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Is Your Website Content Losing You Money?

Have you ever noticed how so many otherwise-serious businesses bomb their online presence?

Most everyone realizes an online face is crucial these days, but too many business owners don’t seem to get what “being” online really means.  And in this current economy that mistake can destroy your chance to access a very-lucrative stream of potential profit.

Just yesterday, I was browsing random business sites online in various industries (ah the things I do when I’m bored…), and the things I saw drove me crazy, so I felt the need to scratch out a quick blog article about it (it’s about time I got my blog up and running anyhow).

Far too many businesspeople desperate to increase profits leave a lot of money on the table for the simple reason that their website content is out of whack and not being leveraged properly.  In fact, I see sites all the time with outdated phone numbers and emails, leaving no way for clients to contact them.  I don’t think I even need to go into why this is such a costly mistake…

But an issue I kept spotting yesterday that does need addressing was the number of sites that have content written for SEO and SEO alone.  Don’t get me wrong, I realize the last decade online has been characterized by an ongoing dependence on search engine optimization, and it has become an important part of being online.

That importance, however, is declining fast.

Google is improving, Internet technologies are evolving, and websites based solely on SEO – basically investing all their faith in one traffic source – have gone too far.  On-page search engine optimization strategies are definitely still vital, but the problem is content written just for Google and nothing else, stuffed full of keywords and barely readable.  Even readable SEO content is not good enough – keeping your content just at a readable level is as useless as having content composed of nothing but computer-generated junk.

And the reason is because of readers…yes, I’m talking about people.

Think about it.  Even if keyword-crammed content were to push your website to the top of Google (not likely these days), it’s human readers who land on your page and consider your offer.  Given that unavoidable truth, do you really think a barely-readable summary of your business is enough?

Other websites I visited were obviously putting energy into their content, and you could see the difference.  They clearly explained their services (instead of reiterating the same key phrases over and over again, thank God) and provided a clear picture of how they could help prospects.

But all too often, even these websites didn’t explain how the company differed from competitors.  The content didn’t engage readers and sell the business.  There was no passion, and it fell flat.

Then there were other websites, on the other hand, that did seem to serve a purpose greater than duping search engines.  Sometimes, their belief in their offering was conveyed to readers in a passionate manner.

Then, halfway through a page, an obvious spelling error or blatant grammar blunder.  I couldn’t help but cringe.

Look, no serious customer takes a business that can’t even edit their web content for spelling errors seriously.  Would you?

Alright, you get it – businesses are dropping the ball out there.  Maybe you are too.  But what should you be doing?  What should your content look like if you want your website to do its job?

First of all, identify your company’s Unique Selling Position. 

Determine what sets your offer apart from other industry leaders and edit your marketing materials to reflect that – including your website.

I really hope I’m preaching to the choir here and you do already have a solid USP in place but just haven’t taken the time to communicate this USP in your web content.  If this is NOT the case, then sit down and figure it out now – because if you, the business owner, don’t even know what makes your offer different, you’re fighting a losing battle in today’s business climate.

And once you do know, it absolutely must carry on into your website.  It should carry on into every aspect of your company.

To go on, your web content should never be dry and boring.  Strive for confidence and passion, breaking down what you do and how.  It doesn’t have to be written in a stuffy academic manner, and in fact, that’d be a big mistake – the rules of grammar are a lot looser online.  Write in a conversational manner that connects with prospects.

But all your content should definitely be professional, clean, confident, and persuasive.

Once again, there should never be any flaws in your website language either.  Yes, certain grammar rules can be broken online (most online writing providers know which ones those are), but misspells and obvious grammar mistakes are inexcusable.

Have a little pride in your business.

And finally, do incorporate on-site SEO writing – just not SEO writing the way it was used in the past.  The keyword strings shouldn’t be stuffed into your content, making it awkward to read; just put them in the title and a couple of times throughout.  But only if and where the keyword string fits without being awkward.

Keyword stuffing is out and SEO writing should never sacrifice readability!

Here’s a huge SEO tip:

Figure out what the page is about and then find a keyword string that matches rather than writing a page just to target a traffic-heavy string.  You’re not online to “trick” readers into finding your offer – you need to instead target the ones looking for your offer already.  Doesn’t that make more sense?

Alright, here’s the deal.

You’re a business owner.  And I don’t care if you’re an online business making money solely on the web or a brick and mortar company using internet tools to bring in additional customers.

You’re a business owner.

And when you’re running a business, it’s 100% crucial to show a professional demeanor in all aspects of that business.  To maintain a consistent message throughout all interactions with the public.

That includes your web presence.  And it amazes me how so many businesses don’t seem to get that.

If you’ve been cheap about hiring professional copywriters to create your web content, instead nickling and diming by sticking with bottom dollar writers who think just anyone can pass themselves off as a professional, you’re only cheating yourself.

Would you turn out a company brochure with misspells and typos?  A brochure that flatly described your company’s business rather than laying it out in a passionate, persuasive manner?

If you would, I don’t know what to tell you…

But I’m betting you wouldn’t dare – I’m betting you just haven’t taken the time to understand the function a website really serves.

Your website is your company’s resume.  And not only that but so much more because if you get it right – if you leverage a blog, search engine marketing, social networks, and other powerful online tools – the correct way, your website can be a source of huge credibility and attract a ton of eyeballs to your offer.

And that, my friend, means a direct impact on the bottom line.

Money, in your pocket.  Money you are currently leaving on the table.

It really is serious business.

Treat it as such.

Creative Commons image courtesy of photosteve101

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