|New Content 101|
What methods do you use to create new content?
When it comes to building a site up, I've seperated the type of content I build into three categories:
1. Readable content - The most important. Beefs up the site, keeps it "sticky", and gives you more outlets for inbound links and keyword targeting. Articles, product descriptions, category pages, features, ect.
2. Filler content - Some may argue with this, but I feel that there's a difference between an article and, for argument's sake, a glossary. In some cases (especially now with Google's Glossary Lab) I have been know to increase a site's heft by creating an ever-evolving glossary of terms using an index page and then a.html-z.html. There's readable material there, but it isn't really something where someone's going to say, "Oh, a glossary! I think I'll read that!" - so, in my book, it's considered filler. Don't knock it though, to add a group of pages to a site without them being utterly useless is a beautiful thing.
3. Spawned content - This is one of my favorite techniques. I use ASPs File System Object so that when a user comes to the site and creates an account - instead of using a template page andloading info from the database into the same page - I have the site CREATE an .ASP or .HTML page with that user's account info (non-sensitive info, of course). A link is then appended to an index page of our users which is then linked to our site map. There are SO many ways to use this technique, but be careful how you use it. Invoices might be a bad idea unless the pages are secured (you don't want to be giving out your client list or CC numbers to the public!), but account "profiles", What's new pages, news archives, message boards, etc. are a nice touch.
There's also the opt-in newsletter. Every one you create, you can then archive on your site as another page of READABLE content - it's just as good as posting an article. PLUS you get the added bonus of gaining prospective client leads.
Content is KING --- So how do YOU build your kingdom(s)?
Nice post. Nothing I can faulter and very helpful for people struggling to get new content all the time.
I use the most valuable tool a web developer could have...researchers on short term contracts
Granted my site is very different by its nature, but I have a constant flow of changes/additions (average of one or two a week) based on (roughly) "news".
Others might be able to adapt this to some extent and perhaps have a page of recent news articles related to your topic/keyword. (Obviously you'll want to screen these to make sure they don't hurt your overall site goals!)
Another great source, if your site is related to a company, department, etc., is just post items from any newsletters and/or press releases that are all ready being prepared for print media. (This can be particularly useful since most of the content, in theory, has already been cleared.)
Here is a couple other ways to easily build content:
1. FAQ pages: Take the questions people ask, write a 100-200 word answer, and you have a page of relevant content. Since these are your users asking the questions there is a good chance that others will have the same question and it will keep people on your site. It is also a good place to sell other products to people. For example, if I have a site dealing with car repair and someone asks about how to change a fuel pump I could explain how to do it, recommend a special tool to help, a fuel additive that would prevent the problem, and a manual to show them how it is done.
2. Testimonials: If someone writes a positive letter to you about your site or product put it on your web site. This is content you don't even have to write and when others see that people are happy with your site and your products it gives them more confidence in you.
DrCool - I'm with you on that. ALL of my sites have at least two FAQs (one for the site/product itself and one for the theme/industry).
Testimonials are GREAT too. Get enough on a page and you'll be able to make a page 2. Also, each testimonial can have a link underneath it to pop-up the actual letter or email print-out - thus an .HTML page per testimonial listed.
The trick is definitely to find the best way to increase the girth of a site without throwing in a completely useless page. If you can make one page ten pages, then why not - it's not cheating and, in my experience, it's actually helps to organize the site.
Corporations also like LOTS of white space (uncluttered look) - so this helps to achieve that while building content and PageRank.
Turning one page to ten pages.
I think on an ecommerce site, it's a delicate balance. I think of the ecommerce site as a funnel, leading the visitor, discretely, to the "buy button."
The delicate balance comes into play when figuring out the navigation so that visitors can find stuff in the least amount of clicks, while also Controlling their experience so that they are led to your money page.
It's somewhat difficult but not impossible to balance $ale requirements with adding pages of contents.
The FAQS idea is great! What do others do with their ecommerce sites to add content?
Actually - let me make what I wrote a bit clearer.
Of course you would not want to take a page of ten sentences and turn each sentence into it's own page. That would be silly, and would add no value to the material on your site.
If you can take a page of testimonials, and then add links to the ACTUAL testimonials under snippets of the best paragraph of each - then you have successfully added quality content and expanded your site a bit.
This works VERY well when applied to a commerce site since many customers/clients look at testimonials as fockery in the nth degree since a lot of web-based companies write their own to glorify their product(s) or service(s).
Giving them the actual document to peruse can be advantageous to a competitor that does not do so. If even a smidge, it can help the integrity of your entire set of testimonials - and your sales.
Adding content to a Ecommerce site?
(I don't really have an Ecommerce site)
One thing that I have seen in a few rare instances that can really help the purchaser and would add content:
Add a product "review" section to each product. Pro:Builds great content and lends authority to your site.
Con: May take a while to get reviews to all of your products if you have quite a few.
This is basically a product testimonial.