Content marketing strategy and practices are altered all the time, as audiences and search engines change, but some key rules of thumb have stuck. One of those is the fact that the quality of content is always more important than quantity.
As a reader, it’s unlikely that you would continue to read something that didn’t resonate with, interest, or educate you. As soon as the article or blog loses your attention or understanding, you move on, right? Now, keeping that in mind, switch your perspective to that of the author. The reader isn’t lost because the content fails to meet a certain word count or amount of posts in a series. The quality; the engaging or informative nature of the content is what counts.
Lucky for us, search engines such as Google are specifically designed to follow the behavior and fulfill the needs of real people. This means that search engines also care more about quality than quantity or length. It’s never about ‘more’; it’s about ‘better’. Think about the viral nature of memes, where a simple phrase or sentence paired with an image makes a massive impact. In the same way, a blog post that is only 300 words (like this one), but clearly expresses an important point is better than a longer, more complex one.
So it’s okay if you can’t shell out a 1,000-word blog every day, or even every week. In fact, you shouldn’t. Instead, focus your efforts on writing one or two high-quality blog posts each month. And don’t stop! Companies that blog have a significant leg up in online content marketing success. The numbers don’t lie; Hubspot reports 67% more leads per month for companies that blog, 434% more indexed pages, and 97% more indexed links. That’s great for your audience as well as your potential audience and customers.
Give Them What They Want
The old adage from the days of newspapers rings true today online: “Don’t bury the lede.”
Your readers are smart, but impatient. With so many avenues for information at their fingertips, the likelihood that they’ll keep their attention focused at your website for more than a few seconds is very low. That is, unless you give them what they came for AND it’s better than the 3-4 other sites they have open in successive browser tabs.
…And Keep Them There
High bounce rates are killer metrics for business websites (and not in the downhill snowboarding kind of killer). Bounce rates measure the number of people who visit a website either through direct referral, organic search, or paid advertising and then leave without visiting another page.
The average bounce rate for websites is about 40%, with 63% of those visitors being first-timers. And one of the most popular styles of modern web design – single-page scrolling themes – report the highest bounce rates on the web (70-90%). Why? Because they have no where else to go.
There are two leading viewpoints on these single-page designs. From a user-experience perspective, they present information in a clean, concise manner, but on the other hand, the expectation of that design limits the quantity and quality of information the site can inherently provide. Traditional, layered web design with plenty of detailed, useful content provides plenty of opportunity for further exploration and research without having to visit another site. Plus, these simple, structured websites play nice with big search engines, which use sitemaps to interpret how a site is put together.
Give Them a Reason to Like You
A user’s experience with your site is important. First time visitors should come away from their initial experience with your site with a positive feeling, not one of frustration, boredom, or disgust. According to Jordan Julien, an independent UX designer, the main tenets of good user experience are as follows:
- Be contextual – “If you open most books to any given page and select a word, you’ll be met with an abundance of context on the page,” Julien says. “You’ll usually see the title of the book, the chapter, the page number, and the word will appear contextually within a sentence, paragraph, and page. Ensure that users are contextually aware of where they are within their journey.”
- Be human – Your content should be personable, friendly, and approachable. If it reads like it was written by a machine, a connection won’t be made.
- Be findable – Help your users find related topics through tags, category menus, or simply linking to related, relevant content within the body of your text. Don’t make them hunt for what they want.
- Be easy – Don’t make your readers do the work to find what they came for. If they were promised “5 Effective Tips for Content Marketing,” don’t make them click through a series of ads, slides, or other digitized hoops to get what they came for.
- Be simple – It’s easy to get in the way of good content with noisy ads, flashy design, and long loading times. Don’t forget why your readers came to you to begin with.
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