Monday, September 26, 2011

The importance of content

Why is is it that design and programming technology are often seen as  more important  than web site content?

It frequently seems to be the case that clients spend time agonising over design issues and stranger still dictating  programming matters that they seldom understand, but then tend to ignore the content. Their customers and prospects on the other hand  want to discover as quickly as possible if the site has what they want. More specifically what benefits the company's products offer in meeting the customer's needs. Web site visitors want to get to the detail quickly without following complicated navigation - they want to get to content that is relevant to them. There are three important things to communicate - [1] how your products can benefit them, then to build confidence, [2] how your customers have successfully used your products and [3]  your company's capability, status and reputation within your market sector.

Because most buyers start their buying process by using the Internet to research what is available, even in the b-2-b sector, it is wise not to presume all prospects are familiar with your particular products and product names and can therefore find the way through you categorisation of products. Start by explaining what the products are for, differentiate yours on benefits and add links to any required, or optional accessories. White Papers can be useful for giving more background detail and Data Sheets for specific details of products. Endorsement made by users of your  products  will help to convince prospects to progress towards buying or specifying. Third party end user endorsement can be presented in several ways such as case studies, news stories and social media by using quotes, articles, pictures, interviews and video. Finally it is useful to establish the authority of the company as experts in the sector by providing thought leadership content. Involvement in conferences, independent reviews by the leading journals or web sites in the sector, supportive content from industry gurus and 'how to' style content all help to confirm thought leadership and occupy the moral high ground.

So before designing the site and worrying about the CMS it is better to start with developing content, then moving on to the site plan, design and building the site. It is also a lot more efficient to hand over the complete content to the web site builder. All too often content arrives piecemeal which both extends the project and escalates the cost.

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