Many small businesses have what could be called a “build it and forget it” approach to the Web. They work hard when the site is built, then let it sit undisturbed, hoping that it will draw traffic. This is not a sound approach! To discover why, read on.
Google and Currency
Google dominates search, so our first attention goes to what Google does about this issue. Google’s goal is to deliver search results that are relevant to a user’s query. They’ve decided that one important aspect of relevance is currency. Their users don’t just want just information, they want current information. First-time visitors to your site want information that’s current, and repeat visitors want to find something new.
Google’s response to this assessment of their customers’ desires is to include currency as an important ranking factor. When you create a new site, currency will be in your favor, but over time this will degrade as you don’t add new content. You can no longer just set up a site and have the traffic roll in; you need to keep supplying it with current content.
This is not unreasonable on Google’s part. When you get the newspaper on Monday morning, do you want to see last week’s news? Sure, you might see some stories that go back in time, but what grabs your interest is the latest news. Similarly, Google is particularly interested in giving its searchers the latest information. How does Google do this? By moving sites with more current information–that have received new content recently–higher in search ratings.
I Don’t Have Time to Write for The Site
In a small business, everyone is doing lots of things. You’re busy. You can’t take time to write articles for the site! But do you take several people to go to a trade show? And spend all the money to get a booth in a trade show? What if, for much lower cost, you could get more leads from your Web site, just from an hour of writing once a week?
Making effective use of your Web site is the best marketing expenditure that you can make, because it’s working to connect with people who have expressed an interest in what you offer by searching for it! These are all prospects, you’re not just printing paper and spreading it around, hoping that someone who is interested will see it.
You need to take the time to write for the site. If it means doing less of something else, that’s fine. Find some marketing activity whose productivity is doubtful, and write for the site instead.
What To Write
A good starting point if you aren’t writing much for your site is a blog. Find short articles that you can write that provide useful advice to your target customers. In these short articles, indirectly convey your selling message, whether it’s product quality, customer support, great service, or whatever your key selling message is.
A blog is a good place for these articles. They can also be used as newsletter fodder as well. This is an example of just such a blog/newsletter article. It’ll go on the site in Web Marketing 101, which is my blog, and it’ll also be sent out as a newsletter.
The Bottom Line