4 Simple Ideas for Fresh Content for Your Website
The importance of "fresh" content on your website has been a consistent theme of ours, and the performance data on sites within the Energy Circle PRO network continues to show that it is critical.
We all know what it's like to land on a site that's stale--old information, a blog post from 2012, information that's obviously out of date. This is not the kind of experience that produces what we're after: conversion of a visitor to a lead. A quality experience for your visitors is one thing, but the value of fresh content goes beyond just that.
Fresh content--meaning new pages and edits of all types that are updated on your website at a sustainable rate* (more on that in a bit) is a known factor in driving search rankings and your overall site authority.
On the Energy Circle PRO Weekly Webinar last night, we went deep on the fresh content subject, looking at the data on why it's so critical and assessing the potential upside that comes from a steady flow of activity on your site.
A successful content strategy pays many dividends, but one of the more tantilizing ones is the prospect of significant organic search traffic growth that produces a strong flow of leads. Remember, when we say organic we're referring to visitors to your site that got there by using a search engine to look for something, finding you in the search result, clicking through to your site and, we hope, liking what they see enough to call or complete a form. Holy grail, right?
Here's a real world example of a home performance contractor that started a regular content strategy last summer and is now reaping the rewards.
This graph represents only organic search traffic that has built up to more than 500 visits per month and, most importantly, is converting to a lead at over 7.5%! That's 400+ leads over about 10 months. 7.5% conversion is an amazing number by the standards of online metrics, but when you realize that these visitors were actively looking for something, it makes sense. This is the power of "inbound marketing."
Keeping content on your site fresh, let's confess, can be hard. It's everyone's achilles heel. But it doesn't necessarily have to be. Here are a few simple ideas from the list we discussed on the webinar:
1. Questions and Answers on Your Key Service Pages
The questions you face out in the field everyday are your source for this. The PRO move I'd like to suggest, however, is to put your Q&A on your key service pages rather than on one master FAQ page. This helps build up the keyword structure of your furnace page, as in the case below, and is a never ending way to continuously add content to that page. Get another customer question --> add it --> answer it --> bingo!
2. Use Borrowed Content
It's never OK to use someone else's content without their permission, but a huge amount of content out on the web--like YouTube videos and Infographics--are made to be shared. As long as you're crediting the original producer (and often that means with a link) this kind of information is usually fair game. On YouTube, there are hundreds of home performance related videos that you can embed directly on your site. On the Energy Circle Pinterest Board, Energy Information Design, there are over 300 information graphics that you can use.
Keep in mind that it is always going to be better to wrap some description around the video or infographic--why you liked it or thought it was relevant.
3. Steady Stream of Customer Testimonials
If you have a systematic process (and you should) for gathering customer feedback, this is an amazing source of great content. Not only does this help with the fresh content issue, but it's also some of the best information you can have on your site--real people talking about the great experience they've had with your company. The PRO tip here is to be sure to include the geographic reference of the customer, as in Agatha J., Topeka, KS. This helps build out the geographic content of your overall site, and can help you perform better in search across multiple cities and towns.
4. The Horrors You See Everyday in Buildings
There's no better source than what long time home performance contractor Joe Kounen calls the House of Horrors. Courtesy of Allison Bailes, III PhD of Energy Vanguard, below is the now infamous ductopus shot. These are lay ups--grab a shot, or have your crew or techs take them for you--and tell the world why this ain't right. Or...does your basement have ducts like this?
*OK, so let's address what is always the big question with respect to this topic: how often do I need new content? My answer to this is that I would rather see sustainable pace than episodic bursts. If one new thing per month is what you and your team are capable of, that's OK. It won't get you the analytics results above, but it's still good. Something new every week is certainly preferable, but that can be challenging, I realize.
Most importantly, just try to remember that all content counts. You don't need to be a brilliant blogger or perfect wordsmith. Be the tortoise. Steady wins the race.