By Dave Howell
1. Written content
Visitors read web pages in a specific way. Content marketing website Copyblogger says that, on average, eight out of 10 visitors will read your headline, with just two out of 10 reading the rest of your text.
So think about what’s important on your page and create a headline encapsulating its main points. Then write short sentences, with around 800 words maximum on each page.
Visitors will scan the headings and subheadings on your page first to get an overview of the content. If this is of interest, they will read further, so it’s vital to write attention grabbing headlines and think about how to break up the text into meaningful subheadings.
2. Create sharable content
Social media has shown we all have a propensity to share interesting content, wherever we see it. Where your website is concerned, it’s vital you give every visitor the opportunity to share your content on their favourite social media networks.
From product information, discounts and promotions to your blog page, have the share buttons front and centre. Services such as AddThis and ShareThis can help you.
3. Optimise images
Your website should load as quickly as possible, but don’t forget that, increasingly, your site will be visited via mobile devices, which may not have the connection speeds of a landline.
Images are vital for sports retailers, so ensuring they look great and load quickly is critical. You can use Canva or PicMonkey to create images for your site. A number of image optimisation services, such as TinyPNG, Compressor.io and Optimizilla, are also available.
4. Strong meta data
Search engines use the meta data on each page to index your site and rank its relevance to searches. You should pay attention to the URL of each page, title and description and main headings, which are the H1 tags. Each of these elements should contain the main keywords you want to target on that specific page.
Keep titles to around 150 characters, as Google will only display those characters in search results. If you use WordPress for blogging, the Yoast plug-in is useful as it gives you a preview of how your pages will look when they appear on Google’s search results. Moz publishes regular updates to its SEO advice, including how best to manage meta data.
5. Video content
Video has become the dominant form of content online. According to technology company Cisco, by next year video will account for nearly 70 per cent of all the consumer traffic across the internet.
Many of your site’s visitors expect to see video content, which today is easier than ever to create. High quality videos from the brands you sell are your first port of call, but you can also create your own videos using platforms such as WeVideo, FlixPress and Animoto.
Keep videos to around 30 seconds, which is the optimum length for engagement and sharing.
6. Mobile access
According to communications regulator Ofcom, a third of Britons now consider their smartphones as their main device for accessing the internet. Using responsive web design will ensure your website looks great on whatever sized screen your customers are using.
If necessary, it’s best to redesign your existing website to use responsive techniques, as this delivers a great experience for customers.
7. Visual content
A growth area is infographics. Used to communicate information, designed well, they can become viral pieces of content that are shared widely. An infographic is four times more likely to be shared than a standard presentation using SlideShare, for instance.
You can use tools such as Piktochart and Canva to create infographics. Don’t forget to attach the share buttons to every infographic you create. And think about how the graphic will look when viewed on a smartphone.
8. Calls to action
These can take many forms – from clicking a button to receive more product information or take advantage of a special promotion, to accessing additional content that can only be seen by people who login to your site.
Use language such as ‘act now’, ‘learn more’ or ‘save money’ to encourage a response. Limited time offers are powerful calls to action. Make the buttons bold and obvious on your pages.
9. How to
Instructional videos, graphics, presentations and ebooks are among the most popular content online. All these media forms can be used to create ‘how to’ content, which can enhance your website.
Think about the questions you’re asked every day. Could you answer them through informative and instructive content on your site? It can be included on product pages and in your blog, where you can begin a conversation with your customers.
10. Keep it fresh
Content must be updated on a regular basis, so consider creating a content timetable to ensure it’s done.
Using push notifications to smartphones and tablets, you can inform customers when relevant new content is available. This is an effective way to build loyalty. Statistics from analytics platform Kissmetrics advises updating blogs in the morning. Monday is a peak time for blog reading, with 11am seeing the most average traffic.