Anyone who is trying to make a living in the online marketplace knows that it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. The immense pressure of so many voices across so many channels can make it challenging to be heard through all of the competitive clutter.
While this may make ad campaigns and sales pages seem all the more important in your online content strategy though, the truth is, a site full of ads and sales pitches isn’t going to appeal to anyone. If you want to truly stand out from the crowd these days, you have to take your chief piece of online marketing collateral — your website — and turn it into a quality online resource that provides genuine value to everyone who reads it.
Content is King
Before we go into how to turn your website into a resource, it’s helpful to take a moment to establish why it’s such a big deal in the first place. After all, you’ve created the perfect product to solve your customer’s problems, right? Who needs to build customer relationships and connect via pain points? Just buy the dang product and we can all move on with our lives.
Except, it never quite works that way, does it? If your website is focused on stuffing keywords and littering back-links all over the interweb all in an attempt to flood your site with prospective traffic, you’re going to find yourself spinning your tires in no time.
That’s because, in the internet era, even the greatest sales pitch has been unseated and replaced by a new monarch of the business world: content.
To put it simply, content is now king. If you have killer content on your website it’ll go farther in building your success than the most convincing sales pitch could ever do. In the era of informed and empowered consumers, the more a potential customer feels they’ve learned and grown from engaging with your brand, the more likely they’ll be to trust you and, ultimately, reward you with their hard-earned money.
How to Create a Website that is a Resource
So how can a company go about turning their website from a giant sales pitch into a well-meaning, impactful online resource? There are actually quite a few ways to go about this process. Let’s break several of the most effective ones down.
Clean Up Your Home Page
You can start your resource-focused overhaul by cleaning up your home page. If this central part of your site feels cluttered or confusing, look for ways to streamline things in order to create a sleek, simple, and easy to navigate homepage. Make sure it clearly defines who you are and includes Calls to Action that invite a visitor to enter further into your site and engage with your content (more on engagement below).
Write for Readers, Not Search Engines
Search engine optimization is important, no one’s arguing that, but even good SEO requires putting the reader first. If you focus on stuffing keywords and links into barely coherent verbiage, you’re going to turn off your readers. Instead, provide quality content and then tailor it to meet the search engine’s needs.
Focus on a Meaningful User Experience
One easy way to put your audience first is to prioritize your site’s user experience (UX). A meaningful user experience is essential to online marketing success and consists of a variety of elements including:
● Loading speed.
● A mobile-first experience.
● Quality customer service.
Several of these are included on this list in further detail, but the important thing here is to focus on the overarching concept of your visitors’ UX as a holistic experience that should take precedence throughout your website building process. In other words, no matter what you’re doing on your site, always consider how it will affect your reader’s overall experience.
Create Exciting, Impactful Content
No business needs to be boring. One way or another you can spice things up in order to provide interesting, valuable content to your readers. This is true whether you’re breaking down the latest tech trends, telling new moms how you survived parenthood, or instructing readers on how to unclog a kitchen sink.
The critical element is that you focus on providing exciting, impactful content for your readers. This can be done by:
● Communicating clearly.
● Providing utilitarian, applicable content.
● Informing and enlightening customers rather than simply selling to them.
Common forms of this kind of quality content marketing include:
● Blog posts.
● Social media content.
● Video content on your website.
● Information-filled emails.
● Providing additional information (such as free e-books) in the form of downloadable content.
Whatever your content strategy shapes up to look like, make sure it’s informative, exciting, and provides genuine quality to your readers.
As you go about creating quality content it’s important to remember that “great content is material that is genuinely engaging and catered to a well-defined audience.” In other words, along with quality, you want to consider your topics and calls to action (CTAs).
For the former, make sure you’re addressing niche topics and questions that hit real-life pain points and will, consequently, genuinely benefit your reader base. For the latter, make sure your CTAs encourage interaction and engagement with your online brand.
Become an Authority in Your Niche
One natural side-effect of a focus on quality content is that you should begin to set yourself up as an authority in your niche. If you can exude the aura of a “go-to” option for your particular industry, you’ll be able to naturally cultivate the image of being a resource rather than just another site with a quick pitch simply looking to make a sale
Tie Your Products to Genuine Solutions
Of course, eventually, you’re going to want to tie things back to your products and services (after all, you need to make a living). When you go to do this, though, you should still prioritize that “quality resource filter” throughout your activities rather than resorting back to those gimmicky sales options. Avoid tacky ads (or even worse, ads that don’t jibe with the website at all), autoplay videos, and pop-ups that get in the way of important information.
<">Instead, focus on providing a genuine value proposition that clearly defines the following in this order:
● Your understanding of the customer’s problem.
● What your product is.
● How it will solve their problem.
● Why it’s superior to your competitors’ solutions.
If you can present your product from the perspective of your customers, you’ll be better able to build a loyal customer base that views you as a genuine resource and not just a black hole inviting them to throw their money in.
Offer an Email Sign-up that Matters
If you have an email list (and who doesn’t?) you should also consider this as you tack towards creating a solid online resource. Don’t use your list simply to send ads and promotions. Look for ways to offer your email list real value. Highlight helpful blog posts, inform them of unique opportunities and find ways to connect, whether it’s as light-hearted as saying hello on a holiday, as important as helping them stay abreast of industry changes, or anything in between.
Provide Spot-on Customer Service
While most of these suggestions focus on your initial interactions with potential customers, another way you can turn your site into a bonafide resource is by providing customer service on the back end as well. If you take the time to provide readily available customer service that focuses on active listening and problem solving, you’ll be able to provide honest help for your customers — and, of course, that will naturally reinforce their perspective of you as a top resource within your niche and encourage them to become repeat buyers.
Be Professional and Purposeful
Finally, take a big step back and consider your site from a 10,000-foot viewpoint. Are you providing a good tone that your audience can relate to or are you talking down to them? Are you using proper grammar and punctuation in order to come across in a professional manner? Have you provided your content in a format that flows well and is easy to skim?
It’s also critical that you publish content in a purposeful way that isn’t focused on rushed production. Craft each part of your site with care and thoughtfulness towards those that will ultimately use it.
Our Final Thoughts on Creating a Genuine Online Resource
As a final exhortation, remember to occasionally ask yourself as you go along “would I want to read this if I was looking for an answer to ‘XYZ’?” It doesn’t matter what your site, industry, style, or niche is if you’re not answering the questions that your audience actually has, you’ll never be able to establish yourself as an authoritative resource.
However, if you can focus on things like user-experience, quality content, and good customer service, you’ll be able to foster a reputation as a company that actually cares about its customers. While this may be a challenge to accomplish in the cold, separated, decidedly not face-to-face online world, it’s certainly a challenge that can be overcome through a commitment to provide an honest resource that improves the lives of your readers for the better — whether they patronize your establishment or not.
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