A couple weeks ago I was shopping for mattresses, something I know nothing about. After looking at a top shopping site, I was amazed at how truly useless the site was to me. As an average Joe, I know nothing about something that everyone uses yet the site I visited assumed I could tell one mattress from the next...not!
What would have happened if I had come across a site that told me what to look for in a mattress? I would have stayed and read. They may even have pointed me to some of the leading brands and explained why they were better than others. They may have even captured my attention enough to look at how much they were selling these mattresses for.
What better way to establish rapport and reputation with visitors than good content. Sites that go out of their way to educate their visitors in plain language about the industry they are in are few and far between but invaluable. Imagine a site that is both an excellent information resource and offers products as well. Which site would you choose to stay at?
How do sites with good content affect you? Think about the psychological affect that a professional looking and sounding site would have on a potential buyer. Does content alone produce the desired affect? No, a cruddy design will cause me to hit the back button faster than anything. However, content is such a core element of a website I think it is the most neglected factor that site owners and marketers need to desperately attend to.
Now imagine this mattress info site having dozens or even hundreds of pages of detailed text and pictures... more than you could possibly ever want to know, and certainly more than you're going to spend time surfing before you buy. Furthermore, something is very puzzling about the site, it doesn't have banners, skyscrapers, tiles, pop-ups, pop-unders, or advertising text trying to disguise itself as content. Down in the corner a text link simply says "sponsors." You click, and you're presented with a very subdued link, logo, and 20-25 words describing the company on the other end of the clickthrough. GOTCHA!