Who are your customers? What kind of content do they expect to find on your site? Keep in mind the purpose of your site: Is it an online sales brochure, a newsletter or magazine site, or a way to sell your products? The answer will help determine what content you should include in it.
Determine Your Web Site's Primary Goals
Decide whether your Web site is an online sales brochure (a site that's strictly for promotion, to let current and prospective customers know the items you carry or services you offer), an online news or information source (such as an online newsletter or e-zine), a customer service resource (an example is a site that allows customers to download applications, search a knowledge base of technical support or information, or gain access to records or accounts), or for selling products online. Perhaps your site's goal is simply to help you realize secondary business objectives, such as creating a persona that might invite other businesses to approach you with partnership opportunities, technology solutions, or additional products you might want to add to your line. Whatever its purpose, keep it in mind when you consider adding content.
Identify Your Web Site's Target Audience
Take stock of the demographics of your existing customer base and identify other potential customers you could reach through your Web site. Consider whether your target customers are likely to use the Internet, whether they may visit your site to find out more about your products, and whether they might be likely to bid for your services or buy products from your Web site. Determine your existing customers' reasons for visiting your Web site and what they expect to find there. Think about the keywords they'll use to find your site or your products as you plan the content you'll include. Identify the types of topics that will keep customers interested and meet their needs. Take their feedback into account: Perhaps the type of questions they e-mail you with or ask you over the phone could form the basis of content you can add to your site. Consider the style of your target audience to identify what your site's look and feel should be.
Evaluate Your Competitors' Content
You already know who your competitors are. You may also face new competitors on the Internet that you never knew were competitors. You need to find out what other sites a keyword search produces besides yours, so you know what choices your prospective customers face. Go to your competitors' Web sites to see what content they feature. You need to identify how you will distinguish your site from your competitors'. Your Web site can offer a unique customer experience that can define your market niche. You may also want to find out what value-added content -- besides the usual bios and fact sheets -- your competitors offer. If they offer articles that state or imply expertise in a given area -- tax accounting, for instance -- you may need to clarify your expertise in that same area so that your customers don't infer that your company lacks it. These additional articles on relevant topics lend credibility to your company and may cause search engines to list your site more often. Consider the image your competitors project, and plan how you could go about creating a different, more distinctive image for your site.
Find Out What's on Other Sites that Your Customers Visit
A keyword search will produce a host of other sites to visit. Visit Web sites that might also attract the same customer base to learn what other information may interest them. For example, you may want to visit the sites of complementary products or services, such as sporting goods retailers if you are a health club or office supply outlets if you sell computer equipment.
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