Yesterday I met with a website client who wanted to know how he could improve his website in terms of updates and what updates he should be including on his website on a regular basis.
Now this is a question we get a lot as we often encourage our website clients, especially the ones using premium websites, to send in their website updates on a fortnightly, if not monthly basis. Granted, most people will be scratching their heads wondering what website updates we’re talking about.
For sure there are many web pages that don’t need constant updating. For instance, you don’t need to update your About page or Contact page regularly. The information in these pages is evergreen.
So if there are so many evergreen pages on your website, what could you update your website with? What types of content should you be aiming for?
Here are some recommendations I gave him which I hope you will benefit from, too.
If you need more information (and we wrote a whole chapter of this in Web Wisdom), do get a copy of our book.
Many readers have told us that they’ve been amazed at the good stuff they’ve learnt from our book – Jeff who is in the real estate business told us that we should charge more for the book! The price is just too cheap for the immense value he’s getting.
Another reader, Nancy, wrote out 35 pages of notes based on our book and she told us she is typing up her notes for future reference. Yet another reader, Pelf, said the same thing too. She was jotting down plenty of notes when she read our book.
If you have a website, you need to update it with good quality information. People (and this includes prospects and customers) will check your website and you should always keep it fresh and up-to-date with information that helps them.
If you’re often attending events, update your website with photos of the events you go to. The events need to be related to your business. In the case of this client, Hau Chern who is in the business outsourcing business (including HR and payroll), I advised him that he should be updating his website with information he has gleaned from various GST talks he’s attended. GST is a popular topic and everyone wants to know how policies and new regulations affect businesses.
I advised that he should at least snap some photos of the GST seminars and GST conferences and then write about these events. How should he write about them? He could mention the facts (time, date, venue, speakers, what they said) in a reporting style.
But to raise the game, he could give his own expert opinion about GST and give pertinent advice i.e. how businesses can benefit or use the information given. What we’re doing here is not just bare reporting (anyone can do reporting, even your clerk) but giving proper thought and connecting your thoughts to the topic at hand that makes sense is something that only experts can provide.
Why do we advise this? We want you to be the hero of your industry, the thought leader, the expert. Because your customers will always want to deal with experts, the people who know what they’re talking about!
So the next time you’re at an event, ask yourself: how can I consciously take full advantage of this event to accentuate what we do as a business and increase my thought leadership and influence? Who would benefit from hearing what I have to say? What would be helpful to them? How can I serve them more with my thoughts?
2. Technical Articles
All of us, believe it or not, have enough expertise and experience that we could all write technical articles. Technical articles help us cement the notion that we’re good at what we do and know our stuff. For instance, you’re reading this blog post but it is a technical article because I am sharing with you the “how” of updates.
You may think, “But what I have to say, well, everyone knows it, right?”
You see, we’re so immersed in our own business and industry that we assume everyone knows what we know. That’s the curse of being too long in our business. Many people don’t know the things we know. They don’t know the shortcuts, the tips, the tricks, the critical factors.
They don’t know the breadth and depth of what we know.
In our industry, every prospect who comes to us often wants to know about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). They’re always fascinated by SEO and when we explain that SEO is about designing a website for human readers and search engines, you could almost see the light bulbs in their heads go off! They’re enthralled by what we tell them. (Again, you can find everything on SEO in our book.)
So what technical articles can you write?
If you manage a HR firm, can you explain how payroll outsourcing works? If you’re a surgeon, can you explain how you removed your patient’s gall bladder without the medical jargon? If you’re selling insurance to businesses, can you explain keyman insurance in layman’s terms? If you’re a music teacher, can you explain how music can be learnt easily via shortcuts so that children never need to spend hours practising? If you’re an author, can you explain how to self-publish and market a book?
You see, there are plenty of technical articles you could write if you put your mind to it. And how will this help your business?
When website visitors read your articles at your website, they’re impressed. They learnt something they didn’t know before. When you give value this way, you can bet they’ll come back to you when they need you.
3. Case Studies
This is a firm favourite of ours but you can only do this if you’ve been in business for at least 2 years and have some results to show.
Case studies are simply ways for you elaborate on how you helped your customers. It follows a format like this: Problem/Challenge, followed by Solution and then finally Results.
It can be short and succinct or it can as long as you want. The idea is to help prospects see how your services or products helped improve someone’s life or business.
You can check out some of our Case Studies to get an idea of how they’re written. But here’s the most important thing: present only what’s true. Do not attempt to fudge case studies especially results if you don’t have the results.
In some industries, case studies need to be written carefully because of confidentiality issues. You may not have the right to name the customer. So does this mean you can’t write the case study?
You still can write about the customer – just omit the name. You can specify the industry, though. Or you may choose to use pseudonyms if naming the customer is permissible but you worry if the customer won’t like you publicly naming them!
The crux of using case studies is to show how problems are solved using your service, product or solution.
As I told Hau Chern, using these 3 types of updates (events, technical articles and case studies) will keep him busy for an entire year. Could you write 4 of each? If you do so, you already have 12 content updates for your website, averaging one per month! That’s more updates than any of your competitors can write in 10 years.
Is content tough? You bet it is.
But it is a sustainable strategy for small business owners as content has a long lifespan online. It gives you lots of search engine ROI. It makes you an expert in the eyes of your prospects and customers. It gives you the stuff that you can share on your Facebook page. It basically works in your favour! (That’s why I personally love content. It helps that writing is my forte.)
In the next blog post, I’ll talk about something you can focus on for 2017 if writing is not your thing. Stay tuned!