“The single most important thing websites can offer to their users is content that those users will find valuable.” – The Elements of User Experience, Jesse James Garrett
We love this quote. But, what does “valuable” actually mean? According to the dictionary, the word “valuable” means, “possessing qualities, which are useful.” In the world of websites, valuable translates into content that people find useful. Such as:
- Information that connects to users
- Links that keep users engaged
- A voice that users remember
Your website content is your personal greeting to potential or existing customers. It’s your introduction; your opportunity to connect one-on-one; your 24/7 sales force. Heck, it could even be considered your dating profile.
When searching for a company online, whether a doctor, hair salon, or gym, people want to find details to help them make informed decisions. They want to find the who, what, and why from the content you provide. As content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi always says, “Your content is a promise to your customer in some way.”
1. Make a good impression
As the saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. When you call someone and get an automated voice message, it feels impersonal doesn’t it? The same is certainly true with your website content. No one relates to cookie cutter, unoriginal messages. Creating custom, compelling content will set you apart from the competition and make a memorable impression. Don’t just think about your home page content either, although that’s important. Visitors can land on your site from any page, depending on what they’re searching for.
2. Create an experience
Good brands create experiences that make people want to come back for more. Your website content should do the same thing. Give visitors something to talk about, recommend and share. Look at the difference between flying Virgin Atlantic vs. Southwest, or eating a burger at McDonald’s vs. Peter Luger’s. From the flight attendant’s tone to the condiments on the table, each brand creates a distinct experience that is synonymous with their name and memorable by customers. This experience should carry over to your online presence.
The Method website does a great job of creating a memorable user experience through content. Its blog contains topics that Method consumers find interesting, such as posts about environmentally friendly flooring and tips for being more energy efficient. It uses a distinct voice that reflects the Method brand in every link to keep users engaged and moving through the site. Who doesn’t chuckle and want to know more after reading links like “Sparkling clean dishes and friendly to fishes” or “cleans like a mother.” And, it includes several ways for users to experience and share information about the brand through a “people against dirty” community.
3. Offer something valuable
Creating compelling website content is important, but offering people something of value makes you stand out from the competition. As part of your website experience, provide something extra that relates to your business such as a coupon, web-only offer, or downloadable white paper. Being a giver will position you as a beneficial resource and add value to your website.
4. Build a relationship
Use your website content to make a connection and build trust. Your website is often the first encounter that people you haven’t met (but may want to know) will have with your brand. You may never meet every customer face-to-face, but you can do business with them and develop an ongoing relationship through your website. Your content can foster a connection from the start. Set your brand up for love at first sight with content that is: