Monday 1 November 2010

Keep them coming back - Part 2. Living Content

« See also Part 1. Email Marketing

While regular contact will keep you at the front of a client's mind, how can you use your site to get people coming back?

First, we're going to have to look at why someone would want to come back more than once to your site. There are 3 main reasons people re-visit sites.

1. Because they remembered the content they found there was good
2. Because they think you may have new information there this time
3. Because they know there will be new content

The difference between 2 & 3 is perception. If a user visits your site in Sepetember and the last 'latest news' post was January, a user may assume that you update the site infrequently, and also assume that although there might be something new a few months later, the chance is low.

For this article, we want to discuss living content, or content that isn't stagnant. Nothing shows you care less to a potential client than a website that has been neglected, but on the flip side, a website with current, relevant content shows that you not only care about your business, but that you're diligent and committed. Relevant living content is also a great way to make your customers bookmark your site and want to come back to see whats new next time.

Ask anyone that has dynamic content on their site and they will tell you that it;s not easy work to keep it up to date. It takes time and effort, and the results are directly proportionate to the effort you put in, so here's 4 steps to consider when you're ready to add some action to your site.

Step 1 - be realistic when setting up your site.

Committing to updating your website every day or week can sound like a good idea at the time, but very soon you start to realise just how big the task is, and it can quickly become the dreaded thing that never leaves your to-do list. A few ways to alleviate this can be changing a title from 'This Week's News' to 'Featured News' or making the expectation for each post to be quite short. Partnering with similar businesses to take turns writing content that you can share can also be a good way of reducing work.

At the same time, work out what frequency is going to be appropriate for your business. Imagine going to your preferred news website (say If they only added news once a month, how often are you likely to go back there? Probably never, because you'd never know when it will be updated and you have other ways of getting the information, more conveniently.

Step 2 - work out what your clients actually want to see.

There's no point subjecting yourself to the rigmarole of writing content every week or month if it's not directly relevant to your site or the people using your site. If you run an accounting firm, keep the content relevant to accounting or at least a related industry. If you find yourself writing about lawncare, then you're going to see reader drop-off.

Step 3 - keep content concise & interesting

Boring content is a fast road to a shrinking email list. Keep newsletters short, and only provide a teaser to articles with a link to the full story. That way a user can scan the extract and see if its relevant to them before proceeding to the article (this is also good because it drives traffic to your site). Sometimes it may be more beneficial to miss a newsletter than to send out dull or irrelevant information that was put together at the last minute just to get something out.

Step 4 - ask yourself why?

Similar to step 2, this step is what you should ask when adding anything new to your site. Write out the pros and cons for adding a feature to fully evaluate the ROI (return on investment) of your time and money. If there's not a compelling benefit to adding a feature, don't bother. Once you've added the feature (say a news feed), make sure you ask yourself every time you post something 'is this going to benefit anyone?'

What are my options?

Okay, so what are your options when it comes to living content? Here's a few examples that might work for different sites.

1. Newsletter / Blog
2. Latest News
3. Social Media Feed (facebook or twitter)
4. Photo Of The Day
5. User Generated Content (maybe a topic for a future article)

Some low maintenance options are;

1. A news feed from an third party source
2. A twitter search feed (searches other tweets that include a specific tag or phrase)
3. Randomly selected featured products

Some examples of living content

Here's a few examples of Digerati sites that have regularly updated content

1. The Sea Life
Updated every day with some photos and surf report.

2.  Inaburra School
Highlights an event calendar and latest news

3. Olive Tree Media
Latest news & featured products

How can we help you?

Talk to Digerati today if you're interested in bringing your site to life with living content.