Regardless of the purpose of any content-based website, there are a few must haves on content sites.
These top 10 must-haves are essential building blocks for any type of content site.
Strategy is fundamental – and a documented strategy is best.
Your vision and your mission should have a roadmap with benchmarks, guidelines, metrics, and objectives. These goals can vary widely and include everything from SEO goals to market share goals to customer acquisition goals.
Without a plan, a strategy, and a goal, it’s hard to know where you want to go or how to get there. But with a strategy, you’ll be able to measure your progress, optimize your strategy, and make adjustments as necessary.
Value is what keeps people on your site. It’s the reason they keep coming back…or it’s the reason they go elsewhere.
In the business world, “value” may be somewhat of a buzzword, so think of value as utility and engagement. If your content is useful, then people will value it. Likewise, if it is engaging, then it is able to more effectively communicate that value.
3. Multimedia Content
Written content is the primary form of content these days. Blogs and article-based websites dominate the internet. But video is huge, and it’s only growing.
For instance, the average internet user spends 88% more time on a site with video than without. As video becomes cheaper and easier to produce – and as technology becomes more widespread and more capable – we’ll see more content sites utilizing video.
Also consider infographics, diagrams, photos, and other easily digestible media formats.
Though you need lots of content to stay visible online, your content must be relevant. Use keyword research, analytics, and customer feedback to hone your content and offer more relevance to your users.
The more relevant your content is, the more value it will have to your visitors and customers. Irrelevant content, on the other hand, will deter people and your site won’t be as visible in search.
Freshness is related to both relevance and immediacy. If your content is fresh, then it is more likely to be up-to-date and immediately relevant to world events, customers’ interests, and current trends.
Evergreen content provides lasting value, but freshness opens the potential for popularity spikes.
Every content site needs analytics to learn about what’s working and what needs work. By analyzing your customers’ behavior, you’ll be able to find out what’s keeping people engaged, what’s fading into the background, and what steps you can take to fix it.
The right analytics platform will provide insight into the mind of your customer, as well as giving you a bird’s-eye view of your content strategy’s effectiveness and the progress of your marketing initiatives.
Quality content is the name of the game in today’s marketing arena. While keyword-dense blog articles may have worked 15 years ago, today’s internet surfer is more savvy and less patient with irrelevant content that doesn’t add value.
To earn trust and build loyalty, you need quality content that is engaging. It needs to set you apart and establish you as a thought leader.
Unfortunately, quality just isn’t enough. In today’s noise, a single masterpiece will quickly get drowned out by all the other content that’s out there.
In other words, to be heard in a noisy world, you need to make noise of your own. For an impression to sink in, it must be repeated a number of times until it reaches the customer when they are in the right time and the right context.
Lots of content is also necessary for SEO purposes and to tell social networks that you are active. The savvy digital marketer will cater to the social side of the equation and the technical side.
9. A Schedule
While a strategy lays out your overall objectives, a schedule actually puts your plan into action. Whether the schedule refers to weekly blog posts, thrice-daily Facebook posts, or monthly white papers, an editorial calendar and a regular schedule helps you adhere to that plan.
The right schedule should tie your strategy in to quantity requirements, marketing objectives, and so on. Like every other must-have for your content site, it should be refined over time.
Content creation and publication is just the beginning. Unless you distribute your content across your network – from social channels to email lists – your message won’t be heard.
Social media and email are the two primary means of distributing content to your followers, so these channels should be set up early on. It’s also possible to syndicate your content on other blogs or content sites, which will help drive traffic back to your website.
Much of this process can be automated, but it’s a necessary step in the marketing process and can’t be skipped.