How many seconds do you have to make a first impression? Is it thirty seconds? Ten? Two?
Science suggests you may have even less than that. Depending on the situation, first impressions are often created in the blink of an eye.
As business owners, we often spend a lot of time and money creating the perfect website. Trouble is, as soon as you release it to the world and carry on with business, it quickly morphs and changes until it’s out of date.
Now let’s define “perfect.”
Did you throw together a few pages from a builder program? Did you trust your brother’s best friend’s girlfriend’s sister to do the job? Did you rely on someone halfway around the world to slap together some content?
Have you read that content?
What does it truly say about your business?
You might say, “I don’t have the time, energy, or money to spend updating my website.”
We counter you with, “maybe you can’t afford NOT to.”
Let’s define “bad web content”
Bad web content comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be:
- Poorly written content thrown together in such a way it makes no sense.
- Boring, copy that drones on and on without saying much of anything.
- Automated, pulled from various resources online, and used solely to fill the white space on your screen.
- Unoriginal, pulled from a master resource and duplicated across the web on many different sites. Franchises are especially bad at this, creating a master site and sharing content with other platforms across the country.
- Poorly planned content doesn’t say much of anything. It doesn’t tell the reader about the business, and it touches on issues that aren’t truly important to the products or services the company offers.
- Too promotional, using every page, every paragraph to try and sell to the reader. People hate to be sold to, especially online. Web presence should be built to educate and entertain, allowing the reader to control how quickly they move to the sale.
- Too optimized, where every page is created for the sole purpose of attracting attention in Google. While this used to work, Google’s algorithms are designed to block content that focuses on keywording rather than quality, readable content.
Google wants web platforms that are high quality, add value to whoever clicks on the link, and grow over time. They rank sites that are built around a keyword and stay true to the topic.
Other ways your content is changing
Do you see yourself in any of the scenarios above?
Even if you work carefully on creating higher quality content, there are still some outside factors that can impact how your content is perceived online.
Mobile performance changes everything
People are using mobile more than ever before. That’s not going to change. When people use their mobile devices to search, they do so differently from a desktop or laptop. The screens are smaller, and they are looking for information in shorter bursts of content.
Content expectations continue to change
People now spend in excess of five hours per day on their smart devices. But even that is changing. What will happen to content as more of us use wearable technology? How about if you have virtual personal assistants like the Amazon Echo or Google Home sitting in your kitchen or on your desk? What’s worked in the past may not be your best course of action for the future. It may be time to re-evaluate how you create your content, and discover new ways to reach out to your audience.
Improve your branding and design
Occasionally, you come across a site that makes you take notice. It has a cluttered layout. It takes too long to load. The graphics are of poor quality. And that music … make it stop. Even trying to find the navigation to lead you to the right information is horrible at best.
They still exist, you can find them. The question is, is it yours? While your site might not be straight out of 2010, even one just a few years old might not take advantage of the best technology. Sites don’t have to be complicated to be customer magnets.
And as we learned above, your site is being judged quickly. People create opinions the moment your site begins to load. If it’s not a modern design, inviting, and ready to help lead people where they want to go, they’ll back away and find someone else.
The bottom line … this is how bad content adds up
A few years ago, Moz conducted a study to analyze over a million pieces of content out on the web. It found that more than 50 percent of those examined had zero backlinks, meaning they weren’t being read or shared beyond the site itself. If people aren’t reading and sharing it, you’re not getting the full benefit of what it could be doing for your marketing strategy.
Think about what it costs to put each piece of content up on your site. You need:
- A writer to create the content
- A marketer to develop a strategy and determine the best content for your business
- A designer to create various platforms online to send your content out to the world, one who should also ensure it stays up to date
- An advertising strategist to help promote your content across platforms, including your social media accounts
What if each of these positions isn’t being performed to their true ability? What if you’re trying to do them all by yourself?
It’s not just your money at risk
For most business owners, it’s a cost thing. There are only so many marketing dollars in the budget, and they look for ways to shave off costs all the time.
Have you ever said, “Why hire someone, we can do that in-house?” Yep, most business owners try and handle things internally whenever possible, even if that means extending their working time by several hours of the day. Or skipping the action altogether.
That can impact something more than your bank account. It can affect your reputation as well. Today, transparency and social responsibility are more important than ever. People want to do business with people they can trust. And if you’re not showcasing who you are, you might just be pushing people away.
Moving towards good content
The most important takeaway for you here is to realize good content is relative to where you are today. Good content often changes, sometimes from day to day.
If you don’t have a content strategy to ensure your goals are clearly defined, chances are it’s costing you more than you are aware of.
Isn’t it time to change that, and reach out to your customer base in a whole new way?