The care and feeding of a conversion-focused website

In the last two issues I’ve covered strategies for attracting new business with content marketing and getting the process rolling by creating or upgrading to a conversion-focused website. Today I’ll talk about the ongoing maintenance that transforms a website from a digital brochure into a business-generating tool that works around the clock.

the sales rep that never sleeps

You’ve built a great-looking website and stocked it with content calculated to attract new and repeat buyers. But if you want your site to encourage sales on a regular basis, your work isn’t done once you’ve got it up and running.

The next step is to develop an ongoing content strategy. Which channels you choose—print, social media, video or whatever—will most likely be shaped by the buying habits of your prospects, but your website will always be part of the media mix.

After all the work that goes into building a website in the first place, many organizations are reluctant to do more. It’s tempting to post your site and forget about it for a while, but that won’t generate business. Here are four great reasons why it’s worth the effort to make your site an ever-changing hub for a strategic content plan:

1: search engine optimization (SEO)

There’s a lot of snake oil about SEO out there today, and many of the tricks for manipulating the system only work until the next time Google tweaks its algorithms. (According to Google, this happens more than 500 times a year—for more details, visit their How Search Works page and click the option to “Explore the Search Lab” when it appears in section 2). But you don’t need any technological magic to do the one thing search engines always notice.

Search engines like new content—lots of it—and they like it on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean just going in and tweaking your site on a monthly basis, but adding new, relevant content every month (Mark O’Brien of Newfangled recommends about 2000 words per month). This could take the form of articles, blog posts, white papers (with searchable text), media coverage, press releases, and more.

2: fresh content

Regular updates don’t just attract the attention of automated search programs. If you regularly post information that interests your buyers, you’ll establish or enhance a reputation as an expert in your industry.

One quick and easy way to get started is to repurpose your e-newsletter content as an article that is hosted on (not linked from) your website. Over time you can build an archive, and that content (which we already know is relevant to your audience, right?) will continue to drive search engine traffic long after the e-newsletters have been forgotten.

You’ll also want to take a comprehensive look at your entire site at least once a year. A lot can change in that time, and you might be surprised what you’ll find. Have you added new products or services? Does any out-of-date information need to go away? Does every nook and cranny of your site still support your current positioning, or are contrary messages lurking somewhere? You’ll be glad you looked.

3: traffic

You can spot a website that’s backed up by a consistent content marketing plan just by looking at its traffic statistics. Every time you release new content—whether you blog, send an e-mail newsletter, mail a print promotion, or post to a social media site—you’ll see a spike in website traffic. The spikes may be small at first, but over time they’ll get bigger, especially if you reach out on a regular schedule. And once you have a reputation for posting useful content consistently,your best customers and prospects will start visiting regularly on their ownto see what’s new.

4: trackability

A website that grows and changes regularly is the ultimate instant-gratification tool, and not just for fans of your products. They’ll get regular encouragement to do business with you, and you’ll be able to see what’s generating response in real time. As you make regular updates to the site, you’ll quickly learn the type of content that interests and influences your buyers and which efforts aren’t as effective for your audience.

If you’re still on the fence about the value of content marketing, the ability to track results is what turns this marketing theory into bottom-line reality. Once you see returns you can measure for yourself, the questions “Do we have the time to do content marketing?” or “Can we afford to do it?” become irrelevant. The value will be obvious, and it will be up to you to decide whether you have the time to do it yourself or if it’s more efficient to have someone outside do it faster, better, and with the promise of superior returns.

don’t have time to babysit your site? call us.

Whole Brain Creative can help you manage the burden of maintaining a content-focused website that drives regular traffic. We’ll help you think strategically about your content plan, determine measurable and actionable goals,write and design persuasive content, and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Call or email us for a no-obligation consultation: 503.325.4485 or [email protected].

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