You may, like me have set up a business website to mark the start of your new business venture.
And full of hope and enthusiasm, you may have lavished time and energy on carefully chosen words to describe all that your company has to offer.
You may have hired a web designer and spent many hours poring over and tweaking web designs, suggesting changes, supplying images and adding a few more finishing touches here and there.
Then finally, your new pride and joy was ready. You launched your shiny new website.
I did just that, but almost two years later, the website remained as it was the day it launched, a perfectly preserved snapshot of my work and services as they were on the day the site went live.
I had fallen into the classic trap of focusing on launching a website, and seeing the launch as an end to the website process, when in fact it should have been just the beginning.
I should have planned for the next stage of an essential part of web content work: regular updates.
Unfortunately the website – www.simply-write.co.uk – is still as it was, but I am in the process of overhauling it.
In readiness for the new website, I’ve been working on some web content ideas – and I would like to share these with you.
How to make your website a rich source of content
1) Set up a content update calendar
Draw up a list of your products or services (or, if yours is a hobby or personal website, put together a list of topics you cover).
Mark down in your diary key dates that relate to your area of work or interest, for example, if you run bi-monthly events, your online publicity should be scheduled to take place well in advance of the event – with clear information about the event, what it will be about and reasons to attend, who will be attending, sponsors – and of course the venue, date, cost and how to book.
Plan so that you publish regular information on each of these topics in the run-up to your event. You could also schedule in a slot for publishing some information you would like to share after each event has taken place.
If your website does not have ‘set’ event dates, create them. For example, if your website is about unusual wild flowers in a particular region or country, a ‘flower of the week’ or a ‘flower of the month’ feature, could be a perfect fit for your audience.
Build your updates around this ‘featured slot’. Again, mark these dates in your diary – and plan ahead, so that you know which flower you will be featuring in each slot and have all the information you need to write your feature or have someone write it for you.
Do remember to stick to your content update promises so as not to disappoint your web visitors. If you are going to have a ‘pick of the week’, make sure it is weekly.
If you can not commit to such regular updates, rebrand the feature as a ‘pick of the month’, ‘pick of the season’ etc.
2) Add news – but add value
Depending on the type of website you run, regular industry news could be a useful feature to add, but find a way to make that item of news your own.
Pick a key item of industry news – e.g. ‘my story of the week’, and use the slot to discuss that item of news, adding your own slant or insights to it.
Add links to other news stories that you think your readers may find interesting.
Plagiarism aside, it’s worth remembering that rewording news stories published elsewhere may not add that much value. It is your view as a specialist, or as a keen hobbyist that counts!
3) Talk about what you offer
Don’t forget that the most obvious source of information is you. You know more than anyone about your products, services or views about your hobby, so why not use that knowledge?
This is where a blog (and if you don’t have one already, explore setting one up), can be very useful.
Use your blog to share information about your products or services or viewpoints, and talk about you. Give your web visitors an insight into who you are.
If your blog is separate to your site, add a few links (but don’t go overboard) to your main website), but always add these links in context.
No single formula is right for everyone, but sharing what you are doing will help your web visitors to build up a better picture about what you have to offer, and it will make your website a more rich source of content.
Post written by DEBBIE THOMAS on 6 February 2011.