They say that “content is king.” At least on the web, that is especially true. Every web designer and search marketer has, at one point or another, stressed to their clients how important new and quality content is for their website.
So why is this content so important? Content is very important to your visitors. It provides value to them and helps demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. By providing great content on your website, it helps to establish and build rapport with potential customers as well as your current customers.
Rich content is also great for search engines. Giving search engines pages of highly relevant, good quality content increases your chances of being returned for searches for matching keyword phrases. This of course increases your chances to bring more visitors to your site.
Of course, most clients understand the importance of adding good content to their sites. The problem is usually coming up with that content. And this usually comes from one or two issues… coming up with the ideas for the content and/or the actual content creation.
As you can guess, this article is going to help with the first issue, coming up with ideas for content. This is unlimited and you can really find ideas anywhere. There are the usual suspects for content ideas:
- questions your own customers or clients have asked already
- your competitors websites and literature and seeing what they have covered
- expanding on specific features of your products or services
But maybe you’ve exhausted those sources. First off, this is rarely the case, but just in case you have, here are some sources that you may have never even thought of.
Keyword Server Logs
Hopefully you already give some attention to your website traffic logs. These may be as simple as the basic stats that come with your web hosting, or as complex as a dedicated analytics system. The keyword sections in these reports identify search phrases where your website had been returned within the search results and clicked on to come to your site.
Often what happens is people look at these results and say, “Great, it looks like we are showing up and people are coming to our site on the term ‘widgets’,” or “That’s weird, I wonder why we are showing up for those unrelated terms?” But this section of the report has an even more powerful benefit.
When you look over your results, you may find for specific searches, often three to five words or so long, that either form a question or could be turned into a question. Even though you may be showing up for these searches, you may not really be answering the question. If you aren’t, you just found a great topic idea for some new content that you already know people are searching for.
Time To Socialize
The web is becoming a very social medium. There are sites that serve to simply provide a way for people to interact or network with each other. Some of these sites even have question and answer areas where members can ask questions to get answers from other members. Again, you can identify questions that you already know people are asking and use these as content ideas for your website. You can either treat these directly as a question and answer format, or create content that just delivers the answer itself as the topic. Here are some great sources for this type of content:
- sites specifically created for this like Yahoo! Answers
- social and other networking sites that have a question and answer element like LinkedIn
- other social sites like MySpace
- forums and groups based sites that may be related to your industry
Follow The Money
Content that attracts a lot of attention is often focused on what is hot at the moment. Following trends and providing useful information can be a great way to connect with and attract customers or clients. This may be more or less challenging depending on your industry, but could be a great source for anyone who can connect their website to anything that has a retail component. Reason being, these businesses typically make money pushing and focusing on what people want, not trying to convince them into things they don’t want or aren’t interested in.
This idea is best looked at with an example. Say your website is related to the home improvement industry, specifically tiling related. So take a trip to your local Home Depot or any home improvement center or specialist and see what they are featuring regarding tiling. Talk with the staff and ask them what’s hot or the “big thing” that everyone is doing.
Or go on the next “tour of homes” that nearly every major community seems to have and take note of what trends you see. You should have some good ideas on what is hot or may become hot. Now you just need to tie that in to your site and what you think your visitors would be interested in.
Go To The Authorities
Very similar to the idea above, you can follow the lead of those who follow your industry. Industry and popular consumer magazines and key industry websites attract their audience by providing information that their audience is looking for. They feature stories and put headlines on their covers that they know will grab interest.
Of course this doesn’t mean that you should copy their information. Violating copyright is bad, but intentionally violating copyright of big players with lots of legal resources is just plain stupid. And you really aren’t providing value to your visitor. But just like above, you now have some topic ideas that you need to find a way to connect to your business and write about those aspects, which will probably be of more interest to your audience anyway. For instance, if your audience is locally focused, chances are big authorities are writing from a global perspective. You just need to find a local angle and write on that.
Turn To Your Uncle
Uncle Sam puts together lots of information on all kinds of topics. Some of this may not be as cutting edge, but it is a great way to identify key foundation topics. You can search for a lot of information right online and even request the free Consumer Action Handbook that calls out specific publications you can order, many of which you can order for free or even access online for free.
So there you have it, 5 new sources for content ideas that you probably never thought of before. But don’t be limited to these as there are always new ideas all around. The important thing is to keep developing new relevant content for your visitors. And you might even find that these content ideas work just as well offline.