When I am presenting a live seminar, I often ask the audience, “How often would you return to Facebook if every time you visited that site, you were shown the exact same information in your newsfeed?” You go there in the morning and you see certain posts from selected friends. Then you return in the afternoon and you see the exact same posts from the exact same friends. So you return tomorrow and see the exact same posts from the same friends again. The same thing happens next week, and then next month. Every single time you visit Facebook, nothing has changed. How often would you keep going back to this site? Seldom if ever right? You’ve already seen this information and there is nothing new, so you move on.
Then I pose the question, “What makes you think your site is any different?” If every time a potential customer visits your site and nothing has changed for weeks, months, or even years, what possible reason do they have to keep returning to your site? The simple truth is, your site is no different than Facebook. That is why all the major sites like Amazon, YouTube and others are constantly updating their sites. Often, these sites not only change their content on a continuous basis, but they personalise it for each and every person who visits. In order to attract and retain customers, these sites are dynamic, providing a constant and ever-changing stream of content.
Yet, most small businesses are under the impression that they can just create a website once and “It is done.” Perhaps they will update every 3 or 4 years! Is it any wonder that you aren’t getting traffic to your site? I recently conducted a survey and verified these results.
In response to the question, “How often do you visit this site?” 84% of the respondents said they visited Facebook either more than once a day or several times per week. But business sites are visited “Never, Seldom, or Occasionally” a whopping 92% of the time. So, it seems that sites which have more frequent content updates are visited more frequently.
You hear top marketers say things like Gary Vaynerchuk saying, “The more content I put out, the luckier I seem to get.” And Bill Gates said, “Content is King.” It seems like all anyone talks about is content, content, and more content. So, you decide to put out a ton of content, yet all you hear is crickets. As a result, you give up, and stop spending so much time creating content – you’ve got better things to do, right? If no one is reading your content (or watching it or listening to it), is it worth it?
The first thing is to make sure that you have a strategy. Most marketers (73%) have no strategy for creating content. They just post whatever they want whenever they want. This makes it easy for your readers to ignore what you are posting. Consistency is crucial if you want to be successful online. Most likely, you are not publishing often enough. When it comes to uploading content, quality usually beats quantity. But, if you’re just posting once a month, you’re going to struggle to grab any real attention. Don’t confuse readers with a sales pitch. Your content shouldn’t sell, it should inform. You are trying to build trust with your content.
Let’s say you are selling a gourmet food product, like sauces and spices. You should be creating weekly content telling people how to use your glazes or spices as rubs. Provide a new recipe each week. Teach them how to make a great meal using your products. Interview customers who have come up with some creative ways to use what you are offering. The fact is that you absolutely MUST keep going and keep putting out new content. I have seen first hand that it often takes months or even years to gain a following.
Next, make sure you are keeping people on your site. Most websites are practically begging people to leave quickly.
You’ve probably been told to make your content scannable. This is about the worst thing you can do if you want people to spend time on your page. Think about it. How long does it take you to scan an article?
Instead you want to give the perception that your content is scannable.
Most readers try to skim marketing content rather than investing the time to read it. They look for the points that stand out, such as subheads, callouts and images to get the gist of your article. If your reader can successfully do this, then there’s no reason to actually read it. You obviously don’t want that.
But if your article is a wall of text, it will look like too much work, and people won’t read that either.
What you need to do is give your content the appearance that it is scannable and use those elements to draw readers in.
You might also try using subheads within your copy.
This is a good way to break up long blocks of text and make your article appear easier to read. But remember, if you want to get visitors to come back to your site over and over again, and then to stay on your site for 20 minutes or more, you must follow the example of Facebook and other leading websites. As tony Robbins is fond of saying, “success leaves clues.” Emulate the leaders and product a ton of content. And if you don’t have the time or energy to do it yourself, get others to create content for you (again, much live Facebook, YouTube, amazon, and other leading sites do.) Come to think of it, this is a guest post, so I just created content for this site – you can do the same!
About the author
Greg Jameson is the president of WebStoresLtd.com, a leading ecommerce and internet marketing firm. He blogs weekly and produces podcasts weekly (20MinutesofInfluence.com). In addition to helping others sell more online by building ecommerce websites for his customers and marketing them with digital advertising services, he has created a series of online courses to teach you how to do this you’re your business. You can connect with Greg on most social media platforms at gregjameson.com/connect/.