By Charlie Cummins – bbmm.ie
The 2015 series of Google Breakfast Briefings continued today (March 27th 2015) at The Foundry at Google HQ with today’s topic being Building Great Content for websites.
The presenter, Shane Cassells from Google, made the point that when most companies start to develop websites, they focus on the design and layout of the website, how to include the corporate colours and logo and so on. Content is almost an afterthought – “the intern can write up a few items we can throw in later”. The presentation showed the critical importance of content to a website’s success across three areas: (A) Focus on the User, (B) Focus on the Conversion and (C) Focus the User on the Conversion
1. Focus on the user:
Content should always address the user’s needs first and formats. What can we do for the consumer? Don’t write for the search engine robots – they don’t buy from you.
In writing content, consider where the user is likely to have come from, be it organic search, PPC or a comparison website, content needs to be appropriate to match their expectation. For example, the landing page from a PPC ad must be directly relevant to the content of the clicked ad.
In a reference to Moore’s’ law (about how computer processor power doubles every 2 years while device get smaller), Cassells stated his own version of this law – “as website content double, user patience halves”. Users tend not to read large blocks of text – they skim and scan. So use bullet points to break up the text.
2. Focus on the Conversion:
Quite often websites contain too many calls to action (CTA’s) such as “follow us”, “like us”, “share”, “pin” etc. which can interfere with the real purpose of the website which should be to get users to purchase or engage with you commercially. Social media links are fine when used in a way which leaves the primary CTA clear, clean, precise and visible.
For products and services needing technical explanations, make sure the “tech speak” is translated into plain English and is user friendly. Websites need to be fast and easy to navigate. Big carousels/slideshows may look great, but if they don’t serve the needs of the consumer, they should be used at minimal levels. And don’t have video auto play with sound.
3. Focus the User on the Conversion:
A few guidelines were presented which can help deliver this objective:
(A) Make use of your CTA throughout the website, be it “call me back”, “fill out the form”, “add to cart”
(B) Keep forms short and easy to complete: the goal should be to get the contact information and have a sales person make the call.
(C) Always let the user know what to expect when they complete the CTA (for example: one of our qualified solicitors will call you back between 1 and 5 pm)
(D) Use persuasion by way of testimonials, reviews, product scarcity, and reciprocal benefits.