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Recently, a group of British scientists claimed that they had solved the age-old question — which comes first, the chicken or the egg? They determined that the chicken comes first because protein found in the chicken is needed to form the egg. So what does that have to do with marketing communications?
I often hear the question, “What comes first, web content or web design?” It seems like a similar conundrum as the chicken and the egg. While I am not a scientist, I am going to come down squarely on the side of content. If you want your website to be effective, that is, to attract visitors and keep them coming back, you need relevant copy and lots of it. Here are some tips to help you build a content-rich site.
- Start with your marketing message. Before you launch your website, your company should have a strong marketing message that includes the customer pain points your product or service addresses, your solution to those pain points and what makes your solution better than that offered by your competition. Your marketing message should be included on every page of your website. If possible, have your designer incorporate it into the page design.
- Make the case for your message. Your marketing message is a succinct statement that should cause people to ask questions. Answer those questions in your web content.
- Think like your visitors. What information can you share that would be of interest to your website visitors? Learn to think like your customers and prospects. While you may be very proud of your long company history and achievements, your customers are more interested in what you can do for them. Tell them!
- Arrange information so it is easy to find. Once you understand what information your customers and prospects want, make it easy for them to find. This will help you determine which pages you should include on your site and what content you should include on each page. As you develop content, remember that you do not have control over which pages visitors read first or how many pages they will visit. Key information should be included on each page although with different emphasis.
- Use relevant keywords. Website copy serves two purposes — it helps visitors find your site when they do a search and it keeps them interested once they land on your site. Use keywords that visitors are likely to use when searching for the products or services you offer. Use these words frequently and preferably in the first paragraph or two of your text.
- Make your site content rich. If you want your site to be found in a search, add relevant copy often. It is critical that you have a powerful copy management system that allows you to add content on a regular basis. If you write a blog or a newsletter, include that copy on your site as well.
So, what about the egg? Although the chicken may come first, clearly the egg is an important part of the equation. Likewise, design should play an important role in your website, complementing your message and growing your company brand.