How to Create SEO-Friendly Content That Improves Your Website’s User Experience


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How to Create SEO-Friendly Content That Improves Your Website’s User Experience

Every business website out there, big or small, is built with only these goals in mind: to generate more leads, traffic, and conversions.

That’s it. It doesn’t really matter if you offer web hosting services, cooking tips, automobile parts or novelty t-shirts, your main objective here is always the same: make your products and services available to anyone who searches for your targeted keywords online.

It’s always about making more sales or reaching out to new faces that could be interested in consuming your content. Be it the former or the later, or even both, at the end of the day, everyone wants to see their efforts pay off. There isn’t a single businessmen in the world who runs a website just because he likes to write content and share his knowledge with the rest of the world. Everyone wants something in return, and that’s quite normal. If you know a person who says he (or she) is not in this game to make money – well, he (or she) is lying to you.

Writing content for the Web is just a part of a bigger picture to spread awareness and get more people interested in what you’re selling.

Having said that, we can agree that everything here revolves around the customer. As online businessmen, it is our job here – nay, obligation – to provide our current and potential customers with the best imaginable experience.

If they’re not fully satisfied with the look and feel of our website, the chances are they’re gonna leave and never come back, without even completing that initial sale that got them to visit our web address in the first place.

The horror, right?

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Even though most online businessmen do all sorts of things to stop this scenario from happening, their crooked intent often tends to make things even worse.

Instead of taking the time to analyze and fully understand their potential visitors and buyers so they could learn how to decrease their bounce rates and stimulate growth in conversions, most online businessmen tend to do quite the opposite. They start to push their advertisements (that already aren’t working) even harder on them.

I don’t know about you, but when I shop online, I don’t like to be bombarded with all sorts of different offers and proposals. Especially those that don’t have much to do with what I’m currently looking for. It really annoys me when websites do that. I hate it when an ad pops up and interrupts my action. Apart from that, if I can’t find what I’m looking for in a matter of seconds, I tend to bounce on to the next best website and look there for my desired information.

I wish I could say that this is just me acting weird and impatient, but the truth is – 90% of Internet users are even worse than me. Everyone who makes his bread and butter from what he (or she) sells online knows that running an online business is a pretty brutal game. If you don’t instantly deliver on what people expect from you, your brand will go down faster than a bottle of vodka at a hen party.

So, What Do I Need To Do In Order To Retain People On My Website?

Focus on SEO and user experience, of course.

You need to carefully analyze and put in mind all those things that might positively or negatively affect a person’s experience while using your system or interface. User research, interaction design, information architecture, graphic design, user testing – these are just some of the things that demand your focus.

User experience is basically a science of its own.

Although when talking about user experience, most people usually refer to design, and the general functionality of a certain website or system, they constantly forget to mention that content plays an equally important role in this equation.

I would like to focus on that in this article.

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Everyone who owns an online business can tell you that you have only a couple of seconds to win over a customer. Even though design is the first thing an average person will notice when landing on your site, it’s certainly not the thing that will shape his or her opinion of your brand. No, your content will. If he gets the information that he (or she) is looking for, 8 times out of 10, he’ll be willing to ignore your bad design and complicated interface.

Don’t believe me? Just look at Reddit. This has to be one of the ugliest and most complicated websites ever (for a newbie), and yet, it has over 36 million registered users. In case you didn’t know, Reddit’s stats are insane. According to the numbers from the first quarter of this year, Reddit counts 231 million unique visits per month.

Wanna know how?

By understanding their users. Everyone who often visits this site is there because Reddit guarantees great content. Reddit is basically a social news site with an insanely big base of users who are interested in digesting relevant, entertaining and exciting information, without being bombarded by all sorts of different advertisements and terrible sales pitches.

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I get that. I hate it when sites interrupt my action and try to drown me with idiotic advertisements. As a person who came to a certain web address looking for information that was promised to me in SERP, it really annoys when the publisher tries to pressure me into buying his nonsense before delivering on what was promised to me.

Reddit is not like that. On Reddit, content is truly king. The guys behind this site know that. That’s why they’ve implemented a voting system for topics. Each post on Reddit can either be “upvoted” or “downvoted” by its users. The people decide what is relevant and what should be displayed on the homepage. This helps them instantly see which topic are generating a lot of traffic, and which are not.  

So, How Do I Write Content That Will Stimulate My Users To Stick Around?


As we established in the section above, if you want to make your content truly work for you and your website, you need come up with a smart content strategy. You need a plan that is actually backed by real numbers and rock-solid insights.

When I write content for my website that is meant to enhance my user’s experience, I always make sure that I:

1. Create User-Centric Content


Even though content and SEO mix well together like scotch and soda, and without at least some SEO your content will surely crash and burn faster than a chimp driving a space shuttle, you shouldn’t really create it just to please the search engines. The Internet is still all about the people. As I already wrote on this site, 
creating content for the searcher should be the foundation of every sane content strategy. 

In order to come up with a successful customer-centric content strategy, you must focus on all sorts of different things. You have to be patient and gather all the smart data before you decide to start working on your customer personas. These carefully tailored archetypes enable us to create intelligent messages that directly speak to our ideal customers (site visitors) pain points and needs. This will, of course, later on help us increase sales and traffic, not by tricking our audience, but by offering them valuable content that they can truly enjoy.

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Designing these precise psychological profiles is not such an easy task. Luckily for you, the guys at FindMyHost wrote an amazing three piece series on this particular subject. Their content will surely help you understand what you need to do in order to feed your site visitors with what they want to read.

2. Keep It Real – Deliver On Your Promises, Put Value Above Everything Else

As a person who basically lives on and from the Internet, I can honestly tell you that there’s nothing worse than failing to deliver on your promises. People hate that! If you, for example, write a post and call it an “ultimate guide to content marketing”, make sure that you made it worthy of the title it carries. The word “ultimate” is not something people will take likely around here. If your post doesn’t live up to its headline, there will be consequences.

If you, like we, promise your users 99% Network Uptime, you have to do your best to keep your word.

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Sure, mistakes happen. If you really try and fail, no one will hate you for it. Sometimes stuff just happens and you cannot do anything to prevent a certain error. If your intent is pure, you won’t be punished for your mistakes. But if it isn’t – well, you’re doomed.

The Internet isn’t really a forgiving place. If you try to cheat your way to success, sooner or later, people will call you on your BS. Generating bad reviews or bad word of mouth on the Internet is the same as receiving a death sentence is the real world. No one will want to click on your links or work with you if people flag you as a bad source. That is why your content needs to deliver real insights, real values, real benefits, and not just something that sounds cool, but actually says nothing.

If your content actually helps people understand and solve their issues, you won’t need to do anything else in order to make them revisit your website.

3. Focus On Navigation And Content Formatting

The way on how your content is displayed on your pages is something that could really make or break your website. Next to quality and basic SEO, this has to be the most important thing that you need to take care of if you want your words to communicate well with your website visitors.

It doesn’t matter how good or intelligent your content may be, if your readers experience difficulty while reading it, you won’t generate any new conversions. If people have to squint their eyes in order to actually see what’s going on your page, then you have a problem. That’s why it’s highly advisable to focus on your content layout before you decide to publish it. You don’t want to make your letters too big or too small so that your readers have to adjust their screen to successfully digest your information.

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Chunky paragraphs, deficit of headlines and subheadlines, wrongfully placed and optimized images, lack of meta tags and meta descriptions – these are just some of the minor things that have been known to drastically increase your bounce rates and drive people away.

Having this in mind, I always go through my SEO checklist and heatmaps before I publish a fresh piece of content. It is quite important for me to better understand my user’s intent and preferences, so I could tailor my content to their wishes and needs. By tracking my user’s behavior on my website and following where my messages are catching their attention, I can drastically increase my conversions rates just by tweaking some part of my page content. I  have personally seen jumps of 100% in A/B testing just by deleting some text boxes in a form. Amazing, right?

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest article. If you have anything to ask or add, feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section below.

That’s it for now,
See you soon again,
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.

Content That Sells - AltusHost 1

Good Content Marketing Creates Leads That Are Already Sold, Before They Even Reach Your Sales Team

Contrary to popular opinion, I think that you cannot precisely measure the effect your content marketing has on your business. Don’t get me wrong, as any other content marketer out there, I use reach, engagement and sentiment to measure the success of my content marketing strategy. However, no matter how important these metrics are to me and my CEO and how much they influence our strategy, we still know that my work impacts our brand on many different levels which we cannot actually translate into numbers.  

Although there’s always room for improvement, there isn’t a real scenario in which we could ever think: “Hey. Content marketing isn’t really working for us, maybe we should quit doing it.

Apart from generating buzz and building internal and external links, your content has an impact on how your consumers perceive your brand. More often than not, it’s the thing that encourages them to go ahead and buy something from you.

It has an enormous effect on sales.

Your content marketing represents who you really are, your core values, your strong sides and what you’re really about. It’s the best tool out there for gathering more conversions.

Content Marketing Is Your Company’s Voice

You cannot just rely on your products and services. No. You need to reach out and get people excited to look inside your walls and get familiar with your company, inside-out. Today’s consumers are extremely smart. They pay attention to everything.

This is where your content comes to shine. Your content represents the bridge between your brand and your users. It’s what keeps them coming back to your website over and over again.

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If you take it seriously and maximize your efforts in this department, your content will basically become your most powerful weapon. It’s the only tool that really represents your knowledge and your company culture – you cannot just put that in plain numbers.

You can try to survey your users and form some sort of opinion based on the results you received from your critical group – but you’re still basically fishing in the dark.

You can never know for sure just how big of an echo your messages create online and just how much they influence people to really think about your company and services in a whole different light.

This is where things get a bit abstract. Your tone, your voice and the personal experiences you share in your case studies and blog posts will most definitely shape your audience, but you can never know to what extent.

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That’s why, no matter what happens, content marketing was, is and always will be an invaluable part of my business strategy. If we imagine a business as a basketball team, then content marketing is definitely my best point guard.  

Just like many of my colleagues, as a B2B and B2C content marketer, I do my best to positively impact every part of my employers marketing funnel. Exposure, discovery, consideration, product pages, conversion, customer service, retention – I produce content that’s specifically tailored to engage website visitors throughout every listed part of their journey.

The content you create should help your company lift the presence of the brand to match the aesthetics, voice and perspective that you’re communicating with their active and potential consumer base, but it should also educate your team to become better at what they already do.

Although I can write pages and pages on how content marketing empowers every part and side of our business, in order to cut things down to size and help you see why it’s such a crucial part of our strategy, in the rest of this post I will focus on only one thing – how content marketing empowers our sales.

Selling Without Actually Selling or Sounding Too Salesy

Everyone knows that these days people hate being sold to, especially in the B2B world. No matter if they run a big or small business, most decision makers have already been marketed and remarketed thousands of times by hundreds of different salesmen from all over the globe. They know all the ropes and they’re immune to every sales tactic out there.

But, on the other hand, even though they don’t want to be sold to, they definitely still need to buy stuff.

So, knowing that these people like to make decisions for themselves, my job here is to produce as much valuable material as possible and post it all over the Web, so it helps influence their judgment when reviewing whether they should do business with me or one of my competitors.

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In order to make this strategy work for you, you need to create tons and tons of high-quality content that offers solutions to your targeted group’s troubles.

Although this seems pretty straightforward, most people fail to create something that’s truly relevant to their targeted audience.

Why? – Well, because most content marketers forget to design customer personas and actually think as their desired users. Having this in mind, don’t just create “Why my product will solve your problems” content pieces. No one wants to read a brochure about your product.  Instead, make it “How to solve this common problem with these cool strategies”. Trust me, it will make it’s way back to you and your value proposition.

But, when you’re done, you can’t just sit back and let the leads flow in.  It rarely works like that. You have to generate it, then promote it.  

Good Content Marketing Creates Leads That Are Already Sold Before They Even Reach Your Sales Team

Ok, in the previous section of this post we have already established that most businessmen don’t like being sold to. In fact, before they even start to consider if they should purchase something from a specific company, they Google their brand name and click on the first couple of links in SERP. Apart from that, they also tend to look at user reviews and testimonials online, in order to figure out if their targeted option is legit or not.

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So, knowing how my potential users behave and what kind of information drives their decisions, I try to give them everything they need to know about my brand and company before we even formally introduce ourselves to each other.

Case Studies, Whitepapers, Examples of good practice, eBooks, Guides, Surveys, Audits, Infographics, Videos, Blog posts – I create all these things and post them online, so my potential clients can easily find them.  But, I don’t just stop there. I promote my content, email it to them, get them into my lead funnel and nurture the heck out of them. I keep feeding them with relevant and interesting information and, 9 times out of 10 – that’s how sales happen.

Content Marketing Stimulates People To Share Their Personal Information With You, Which Is Great If You Have A Remarketing Strategy

One of the hardest things today is getting people to share their personal information with you.

Why? – Well, because they have been burned before. Most businesses out there tend to abuse people’s email inboxes. They tend to follow these so-called “prospects” like dogs around the Web, offering them this and that, without ever taking a second to actually think if those folks have even the slightest interests in paying for their products or services?

It doesn’t matter what you do or what you sell, you don’t want to chase leads that you don’t have any chance of converting into paying customers. It’s a huge waste of your time and energy.

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What you want to do here is create a big net that will actually capture grade A fish in this endless digital sea.  

Having this in mind, I strongly suggest that you create a lead nurturing campaign which includes webinars. The combination of the two is wildly successful in terms of building relationships with your prospects early in the buying cycle and, therefore, being first in mind when they are ready to purchase.

I like to keep webinars educationally focused, to draw people in with my industry expertise and thought leadership. Try to come up with a topic that is interesting and that ties in with what you sell – so you can show how your solution solves a common problem. Many people will just come to the webinars to learn, but others will be interested in your product/solution, and that’s where your content could actually create new sales.

Your Content Marketing Library Can Help Your Sales Team Underline Their Proposals


When 
content marketers and salesmen really work together, it’s a real  thing of beauty. Instead of being forced to chase their own prospects and waste so much time on chasing cold leads, thanks to content marketing, all your sales team has to do now is pull in the fish that’s already hooked on your bait.    

As a content marketer, it’s in your best interest to work closely with sales. These guys can teach you all you need to know about buyer personas. Once you do that, once you figure out various scenarios by which your buyers buy, you’ll be able to design a whole library of content focusing on supporting your buyers complete path-to-purchase.

In this case, your content will help your sales:

*Be better prepared for their sales conversations.
*Gain access to selling tools to engage more effectively.
*Learn more about their audiences and what makes them tick.

 The Power Behind The Intelligent Follow Up

When you have someone’s email address, you can either send out regular newsletters or go a step further and set up personalized drip campaigns. Depending on the buyer’s stage in the sales cycle and his interests, you can send automatic or personalized mails to him or her.

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My suggestion is to always go for personal messages. Writing great follow up email is a whole new sales tactic. Luckily for you, the guys at HubSpot wrote this Ultimate Guide On How To Write Follow Up Email. Read it and learn everything you need to know on how to effectively re-establish contact with your leads.

In order to make your content work for you in this second phase as well, you need to group your customers by type of messaging and value points you’re going to approach them with. Once you do that, you can sit down and tailor relevant messages that will either stimulate them to finally become your user, or upgrade their service with you.

You can also send their information to your sales team, so they could call them and try to offer your services from a different angle. Once again, I’m using HubSpot as an example. These guys have been doing this for quite some time. I think it’s working out well for them.

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