On Selfish Content

If you’d like your content to be something people wanna read first thing in the morning, this post is for you. I’ll touch on what you should do on your site and what you should not do on it.

Selfishness is the Key

The first and foremost thing that you need to remember while working on your site’s content is that it should be something that the user can use for himself. Your post should solve a burning issue that he’s having. Alternatively, it should be something really pleasing to your reader. We all love stuff that is good for us. Face it, we don’t really care what it does for other people. Why do you think your site visitors are different? They all want something for themselves. So, give it to them! If you do, they’ll return to your site for more. Plus they’ll do it over and over again. Event if you stop giving that much stuff to them over time, you still will be able to sell something now. They’ll keep on returning because you made a great first impression by giving them what they really wanted when you first “met”. Again, people don’t care about you. They care about themselves. Just like you do.

Get Interactive

It’s not Ok just to provide something cool on your site, you need to make friends with your site visitors. If somebody retweeted you or repinned on Pinterest, make sure to thank them for doing so. Ask what they do for a living and what they like about it. Where they’re from and so on. There’s a whole lot of instructions and how-tos on how to behave online, but the whole shebang boils down to being yourself. Just act online as you would in real life. And that’s about it.

Be Fast and Furious

If a user actually clicks on your link in his search engine result pages, it’s not the end of the game. It’s just the beginning, because if he does not like what you offer or you just don’t make it clear, he’ll leave your site before you know it. Except for losing a lead, it’s also bad for your SEO, because Google thinks as follows: “Ok, the user checked the site and, quite fast, got back to me instead of consuming content of that site. It really sounds like that site just sucks”. You don’t want the major search engines to think so about your site, right? That’s exactly why you need to explain what’s so cool about your offer right on the homepage of your site . Make sure to do it in one-two sentences tops. You need to make sure that the user understands what your site is all about and if he needs your services or products. You have about 10 seconds to make it clear to your visitor how THEY can benefit from the things you offer . Otherwise he’ll go away for good.

Be Loud and Clear

Since users read about just 20% of the textual content that you have on your site, you godda make sure that your main message is big and clear enough so that the user can get it within his first 10 seconds on your site. Again, you can keep his attentions by quenching his selfishness. Tell him what’s good for HIM. Though I would not recommend using Flash banners or stuff like that, you still need to make sure that your message is really obvious and the user gets it right away. You need to keep in mind that users make snap decisions all the time, because most sites are not worth THEIR while and they value their time too much to waste it. Just like you do. You see, another proof that we are all really selfish beings, which is OK.

Be Natural

Often, we try to speak or write like someone else just to sound or look smarter than we are. The thing is that if you do so, you actually look really ridiculous. I’m not exactly sure how it happens, but people – your site readers – can get it somehow. And once they do, they just won’t come back to your site, because they’ll think that you’re just another charlatan who says the stuff that he does not really know about. They’ll go away momentarily because they don’t want to waste THEIR time. Instead of pretending to be someone you aren’t, be as genuine as possible. It’s OK to be wrong if you say stuff honestly. We are all wrong from time to time. If you have a case study that is relevant to the niche you’re catering to, just write a blog post about it. Even if it shows that you made pretty major mistakes, it’s still valuable to your readers, because it’ll help them to avoid the mistakes you did. That’s the way to connect with people. Say, you launched a parallax scrolling site, but they you realized that it’s a bad idea from an SEO standpoint (if done wrong). I’m sure that your readers will be thrilled to hear why you think so, because it’ll make THEM smarter.

Test as You Go

When we make decisions, we just try to guess something. That’s exactly why we need to test whenever possible. In order to see if something really works as you expect it to, you need to run regular tests. If you run your blog on your own, you need to test content strategy decisions just to see what your readers like. You may want to set up a poll that prompts your users to provide you with valuable feedback that will make it clear what direction your content strategy should move to. In case there’s a team of guys who run a site, you need to run tests just to see whose assumption as for content strategy was right. Testing makes perfect, as they say.

Conclusion

We browse the web because we want something for OURSELVES. Your visitors act the same way. So, make sure that your visitor groks what you got for HIM on your site the moment he lands on your homepage. They don’t have all day to figure out what your site is all about. You actually have one twentieth of a second to draw their attention. If you fail, you’ll most likely lose another customer.

I’m a big fan of WordPress, SEO and salsa. I’m sure that creating WordPress-based sites with SEO in mind can literally make the web a better place to be in.

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