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20 ideas for website content

If you didn't already know, updating your website regularly is important.

But in case you have a sneaking sense of cynicism about whether it's worth all the effort, here's a summary of why it's really important...

  • It shows your business is active and takes an interest in communicating with your customers in a way that helps them and keeps them informed
  • It can answer a whole lot of questions potential customers may have about you and your business
  • You can demonstrate your expertise and knowledge
  • It makes it easier for potential customers to choose you (over your competitors)
  • Google likes regular content – so it is absolutely imperative for search optimisation
  • Google also likes sites with lots of helpful, unique content – the more pages you have, the more 'hooks' you have in the search engine sea
  • Sales lead times can be long – regular content encourages people to return because they know they will find something new, or you can use it to fill your email newsletters
  • You are increasing the likelihood that people will find something that they are willing to share, comment on or link to.
  • Did we mention it is critically important for SEO?

Google have changed the way search works to improve results for 'natural language' information search phrases. What this means that instead of focusing on single keywords your website (and it's content) should focus on what the searcher wants to know.

This tends to be questions like 'What is the best type of wool to use for knitting socks', instead of what you want to sell them, like 'Wool Supplies”. If you want to read more about this change in detail, here is an explanation by Mike Morgan.

Of course you will already have the basics of your content in terms of descriptions of your services and products (otherwise, you don't really have a website!). Hopefully you have something about who your company is etc.

Ok, so now you know it's important, here is some inspiration for content you can add to your site.

Here are the 15* 20 content ideas for your website

1. Industry news

You know more than most other people about what is happening in your industry – whether it be property, finance, building, technology, tourism or whichever market niche you occupy.

Link to news items about the latest buzz in your industry. But for real impact, add your ten cents worth on top to demonstrate that you are connected to the latest trends and can provide insight into what's happening.

You could also do a weekly/monthly round-up of what's been happening or write a review or round-up of a recent industry event.

2. Your own company news

If you have just won an award, partnered with a charity or completed a big project – let people know. It gives you an opportunity to show case your skills and the kind of businesses that you work with.

New product (or version of one)? New colours? New features? Put a brief article about it on your site!

Do work in the community? Sponsor and event? Tell people about it!

As an alternative, this kind of content makes for good articles to release via Public Relations websites, which of course helps with SEO.

3. Case studies and testimonials

These can take some time to write, but are another great way to show case your company's skills and expertise. Include a description of the scenario or problem the customer had, how you fixed it and what happened as a result.

The idea is that a potential customer will relate to the problem, and want the solution!

Testimonials tend to be short, so don't add an awful lot of value but keep adding them to your site and you will build up a nice story about how fabulous you are in the eyes of your customers.

4. Opinion pieces

A blog post can be a bit more conversational than other types of content, although it doesn't make posts easier to write! Blog posts can be opinion pieces, helpful how to's, or industry insights. Think of who in your organisation has something to say about a topic related to what your business does.

You can also invite outside experts to contribute blog posts if they can provide something relevant to or of interest to your audience. An often used tactic is to comment on someone else's blog, then add your own experience as a comment to back up or illustrate the main points.

Or, you could disagree with the author altogether.

5. Resources

Create content that is useful to people:

  • Calculators - GST calculators, mortgage repayment calculators etc
  • Checklists – for people to print out and use
  • Templates

If you are an avid reader of other people's blogs - create a list of blogs that are the definitive go-to resource on a topic.

6. FAQs

Every time your staff gets a question via email or the phone, it is a potential opportunity or inspiration for content to be added to your website – whether in FAQ form or as a blog post or article.

Get your customer service or sales reps or even the receptionist to note down the most common questions they get asked and create content that answers these questions. They may already have an FAQ list that can be used and adapted to suit.

FAQs are very useful in helping your site visitors find information they need, phrased in the way they would ask for it.

7. Training materials and guides

If you have any guides that you frequently print out and send or email to your customers – these are great sources of material to convert to website content.

If you have a product that needs instructions – put them on your website. Not only is this helpful for people, it will free up your customer service staff.

This information could be in the form of text, pictures or infographics or video – whichever is the best way to communicate what you are trying to tell them.

8. How to's

How to's can encompass any single detail related to your product, service or industry. Even better if it is something quite simple that everyone wants to know - like our Google Adwords – how to get a copy of your invoice.

You could also split them between different skill levels – for example “The beginners guide to SEO” versus “How to become an expert in local SEO”

Or include inventive ways your customers have used your product that get even more out of it than expected or gets used in a quirky way.

9. Troubleshooting – how to fix problems

If you have a product or service that requires a bit of know-how to get working properly, or has things that new users frequently get wrong, add a list of common issues such as:

  • How to replace your car headlight bulbs

  • What to do if your Samsung Galaxy S won't connect to your Wi Fi

  • How to free up storage on your iPhone

  • How to fix a hacked Joomla website

  • How to fix database connection errors

10. Look to your competitors

If you've run out of ideas, check out what your competition is doing – but DON'T COPY! Use it as a way of seeing your industry through a fresh pair of eyes.

You may realise that there is something missing from your site, or something you can do better or in a slightly different/unique way.

11. Interview an expert

It may be that within your own team, you have a resident expert in some aspect of your business, your wider industry or even something completely unique and different.

Interview them to get the answer and unique view on common questions about their area of expertise.

You may have a partner that you work with regularly or customer that would be happy to be interviewed – this raises their profile and they can publish the content on their own website (with a link to yours – this is helpful for SEO as well!)

12. Surveys and statistics

If you gather a lot of research in the course of your business, or have access to data you could report it as an infographic to make it interesting, or just as plain content.

If you don't you could go to publicly available data from the government and pull it together in a way that most people wouldn't think of (or bother to).

13. A day in the life of...

A day in the life of a web developer? Hmm...there are probably more glamorous jobs to read about! Whatever your job or industry there may be a role within your organisation that would make interesting reading to someone else.

Use it as a way to describe what you or your staff do for your customers.

14. Something nearly everyone disagrees with you about

In an industry, you may have an idea or perspective that is out of line with the 'accepted' view or position. For example:

Many web companies say a content management system (CMS) means website owners can update the site themselves and don't having to know any HTML. The last bit may be true, and a CMS makes a website easier to update, sure – but just because you can it doesn't mean you should.

CMS's are responsible for a lot of the badly written, irrelevant, outdated, unfocused and otherwise poor quality content on websites. Commonly it's left to someone that has no idea about web marketing, content writing, usability or at times, simple grammar!

Ok, I'll quit before I get carried away on that one!

15. Myths and Misconceptions

For every accepted wisdom about something, there is a misconception.

For years I thought that a retailer HAD to sell me something at the advertised price. Turns out, they can simply choose not to enter into the sale agreement on that basis. Although, that belief allowed me to talk my way into getting a few cheap items that had been miss-labelled at the wrong price!

If you find yourself shaking your head and saying "I lot of people make that mistake" then you have the beginnings of some content there.

Alternatively you can pull a few together as a topic such as "10 design mistakes people make on websites", although positive lists such as "10 ways to grow your website visitors" are more useful in the long run.

16. Famous people and culture themes

You can get creative in how you illustrate a point starting with the formula heading 'What x can teach you about y”. For example:

  • What my ginger cat taught me about managing expectations
  • What you can learn about branding from Lady Gaga
  • What Steve Jobs taught us about design

You can be tongue in cheek or quite controversial with this one!

17. Lists of stuff

Just like this one

  • 5 ways to increase followers on Twitter
  • Top 3 movie review sites
  • 4 apps for your iPhone to make your day easier
  • 10 best image editing tools

Recently we wrote 25 free image sources for your blog or website. A client asked us where they could get free images, so rather than just send a few via email, we wrote a blog about it!

18. Before and after case studies and images

If your business involves fixing up or installing something – builders, plumbers, hairdressers, car repairs, websites etc. you can publish articles with before and after images.

Go one step further and include descriptions of how the customer felt before you waved your magic wand and made it better – and how they felt afterwards.

19. Product Reviews

You don't have to sell a product yourself to review one.

Many companies use products (especially software) that they use in the course of their work, or recommend to customers

So you can write a review about that product. If you do, don't just write a list of features – talk about what is good and bad about it.

For example, we use Hootesuite for social media so we could write about that if we ever ran out of ideas for new content (hasn't happened yet, but you never know!)

20. Use a nifty idea generator

If all else fails, or you have an idea but need to get a bit of help making your content a bit more interesting, there are always the idea generators.

These will give you a title for to get you going

  • Hubspot's blog topic generator
  • Portent's content idea generator – simple but with a bit of fun thrown in
  • Contentforest.com – idea generator gives you tons of ideas just from a single word
  • Buzzsumo is a tool that will tell you what recent articles have been popular on social media. To get really specific you'll need the paid plan, but as a way to get started, it does a pretty good job.

Get the idea?

Ok, hopefully you are now brimming with inspiration! This list should give you a virtually endless supply of content ideas for your website. And once you get going, you can start mixing it up with video, images and infographics.

All you have to do is start.

* This post is an updated version of "15 ideas for website content".

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Client words...

Essentee redesigned my website. The new site looks professional and everyone who has seen it says it looks great! Because there is more content on the site, it shows off a broader product range. This redesign has been in conjunction with ongoing search optimisation work Essentee has been doing for us.

Immediately after the new site went live we began to get enquiries from new customers!

Read more ...