It’s always the last thing to be discussed in a new website. Where is the content coming from? Who is doing the developing? Who is updating the site? Every website project tries to tackle these problems early one, but they always get pushed to the end of the project.
The topic of content is something that no one wants to talk about, but is probably the most important aspect of a new website. New site owners usually see developing content as something they should do, not something they NEED to do. This, invariably, hurts the overall site. Think of the last time you saw a blog that hadn’t been updated in weeks, months, or even years. Once you saw that “last updated date” of more than a couple days or weeks, you think that their site is old and outdated.
Content is an investment. Content is marketing. Content is user experience. Content is the lifeblood of any great website and nobody likes writing it. Businesses spend countless dollars on advertising on radio, television, and newspapers every year. Sure, they get sales from those ads. But the problem is that those ads only produce sales if they are being run. The moment after a television or radio campaign is done being aired, its over. No more. It is done producing. No one will ever see those ads again, unless you pay to put it back in front of them.
I am not saying that advertising is unnecessary. All I am saying is that content creation needs to be a part of your marketing efforts. I was talking with a friend who does a great job of content creation about his website. He said that he regularly gets leads from content that he wrote 5-10 years ago. He has a newsletter archive on his site that provides relevant information to his business. Someone found a newsletter he had written about 8 years ago, read some more of the content on his site, then gave him a call.
Content is not copy. Copy is text that is written to persuade. Content is anything that is meant for informational purposes. Nobody likes being sold. But everyone like reading something they are interested in. Even if your writing skills leave a little to be desired, relevant, informational content is superior to not having anything at all. If you really don’t have time to write your own content consider hiring someone. If your website is going to be a major source of business, having a person dedicated to writing for your site will benefit you in the long run.
If you don’t have the resources to hire a dedicated writer, consider a content service. There are a number of web-based services that have you submit an idea for whatever kind of content you want, and the service’s writers will write exactly what you need. You can pick the level of writer, number of words, and if you find a particularly good writer, you can request them for your future needs.
However you approach marketing, content strategy must be a part of it. Whether you develop it internally, or hire an outside writer, you absolutely must keep your website updated with new, relevant, informative content.