Learn to Compete Favorably Online

The TEAM Approach to Website Content Updates (not what you think)

by Casey  • June 20, 2017 at 8:52 AM

website content updates.jpg

Tip #1: Nobody cares about your “industry leading expertise” or your “focus on great customer service”. 

The focus of your content always has to be “What are my website visitors interested in?” Always. It’s all that matters. The opposite approach, which is far more common (and totally wrong) seems to focus on the question “What do I want to tell website visitors?”. Here’s some extra help on Defining Your Company’s Niche Market and Identifying Your Buyer Personas.

The reality is that interesting and well optimized content go hand in hand - I mean interesting for visitors, not you. Search engines like what your target users like. Google’s clientele are the humans looking for stuff online…they don’t care about you or your website. You can take our word for it, or brush up on the basics with this article What is Search Engine Optimization?.

Okay, we’ve hammered home the idea that you need to focus on what others are interested in. Here’s how to do it.

Think T-E-A-M

These are the questions that website visitors will be subconsciously asking themselves as they look over your website. Therefore, it’s what you should focus on:

Trust - are you full of crap or not?

If you want your visitors to trust you and your site, include examples of your successful projects. Go ahead. Brag a little. You’ll want your potential customers to know how great you are! You can add client testimonials and reviews to really drive the point home

Expertise - Do you know your stuff?

If you want your site to show you know what you are talking about, make sure the content you publish is comprehensive and relevant to your topic.

Authority - Why should anyone listen to you?

When demonstrating authority, include links that people will share and learn from.

Maintenance - is your content regularly updated or neglected?

Stay on top of editing and refreshing your content to stay relevant.

 

7 Step Process for Effective Website Content Updates

Okay, now we agree in principle that we're focusing on the user, not ourselves in producing content. Here's how to get it done on your own website:


1. Define and Measure Conversions
2. Analyze Current Performance
3. 
Inventory Your Content and Earmark Updates
4. Get User Feedback
5. Apply Your Strategy
6. Update Your Content
7. Test Changes

 

 

1. Define and Measure Conversions

By now you are probably fairly familiar with Google Analytics and all of the great ways it can help you and your company, and at this point, you’ve most like already entered your goals. However, it’s not going to hurt to do it again.

Start out by listing the conversions that you want performed on your site. There may be some new ones since you’ve updated last…or maybe you left something out the first time around.

Conversions are extremely important for measuring and delivering value on your website. Here are a few examples:

  • Phone calls
  • Store locators
  • Page views
  • Events
  • Destinations
  • Appointments scheduled
  • Subscribers
  • Videos viewed

After defining your conversions, your IT department can easily match your conversions and micro-conversations with simple online actions.

With different conversions come different goals. Set and measure your goals with the help of Google Analytics or more robust systems like Hubspot. For example, "Event Goals" can track simple things on your site such as clicks and downloads. Track any time a visitor checks out your pages, and which pages they are most interested in.

Understanding what’s working and what isn’t working so well will help to inform future website design decisions down the line. Here’s another article about how value driven website design works.

Ebook Download: Value Driven Website Design

2. Analyze Current Performance

In order to analyze your site’s performance, you'll need to regularly check your analytics and see exactly what people are doing when they check out your site.

Look to see what keywords are being used to create organic search traffic, social traffic, and any other types of traffic. These analytics will tell you which pages your visitors are looking at and how long they are looking. This data will help you decide what your priorities are and what your next steps will be.

 

3. Inventory Your Content and Earmark Updates

Let’s face it, organization isn't everyone’s forte. However, you can easily pinpoint the flow of your pages, and end up with a clear idea of which content needs to be updated, edited, or even cut out altogether.

This would be a good time to collaborate and brainstorm with your team on different, value-generating ideas for the website. You can take these ideas and insert them into a spreadsheet separated into columns including:

• URL
• HTTP status
• Last modified date
• Title tag
• Description tag
• Keywords
• External links
• Body text

The next step is to go through the outdated content and broken pages with errors. You’ll also want to isolate the main theme hub pages that get their “link juice” from supported content. Having a column that clearly identifies your goal and your page goal is also really important. Having this information right at your fingertips will make updating your website a whole lot easier.

Finally, you need to dig into the content. Know you're going to get your hands dirty, but in the end, the organization your creating will be worth it in the end.

 

4. Get User Feedback

Have a friend or family member go though your site just as a random visitor would. Give them a situation and have the friend try to solve a problem through your site. Keep an eye out for anywhere they may get stuck, or if the information provided isn’t helpful or correct. Knowing the exact issues a visitor may run into can certainly help when the real situation arrises.

 

5. Apply Your Strategy

At this point in the process, you should have a pretty good understanding on why people are visiting your site, what they do when they are there, and what they may be having issues with. With that understanding, you can now make some helpful improvements:


1. Create new content that answers the questions and issues the users are having.

2. Update the content you have so that it makes searching and the user experience much easier.

Here is where “siloing” comes into play. Your site’s hierarchy should match how users are navigating though your site.

This means that basically every category on your site is a “pillar,” in a sense. There should always me a main page on that particular topic, and then other group pages that break the topic down further.

These pages would link together in order to answer your user’s questions about that topic. This could get a bit technical, but remember to only link from one silo to another stemming from that top landing page. This keeps a more streamlined theme in that section of the site, and hopefully sets you up for great rankings because of the subject’s relevance.

So at this point, there are three thing to consider:

1. Make navigation easy for your users when they visit your site.

2. Provide content and information that gives your users clear directions one what the content is about.

3. Ad links throughout the site that sticks with the individual themes.

As you create and add content, make sure you are only adding in links that make sense and support your site. Don’t confuse your users. These link should help them understand your topics more clearly.

 

6. Update Your Content

This one is a no brainer. In order to keep your site relevant, you’ll need to regularly update old content, and add new content. Go back and use the spreadsheet we talked about earlier.

Update the rows and columns with new info that can be written under the current architecture of your site. If you create any new pages, be sure to assign certain keywords that helps the site keep its overall theme.

For all the pages that were already on your site, don't forget to assign keywords where it is appropriate. Ask yourself if the page accomplishes what you want it to. Make sure it is clear and concise, and helpful to the visitor. Keep in mind where each link is taking the visitor to, and if it’s beneficial or just a waste of their time.

Helpful hints:

• Assign priorities - Make a list of the site pages and silos and rank them based on importance. Make sure you indicate on your spreadsheet what each page is used for. This spreadsheet will be helpful when you are refreshing the site and updating projects.

• Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines -  Everyone knows the importance of deadlines and time management. By having set dates and goals for certain pages or sections, you can easily keep the content edited and optimized, which will force the content to keep flowing forward.

 

7. Test Changes

Make sure you keep notes of all of the feedback you received from friends and family that reviewed your site. Have them look through the content as well. This helps you know what is helpful and what needs to be updated for your visitors’ benefit.

There is a tool in Google Analytics that may help with this, as well. Content Experiments allows you to see which versions of your pages get more of a positive outcome from your visitors.

 

In Conclusion...

Don't let your website get stale. Stale content means crappy user experience and diminishing value for you and your company. Put a plan in place, whatever it is, and keep your website current, accurate and efficient. 

Ebook Download: Value Driven Website Design

Casey

About the Author
Little known fact about Casey: He played in the 2004 US Open Championship (golf). Now Casey heads up Inbound Marketing at Web Design Phoenix, a full service website design and online marketing firm with locations in both Phoenix, Arizona and Orlando, Florida. Clients include Mercedes, Airbus, and The PGA of America.

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