Content creation and your business

If you’re a site owner whose strong suit is writing engaging, compelling, interesting and informative content, you can save yourself a lot of start-up cash by writing your web site’s text yourself. This is good. The words are your own and what you say provides an accurate and personal picture of you and your business.

Website Content: Squeezing the Last Adverb From Your Content Investment

Unfortunately, not all on-line business owners are authors. They’re businesspeople. Busy businesspeople, so even if these highly-caffeinated entrepreneurs can write, they don’t have the time.

Quality content, written by a professional who knows a misplaced modifier from a dangling participle, is expensive. These writers of quality are in demand and many charge $40 or $50 a page. Some $150 an hour. One sales copywriter gets paid $5,000 for a single direct mail piece. However, his client will generate $100,000 in new sales when that direct mail piece hits 40,000 inboxes so $5K seems like a fair price from that perspective.

In any case, content creation is pricey if it’s good. Cheap if you outsource the creation of letter strings offshore but believe this: you get what you pay for when it comes to hiring a good content developer for your site, whether it’s hard-sell sales copy or academic informational content – dry as a bone but interesting to the academician.

So, how can the small site owner increase the value of his or her investment in content because, indeed, that’s exactly what those checks to your content provider are – an investment in the future success of your site. Invest in website content.

Here’s how to get the most for your content $$$:

Repurpose content.

If you pay a professional wordsmith $500 to write the copy for a four-color tri-fold, find a place for that content on your website or in your Yellow Pages ad. Ask the writer you hire to keep it general enough to be re-used in a variety of ways, for a variety of purposes. A professional writer will be able to deliver well-written, flexible copy that enables you to cut and paste sections where needed.

Improve your site’s reputation.

Quality, well-written content will do wonders, not only with search engines but with site visitors, as well.

Informational content – as opposed to sales text – scores points with search engines and visitors, building your site’s credibility and reputation as an authoritative site. They key is to constantly update with fresh, new words, views, helpful suggestions, opinions, guest contributors and so on. Too expensive to hire someone to do it?

Writers love regular assignments. It saves them time in developing a stable client base – something even the best web writers are after. So, if you find the right person to update your forum or blog daily, even weekly, you’ll see a nice boost in your traffic rankings, page views and reach.

Negotiate with your content developer. You can sometimes swap repeat work for a better price once you’ve established a business relationship built on trust and reliability of both writer and site owner.

Expand your web presence.

Have your writer develop some informational content for syndication and blog posts. Content syndication and blog posts are picked up by hundreds of sites around the world. One small service provider’s site increased traffic rank by seven million places and expanded site reach by 3995% in just six weeks when the site owner hired a blogger to post to other sites, each time providing a back link to the owner’s site.

So, hire a writer to produce content for off-site use. Do NOT use site content for syndication and don’t post your best site content on blogs. The issue is duplicate content – a big search engine no-no. Sites have gone from Google’s #1 SERP to virtually invisible simply because the site owners posted site content (good informational content) on other sites. So, keep your on- and off-site content separate and never use content from your site on other sites.

Within weeks, you can boost your site’s ranking to “Respectable,” and, better still, you’ll start to see more site traffic. You’re starting to see your investment in content development pay off.

Submit content to open sources.

The objective is a more expansive presence on the web. There are plenty of blogs that are easy to post and even a well-considered post in a good thread can get picked up by other sites. Viral, baby, viral.

Skip the sites and blogs that require an elaborate submission, review and revision process. These sites are time-wasters, even if they do have a reputation for quality postings. After you’ve placed content and own 10-15 Google SERPs using your screen name, real name and/or website as keywords, you can go back to these sites and go through the submission process. You’re exposed.

Using nothing but open, easy to post sites, making one post a day, you should see about 1,000 Google links within eight weeks. At least in the beginning go for quantity of posts. Then work on sites that imbue quality with wide reach. Don’t hassle with blogmasters who won’t let you post without submission and approval.

Create Your Own Blog

It’s so easy using modules activated from your site administrator’s console. Click to add a blog to your site and bingo! Blog.

Generate eight to 10 posts before going live with your blog. Nothing sadder than a postless blog. An information ghost town.

Develop posts that appeal to the target demographic of the site. If you’re selling a CSS plug-in module, you don’t have to post an explanation of CSS to the blog. Your readers already know what CSS is all about. That’s why they’re buying the module. The more sophisticated and knowledgeable the demographic, the more sophisticated and informative the content.

The nicest thing about blogs is that writing skills don’t matter. We’ve all seen blog posts that are barely literate yet contain valuable, insider information. No one expects T.S. Eliot or even 8th grade English. It’s ideas that count on blog posts.

Controversy sells. It really does. Just ask Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly and Paris Hilton. It works, so post some provocative opinions on your area of expertise (Quark Theory: I Name Names!) to generate threads.

And be sure to list your newly-launched blog with subject-specific blog directories. Free exposure. Why not?

Site Reputation

In an earlier post we focused on managing a site’s reputation. Quality content and established authority increase your site’s reputation with search engines and visitors.

The web is used for a lot of things: comparison shopping, on-line commerce, information gathering, interactive communications – all part of today’s web experience. If your site fills one or more of these web needs – the need for the latest, most up-to-date and totally accurate information, for example – your site’s reputation will improve and, in time, you may become an “authority site” – a site other site owners send their visitors to via one-way in-bound links. Nothin’ finer.

You bet quality content costs, but if you view this expense as an investment, you’ll quickly see that the quality of the content delivers not only dividends but interest – interest in what you have to say.

Money in the bank.