Many factors go into planning, designing, and building a great website that’s designed to meet your audience’s needs. But too often, a recurring series of habits combine to chip away at how much that site can live up to its potential.
This is true at nonprofits with small staffs that do not include a dedicated web team. However, the scenarios listed below can be just as likely to occur at large organizations at which staff members have “update the website” on a to-do list longer than their arms.
It’s easy to want to shift into “all done” mode. You’ve written the perfect copy, written a tweetable headline, and added a pithy and clear description for your web article. You publish it and move on to the next task on your list. However, there’s more you should probably do for the overall health of your website.
Take time to tag
A lot of times, busy web authors treat the act of thoughtful content tagging like a teenager treats having to take out the garbage.
When done properly, committing to tagging will do more to improve both the discoverability of your content and the overall SEO of your site than almost anything else you can do.
Scan. Question. Repeat.
Take a breath. Pretend you are receiving the link for the content you just posted. Imagine it was sent to you by your boss as a “helpful FYI” that you’re forced to read.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- When you scan it, does it look like a dense contract or an article you’d actually want to read?
- Could the page use additional sub-heads?
- Do images have captions and context?
- Can any content be cross-linked?
- Would an infographic help tell the story in a more efficient or meaningful way?
- Would a pull-quote be possible?
The answer to at least one of these questions is usually “yes.”
Get a second opinion
Often, the person best equipped to create the content is the least equipped to put on the finishing touches. This could be psychological, and the author feels like the content is strong enough and compelling enough for people to want to read without any additional polish.
Researchers are notorious for this.
But imagine this scenario playing out in a different setting. It’s almost unheard of to have the person who built a car be the one who sells it. And this is how it should be.
Think of your content as answers to questions … and go find them
Many web authors neglect the final touches on their content. They can be even worse about giving that content an opportunity to be discovered by others beyond their own website.
This goes beyond a Tweet, Facebook, or LinkedIn post.
Think of your content as a collection of answers to questions that someone, somewhere is asking right now. Whoever is asking these questions would welcome your content if it’s relevant to their interests.
With that in mind, find out where these questions and conversations have been posted. You can often post a comment in that online space and reference to your content.
Quora, a site that Google LOVES to rank highly, is essentially a list of questions and answers. This is a good place to focus on to continue building up your ranking as a subject matter expert.
Avoiding a video graveyard
How many times have you seen a site contain a stand-alone video section? This isn’t inherently bad, but when it’s missing features such as topic filters and search, this content quickly treads into “tree falling in a forest” territory.
To avoid this, ensure that each video lives on its own page, when possible. The more context (and transcripts) you can provide, the better. Taking this step can also enable your videos to become more discovered as “related content,” depending on how your site is constructed and how you update it.
Respect the ‘Micro Moments’
Google recently did the math and concluded that people spend an average of one minute and ten seconds on their smartphone per use. They referred to these pockets of time as “Micro Moments.”
The emphasis in its research centers around search and how brands and others need to be aware of what people are searching for in order to “be present” with content that is optimized for a quick, usable mobile experience.
You can also think about content you’re pushing out through social media and email newsletters in a similar manner.
A majority of social media and email activity is done in those same “micro moments.” When your website is being referenced, it needs to be ready for engagement in the same way.
Creating great content is one of the key differentiators of a great digital presence. Too often, however, a fatigue factor sets in that prevents the hard work of content creation from being rewarded with the audience it deserves.
Keeping tactics like the ones above in the dialogue and muscle memory of not just your web team, but your entire organization, can go a long way to helping ensure the engagement you’re ultimately working for.