Most businesses understand that they need a website. Especially in the age of Covid where other ways of getting yourself in front of prospective customers and clients are limited, your website is your most vital touchpoint with the world beyond.
But many of the businesses we speak to don’t know what to put on their website. E-commerce website owners are of course aware that they need all of the products that they sell listed on the website, but beyond that often aren’t sure. If your company sells products that are bespoke or you can’t sell directly online, or if you’re a service-based business it can be even harder to know what to put on your website.
So we’ve put this post together to help you to work it out.
Transactional VS Non-Transactional
First, let’s distinguish between transactional and non-transactional content because this important distinction will help you start to think about different types of content on your website.
Transactional content is designed for those people who want to transact, that is buy something or enquire about a product or service that you offer right now. These are the people searching for “kids size 8 black school shoes”, “life insurance” and the millions of other things that people need or want to buy every day.
Non-transactional content is all of the other stuff. The stuff about what’s going on in the business, the thought leadership pieces, the industry news, the guides for customers who aren’t sure what product is right for them. Often this content is in the form of blog posts, white papers and news articles but non-transactional content doesn’t have to be in these formats, they’re just the most commonly used ones because they’re the easiest to produce.
In this article, we’re going to concentrate on the non-transactional stuff. If you’re looking for help on producing content around transactional searches, don’t worry we’ll be covering that off soon in another article. The reason for focussing on non-transactional content is that it is the thing that we’ve seen people consistently struggle with.
How to come up with ideas for non-transactional content
If your website has got a blog, news section or guides area, we know it’s hard to come up with ideas consistently for what you should put in there. Here, we’ve sketched out a process you can use to generate ideas for website content.
Not only, though, will this process help you generate ideas for content, but it will also generate ideas for content that people want to read, will build the credibility of your business and will help to strengthen your website in the eyes of search engines.
To cut to the chase, we’re going to build a big list of questions about the products/slash services you offer, then build out a content plan that answers these questions one at a time.
To flesh this process out in a bit more detail…
ONE – List your products and services
Get a list together of all of your products and services. If there’s more than a few of these, it might be helpful to think in terms of product categories. If you’re an e-commerce website that sells women’s clothes, you’d be thinking:
- Women’s Coats
- Women’s Tops
- Women’s Trousers
If you’re an accountancy firm:
- Corporate tax services
- Director’s tax services
TWO – Get a list of the questions that people ask
There’s a lot of tools that will help you do this. Many of these are paid for but Answer the Public is a free tool that can help you get started.
THREE – Prioritise the questions
If you can get search volumes for different question phrases then I strongly suggest that you prioritise based on the largest search volume first.
Why? Because if you prioritise by search volume then:
- You can be confident that you are producing content people actually want to read. Again to use accountants as an example, 22,200 people each month search using the phrase “how much tax will I pay”. If you can produce content for your website answering this then your helping all of those people.
- If your content is good enough it will start to appear in search engine results, helping to bring people to your website. When this happens you won’t just be producing content because you feel like you should be, you’ll be doing something that grows your business.
If you can’t get search volume, then think about the questions you get asked most by customers. Ask your sales team what they get asked or think about what people want to know about what you do when you tell them what your businesses does.
FOUR – Plan out content that answers those questions
It might be that you write a blog post simply answering the question or decide to make a video that breaks down a complex answer or produce an infographic that breaks down a process.
Your question research should have given you a big list of topics so plan to tackle each one over a period of time and build out a plan.
For some businesses, there’ll be additional factors to consider beyond raw search volume when planning which questions you tackle first. Product launches, seasonal trends, industry events and lot’s of other things will make some topics more or less relevant at different times of the year.
FIVE – Write your content
Try and be as detailed as you can be and impart as much helpful information as you possibly can. Remember that your content should be as original as you can make it.
Be sure to include your key phrases and also include mentions of your products and/or services and add links from these to the relevant parts of your website as you go. Over time this will strengthen your rankings and also helps users to navigate your site. Remember that your answering their questions to help then on their way, and this could be on the way to choosing a particular product or service.
Have a question as a title or sub-title is a good idea as this will help users find what they’re looking for and can sometimes help your website to appear in search engine results page features such as answer boxes.
Formatting with bullet points list or an ordered number list can help where the answer to a question is to follow a process or there are multiple options. This will also help to visually break up an article and prevent it from simply being a wall of text.
The final thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy producing content. Remember that it is a great way for you to demonstrate what you do, why you do it and how it helps the world. Passion comes across in content, and that’s probably something your would-be customers are looking for.