As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m a Words Person. Not a Numbers Person – as my son is keen on reminding me – and rarely even a Pictures Person – if you’re going to stick me in an art gallery, you’re going to have to explain to me what I’m looking at. But give me words – anyone’s words; Shakespeare’s, Duffy’s, Attwood’s, hell, even Val McDermid’s – and I’m in heaven.
I love reading words and I love writing words. Which is probably a good job, considering I decided to be an SEO copywriter. I will literally read or write anything; novels, blogs, plays, eBooks, poetry, white papers – if you stick a box of corn flakes in front of me, I’ll even read that. Word for word. I’m not even joking. (And I’ll correct its grammar, but that’s a different story!)
But, having said that, I’m well aware that, whilst I’m not exactly alone in this love of all things written, it is not a truth universally acknowledged. There are many other Words People in the world, but there are also many other Numbers People and many other Pictures People too.
And there are some people who are Words, Numbers AND Pictures People, but we’ll not dwell on them.
People consume information in different ways, and algorithms – or the techy folk who created them at least – know this, and hence, if you want your content to succeed, you have to present your information in as many different ways as possible. That means that, for all the words, you need to have the pictures too. Words and Pictures. Simples.
Does Anyone Remember Words and Pictures?
Now, before we go any further, we must just address the elephant in the room; who remembers Words and Pictures?
If you were a child in the 70s or 80s, like me, then Words and Pictures was a seminal part of weekday mornings. That theme tune! That magic pencil that wrote all by itself! I loved that show!
Anyway, back to the blog…
Why Do I Need To Upload Content To My Website?
OK, so I’m not going to go on for too long about why words are important…if you’ve ever had a conversation with any of the GrowTraffic team, or read any of our blogs, or looked at anything on our website, you will know why words are important.
To put it very briefly, Google (and obviously by ‘Google’ I mean all search engine algorithms; please forgive the industry shorthand) wants to know that, if it returns your website to someone who has put a search query into their search engine, it is not going to be giving them an out-of-date website with loads of old, irrelevant information on there.
It also wants to know that it is giving the searcher a website packed with information that will answer not only the question they’ve just asked, but the questions they’re going to ask next (we call this ‘search intent’) and that the information is provided by someone who knows what they’re talking about and does this, day-in-day-out.
How does Google judge this? Amongst about a billion other things (we’ll not worry about those at the minute), by seeing how often you upload content to your website, how relevant that content is to your audience, how well it relates to what else is on your website and what you do for your day job, and how well people engage with your content online (by which I mainly mean on social media).
And hence we have the massive explosion in recent years of content marketing; if you want to grow your business online and find new customers, you need to be producing content regularly, but you need to be producing high quality content that your customer base is actually engaging with. Easy peasy!
What Types Of Content Are Available Online?
Historically – and by historically I’m talking about 5 or 6 years ago (that’s ancient history in internet terms!) – the main type of content we were uploading to our websites was still words. Even up until just a few years ago, the internet was very text heavy, mainly because the technology to quickly and easily display large pictures – and especially video content – just wasn’t up to scratch.
Just to show you an example, take a look at the evolution of the BBC website below, from February 2005, to September 2013, to today;
You can see how the front page of one of the biggest websites in the world has gone from only having a few, very small images, to slightly larger images but still dominated by text, to almost completely comprised of images and videos with very little text at all.
Go and log on to the BBC’s website now, and you’ll see what I mean; there’s very little text.
As the technology has developed, and broadband speeds have increased, the ability to display images and videos has improved, and as a result the algorithms have got better at recognising and rewarding content that is presented in a variety of different ways.
The upshot is that the internet is a much more colourful, more moving place than it ever used to be. No longer do websites look like online newspapers, with columns of text and just a few tiny pictures, instead they are now vibrant and moving, and information can be consumed in whichever way you, as the consumer, want it to be.
So, for example, if you want to learn about how to put up a shelf in your kitchen (a skill I have never learned, I might add), you can now go online and do it in seconds, plus you can do it in whichever way is best for you.
If you like written instructions that you could maybe print off and take back to your workspace with you, you could find a written blog that will explain it to you in words. However, if reading is not your thing, then you could find the same instructions in picture form, maybe in an infographic, with each step photographed or drawn for you to follow.
You could even go straight to YouTube and find a video that will show you in 3 minutes how to put up said shelf.
Basically, whatever you’re trying to learn and whatever type of learner you are, chances are you will now be able to find what you need online, in whichever way is best for you.
Should I Still Upload Text To My Website?
Yes. And lots of it.
Fortunately for we copywriters, text is still very important; all the search engine algorithms still prioritise text, so it’s important that you have it and have plenty of it.
And don’t let your web developers convince you that a sleek design with minimal text is the most important thing (yes web developers, I’m talking to you too here!); a good fresh design that makes a website easy to navigate and provides a great user experience is obviously crucial, but so is having plenty of information on your web pages.
In fact, if you have fewer than 250 words on a web page (OK, the actual number of words is debated, but 250 is a good rule of thumb), then the chances are Google will class that content as ‘thin’. Which is Google-speak for not enough.
Hence, you need to aim to have about 1000 words of text on every single page of your website. It doesn’t have to all be in one big chunk – in fact, it would be much better if it isn’t – but it needs to be there in one way or another.
What’s more, you need to be uploading new text regularly to your website; whether that be in the form of blogs, landing pages, new web pages, adding to existing web pages, creating knowledge bank articles, white papers or even eBooks, I don’t care what it is, just get it up there.
And still, even in today’s world, the bigger your word count is, the better. We’ve actually run experiments in recent months (because that’s the sort of sad content geeks we are) and it’s still true that, the more lengthy and meaty your content is, the quicker and better your rankings will improve.
Why do you think I keep writing blogs this long?
Hence, if you want to be able to grow your website’s rankings and traffic, you need to be uploading new written content to your website at the very least every single week, and more frequently if you want to see an improvement faster.
What Types Of Content Should I Be Uploading To My Website?
However – and you can probably guess already what I’m going to say here – text is not the only type of content you should be uploading to your website if you want to grow your online profile. In fact, the short answer to the above question is…as many types of content as you can manage!
As I’ve already said, the search engine algorithms are programmed to pick up content that is informative, engaging, helpful or entertaining, plus they want to see it presented in a variety of ways.
Exactly how they prioritise the different types has always been a secret known only to the Gods of Google, however it’s been fairly well recognised for a while now in SEO circles that videos and images get just as much credit as text content.
Plus, it gives you more interesting and appealing content to share on your social media platforms.
Hence, if you want your website to be given the chance of ranking, you need to get a variety of content up there.
For starters, you should never just upload any piece of text without at least having some images accompanying it. Every blog post needs to have a title graphic and several images either illustrating it or further explaining it. Like this one, for example. Those pictures aren’t just there to entertain you…although this cat meme is fairly entertaining;
Yeah. Told you.
Secondly, try to present your content in multiple formats, to take into account the different types of ways in which people learn and consume information. For example, if you’ve got a video on your website – great – but make sure you’ve also got a transcript of the text underneath. Some people like to watch, some people like to read.
Similarly, if you’re putting up an infographic, stick a bit of text underneath or above to explain what it’s all about, or how best to use it. The same if you’re uploading a PDF, or a step-by-step guide in pictures.
The beauty of this is that it gives you a double whammy in benefits, because not only do you get your content presented to your reader in the best format for them, but you also ensure that particular page has a decent word count on it. Hence, you get the brownie points for having multi-media and also for having text, so no penalisation for having pages with thin content. It’s win-win.
The other benefit of this is that it means you can turn one piece of content into multiple pieces of content. Take for example our ‘how to put up a kitchen shelf’ scenario; from just that one piece of information you could create;
- an instructional video on how to put up a shelf
- a step-by-step photographic guide made into an infographic
- a written point-to-point ‘how to’ guide for your knowledge bank
- a live webinar, with an interactive shelf-putting-up element
- an eBook on the history of putting up shelves and the common pitfalls
- a Q&A session with well know shelf-putter-uppers
- a questionnaire with a report on all the shelf-related calamities in the UK in the past decade, and the changing shelf trends
- a blog, all about the things you’ve learned whilst creating your shelf content. With pictures. AND
- several social media posts and campaigns, where you engage with your shelf buddies to credit those who have done brilliantly and deride those who haven’t mastered the art of putting up shelves yet.
You see, when you start getting creative and thinking a little strategically, it’s easy to create lots of different content from one single idea, and that way you serve your audience better and please the search engines at the same time. Plus, you’re much more likely to get visitors coming back time and again to your website, which in turn will boost your rankings and your website’s performance.
How Do I Create Different Types Of Content For My Website?
Now before you panic about all these different types of content you suddenly need to produce for your website, don’t! Yes, OK, you might never have designed an infographic before and you have no idea where to start, but it’s fine.
Here are our top 5 tips on how to create content without breaking the bank or your mind;
- Use an online platform. There are millions of free ones out there that are designed for this very thing, so just Google what it is you want to do. For e.g. Canva is a great simple tool for creating easy graphics, whilst Magisto is fab for editing videos quickly and painlessly.
- Don’t do it all in one go. You don’t have to create 10 types of content each time you want to upload something, so create 1 type of content now, then create the rest over time. It means you can do it in stages, but it also means you can revisit old content and reuse it – or update it – as required.
- Don’t stress about quality. This comes with a caveat, because obviously we don’t want you to upload rubbish content to your website, but don’t get too hung up on making it perfect all the time. If you’ve taken a video on your mobile phone and it does the job, stick it up there.
- Get someone else to do it. OK, so if you’re great at doing words but have no idea where to start with pictures, ask someone else in the office to do your graphics for you. Spread the responsibility around your staff or friends and family, and utilise the best skills of each person you ask.
- Get the professionals in. If this really isn’t your forte and the thought of it alone is making you feel sick, then just pay the professionals to do it. Most digital marketing agencies these days specialise in creating lots of content that will be unique to you and tailored to your specific audience, so if they know what they’re doing, let them do it.
As I’ve said before, the main thing is that you create content for your website; I don’t care how you do it, just find a way and do it.
It’s no longer an option for you to just sit on your website and expect your customers to find you; if you want a website that generates leads and brings you new business, you need to be out there improving and then promoting your website to the best of your abilities.
Because I’ll tell you what, you can bet your bottom dollar your competitors are on there doing it right now, and they’re bagsying your customers of tomorrow.
Get In Touch
If you’d like to find out more about how to create great, informative and engaging content for your website – or if you’d like us to take all the worry and stress out of your hands and just do it for you – then please get in touch with GrowTraffic today.
We’ve helped hundreds of SMEs to find new customers and grow their profile online, so we can help you do the same thing.
You can email us at [email protected] or phone us on 0161 706 0012.