer, or a free download to repeat visitors when they sign up to your newsletter.
Make sure the content is short and snappy and the call to action is clear with as few steps as necessary to complete the transaction. If you offer a discount code, a great hack is to make sure this is automatically copied or populated in the voucher code box at checkout.
Although not specifically created for your website, it’s often recommended you feature your social feeds on your website. This omnichannel approach to digital marketing helps feed traffic to different parts of your content strategy and find the content that suits your reader best.
Therefore you should think about how you will share your website content on social media, such as clickable headlines and shortened links that you can track. You also want to choose images that will engage a social audience.
Similarly, the content you repost from other providers will be visible on your website if you have your channels embedded, so be mindful of how this will look on your website.
Reminders for writing great content website users want to read
One thing to keep in mind when writing content for a website is that it should be reader AND search engine friendly. This means following the best practices for SEO as well as understanding how your reader likes to be communicated with. Here are some tips:
- Use keyword-optimised and engaging headlines.
- Avoid complicated sentences and overly long paragraphs.
- Use a consistent and appropriate font type and heading hierarchy to avoid seeming spammy.
- Back up your points and statistics with quality sources.
- Structure your content into a scannable format with headlines, subheadings and bulleted lists to maintain engagement.
- Display key takeaways in text boxes – not only will this mean a reader is more likely to retain this information, but if you structure your content well, you’re more likely to get found for a Featured Snippet.
- Use the language that your audience will understand (especially if you’re writing about complex topics).
- Above all ensure you are provide QUALITY! Follow Google’s E-A-T quality guidelines when writing content.
With regular, well-written, targeted content, your website will see an uptick in traffic and, hopefully, more engagement and viable leads. Check out our content creation checklists for more advice, or find out more about putting together a content marketing plan.