Your guide to a successful online business!

In February, we asked our customers on our Facebook fan page what they thought to be the most important elements that are critical to a business website in 2013. Whilst the results were broad, it was clear from those we asked, that engaging content, social sharing links and easy to find contact information were vital to the success of any website.

We take a look at these elements in more detail to show how they can contribute in making the most effective website for your business.

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Content is Still King

Content in all of its forms is incredibly important for any website, but especially for a small business. The website is the most important part of your business, because generally it is the first point of contact that a prospective customer will have with you. It may be an old cliché, but first impressions are vital.

If you are selling products, having clear information on these offerings is vital. If you are providing a service, having a blog or a testimonial page may be more relevant. These elements should range from standard text pages, to image libraries as well as incorporating the growing trend of video. Regardless of the purpose of your website, you need to provide content that is relevant and important to your audience.

This content must also be unique. Why would somebody come to your website if they can get the information elsewhere? Driving people to your website is all well and good, but if they are falling off the other end then what is the point? Remember, content is essential to customer acquisition and retention.

There can be no hiding from the fact that producing content is one the biggest challenges for small businesses. According to a 2011 HiveFire Annual Content Curration Adoption Survey, creating original content and having the time do it was by far the most challenging aspect.

However, this should not deter you. Putting serious effort into your content will be rewarded by search engines. For example, search engine algorithms factor a website size in their rankings, thus, if you have more pages it is more likely that search engines will value you higher. Added to this, make sure that your content is specific to a targeted keyword or phrase. This will create relevancy for a search engine and in time, should deliver higher traffic to your website.

What shouldn’t be underestimated is being aware of what your content is saying about you and your business. If content is sloppy, that is how your business will be perceived. You have to create entertaining, engaging and interesting content. A good tip is to look at the content from the perspective of your audience, as if you had just landed on your website. Would you be enticed by your offering? If not, write from the customers’ perspective and change your focus.

So what do the stats say?

  • Total spending on branded content per company in 2012 rose by 5% and is gaining a larger share of corporate budgets
  • B2B marketers are spending 33% of their marketing budgets on content marketing, which is up from 26% in 2011
  • 83% of B2B content marketers use articles on their website
  • 74% of B2B marketers use content marketing to achieve customer acquisition goals

Content in all of its forms is still the most important element to a business website. Remember to keep your audience interested in your offering by continually offering unique content that will keep them interested in what you are doing and most importantly, returning to your website.

Next time we look at how important social sharing has become to small businesses and the importance of allowing customers to share as much as your content as possible.

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