The value of website content

We live in a highly visual age and a world where almost everyone has a camera in their pocket. With 2.5+ billion camera phones in use, we have entered a new era of image and content creation where there has been a significant rise in image-centric social networks (Think Pinterest, Instagram).

 

Good content is what sets your website apart from the masses and delivers the right message into the hearts and minds of your customers. 

The key to a successful website is having clear, relevant and keyword-rich content which delivers the right message with power and conviction. Ultimately, content wins the wallets of your customers: If you have effective tag-lines, great design will only enhance their effectiveness.

Tag-lines and central organising principals that are customer-centric (i.e., focuses on the needs and wants of the customer) are essential to capturing the attention of your prospective customers. Your tag-lines combined with key associated visuals must deliver a clear value proposition and include an effective call to action.


Visual Content

Effective content doesn’t always come in the form of text – Humans are visual creatures and images are becoming the “universal language”, hence what we see has an undeniable impact on our success.

Recognising the importance of visual communication for your site is key to your success. First impressions are formed within seconds, and most of the information we consume and interpret is visual. Quality imagery/infographics/video can make your website and your brand stick in the viewer’s mind as professional and credible.

The psychology: Why are we so Image Based?
Our minds react differently to visual stimuli because the human brain deciphers image elements instantly, whilst language is decoded in a linear, sequential manner taking more time to process. Studies reveal that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text


Video

Videos on websites have changed the way important messages are communicated. Website visitors expect to get the information they need without effort. Custom videos
provide a great way to engage audiences and drive important messages in a format that requires less effort than reading large amounts of text. In addition, illustrations, infographics, diagrams and interactive presentations are often used to explain difficult concepts and assist users in their decisions.

The importance of YouTube videos as SEO:

“Video Keywords” are an excellent way to gain ranking in Google search – especially as Google reserves a good chunk of the first page for video results.

YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine and a huge traffic source.

Remember your video content still needs to meet the user criteria of being Useful, Entertaining or of Value but if you can achieve this as well as optimising for Video Keywords, you’ll also get targeted traffic to your video directly from Google.

Getting your video to rank in Google with the right keywords will mean that many monthly searches will show your video in the results …and that will mean more high-quality traffic to your video, and ultimately, to your website.

Sit back vs sit forward content (Or our ‘engagement style’)

Sit-forward media: users who are engaged when they use the web. Those in scanning mode, actively looking for content and using the internet with purpose – their attention span is far shorter and therefore articles should be short, quick and succinct. Videos should be snippets or separated into clips of 30 seconds to a couple of minutes long.

Sit-back media: users who are sitting down and vegging out (watching TV, reading a book or flipping through a magazine). Our attention span is much longer because these types of media are passive and users are in consumption mode.

The reality is that people rarely read web pages word by word; instead, people tend to multi-task on the web, scanning pages, picking out individual words and sentences and only take short breaks.

However a short online video is the perfect break for someone that’s been crunching numbers on a spreadsheet all morning. How long was the last internet video clip you watched -Thirty seconds? Two minutes?


Photography 

Clean & relevant images convey a clear message as to what your company does. The clean lines guide the user through the content, almost like a book itself telling a story. The colourful, symbolic icons clearly convey and breakdown concepts. Everything is consistent to support the information and provide a summary of the information. All these factors contribute to how long a user stays on your site, hence the more chance you have of keeping their interest perked.

Professional images capture authenticity. Photographs not only show the visitor what you offer, but can also make them want to act. People no longer just want to browse a website, they want to experience it.

The more professional, compelling and enticing your site’s photography is, the more business you’re likely to conduct over time. We’re not just talking about pretty pictures, we’re talking about a way to visualise information in a simple way that makes sense to the client

Custom photography makes your website stand out among the rest, and they lend credibility and connect with the visitor on a personal level. Using custom photography also provides the opportunity to incorporate your marketing message and brand into photographs. This will greatly improve the marketing power of your website.

Using good photography of your products and services will help you market to a much larger audience and a higher probability of your content being shared (Plus user shared content = free advertising …WIN – WIN) 

Stock Photography

We recommend that you avoid using stock photography as much as possible. You may think a stock picture is a perfect fit for your website, but there are feasibly thousands of other websites using the exact same picture. Nothing complements and represents your business more effectively than professional and original photographs of your products, customers, team and facilities.

Professional images capture authenticity. Photographs not only show the visitor what you offer, but can also make them want to act. People no longer just want to browse a website, they want to experience it.

If you must, the key to using stock photography is searching for unique and compelling images that are relevant to your brand and your message without looking cliché. Depending on your budget you can choose to use all professional, all stock imagery or a mixture of both.

Lifestyle and Team Photos Convey Culture and Consistency

Hiring a professional to take photos of your team in action will get you authentic results that will convey company culture and consistency. Your face is part of your brand, so a professional head shot will not only look flattering, but will also make your customer see you as more trustworthy, sincere, and well-practiced. These photos can also be used in places such as LinkedIn and Facebook where profile pictures matter most.

The next time you’re tempted to skimp on the professional graphic design, bear in mind that images are anchored into long-term memory (words are processed by our short-term memory). They can be called upon when thinking about a particular business or company. Make sure your business conjures great images along with compelling content.


Written content

Copywriting

Because good content is crucial to the success of your website, consider hiring a professional copywriter to deliver professional copy for your website. Copywriting is the process of professionally written content for marketing purposes.

Your writing does not just have to be professional and neat, it has to be appropriate, too. For the most part, you never know exactly who is going to read your writing, and it will appear inconsiderate if you use humour or technical language that does not have a universal appeal. Writing, poorly received jokes, inaccessible language and unfocused messages will all distance you from the audience and make them feel that you are not writing for them.

Effective, engaging writing is as crucial in presentation as any other aspect of a company’s appearance. There should be a reason for every sentence, your customer or visitor should gain value from all that you say, and that value should encourage interaction with your business.
Writing that does not actively engage the reader serves only to take up space.

Your copy should embody qualities of professionalism that reflect the ethos of the business – Consider how you speak with customers and clients: if you’re impolite or waffle, you’re likely to lose a sale. The same is true if they read writing that represents your business in a substandard way.

When writing to inform, everything you say should add information. With writing to sell, everything you say should encourage action. Your writing should work for you, providing a service, it should never just be there for the sake of it.


Content Marketing

Content Marketing involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including blog posts, news, videos, white papers, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, photos, etc.

Content Marketing is one of the best methodologies for marketing your website and your business. Posting relevant, valuable and frequently updated information on your website will boost search engine optimisation (SEO), help position you as an expert, and allow you to build relationships with your audience. All are priceless benefits for any business.

It is huge plus if you can add fresh, relevant content virtually every day. Every additional page of content is potentially a new entry point (landing page) for your website.

Use Social Media to Promote Content

One of the best ways to promote your content and generate traffic is through social media. To get the most from your content, you must harness the power of social media. For best results, your content should be syndicated, distributed and promoted through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

SEO (Optimising for search)

One of the benefits of publishing good content is that it will increase the number of people who find your website through search engines. Search engines love content, especially frequently updated content, and if you want to get people to your site, it’s important to provide content that people want to see. Similarly, Google and other search engine’s job is to find content for their customers.

It is wise to post relevant and useful information on your website in the form of blog posts, articles or thought leadership pieces. If you are seen as an expert in your industry customers will be more inclined to conduct business with you. When you use content marketing, you establish trusted lines of communication with your customers, and build credibility in the process.


Effective Design

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” In UX design, this is particularly the case, as first impressions are most important. Statistics show that your website typically has between one and five seconds to retain your website visitor . This is hardly enough time to read and process any content. This means that you have to find additional methods to retain the visitor’s attention or lose them to another website.

This is where the design and appearance of your website is relevant. It creates the first impression, captures the attention and engages your visitor to read and process your tag-lines, dive into your website and ultimately help to make purchasing decisions with confidence.

Great design should convey a message in an easy, simple way, transcend language barriers, provide a good summary of information, support and break down complex concepts, and take a fraction of a second to understand in order to engage, excite and inspire.

Effective design works in harmony with your copy; it supports your messaging, strengthens it and delivers it in a visual, easy-to-process manner, allowing your customers to connect with your website on a deeper level. Good design also reinforces your company’s brand and facilitates purchasing decisions. Design must work in tandem with your branding and content in order to emphasise your strengths and core business values, and ultimately direct users to take action.


I want my site to look like Apple / John Lewis / Spotify

A common request we get via our fact finding stage is; “I want my site to look like xxxxx’s”. (Insert a company synonymous with classy design)

It is for these reasons that their design’s work:

Simplicity: Tke a look at either of the aforementioned companies homepage and don’t think about what you see, but what you don’t see. Specifically the homepage, which simply shows off their most recent work / products and provides you with a few easily understood categories to help you get to the information you want to see. Even if your company is not as ubiquitous, you can still use minimal but attractive design to increase usability.

Stunning product shots: A principle reason for cutting back on superfluous graphics is to really showcase what’s important: your products and services. Just look at the shots these companies use; it’s nearly impossible to view a page and not have your eyes focus on the images. There are several things that make these products look so incredible. The first is that they are obviously pristine. Chalk this one up to digital imaging experts. The combination is a mixture of photography, and Photoshop to ensure that the images are pristine and overwhelmingly impressive.

Consistency & attention to detail: the general look or “brand essence” is applied across every single thing they design. Every little piece of their site is finessed into perfection. Never fall into the trap of saying “no one will notice” or “that’s good enough” It is often the margin of time spent on the tiniest details that separate the good websites from the great ones.

Strong grid: Well designed, responsive websites adhere to a strict grid structure; whether simple or complicated, it’s there. There is a ton going on, but it somehow seems attractive instead of overwhelming. Breaking sporadic information up into manageable cells drastically reduces visual clutter and confusion.

 

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