Company Web Series #5 – Website Content and Interactivity: Engage, Educate, Entertain
By Rock Paper Simple // April 12, 2012
How to use content on your website effectively.
So you have a solid website with a great design and layout. Your site directs traffic well and it has a powerful content management system to manage content… but now what? Most business owners aren’t publishers and need a little help with how to create compelling and engaging content. I’ll break it down into three easy types of content that are absolute musts. Engage, Educate, Entertain.
Every website should do all three of these and these are done through your content. Through your page verbiage, your articles, your videos, forms, quizzes, games or any other form of content or media… you should always aim to have at least two of the above… if not all three. The more you are able to keep all three of these elements in your user’s browsing experience, the better the chances they stay on the site longer and the better the chances they will return.
So what do each of these mean and how do we accomplish them? Good question and I am only too happy to help!
Your website content and media needs to engage your visitors. This means giving them something to do… something that requires action from them and draws them into the site. Gone are the days of boring websites with page after page of flat text where internet surfers were just looking for pure information. Today’s users want to be engaged, they want to interact and influence their environment… both online and offline. This is largely in part by the advent of the social media revolution and how social media and user driven content has exploded over the past few years.
Providing methods for the user to be engaged can be as simple or as complex as you have time, energy and budget. Engagement concepts range from providing methods of communication and conversation through forum or blog comments, through embedded social media modules that allow users to chat, comment or converse or even adding quizzes or games. In fact, something as functional as an interactive price calculator can be engaging if it allows the visitor to affect the environment around them.
Be sure to give your visitors something to do. Let them interact and affect with their environment.
Try inviting your visitors to submit guest blog posts or questions you can answer with your next blog post. How about a client login that tracks your client’s information or purchases? Maybe even let them personalize the colors of the site when they view it. Remember… it doesn’t have to be a revolutionary $10 million engagement platform to work wonders. You simply need to give the visitor something to do rather then the typical click-to-find-information experience.
Engagement is all about the experience you create for the visitor.
People like to learn new things and they will return to a place where they can learn more about something they are interested in. Even more powerful if they can trust this source and is updated with new interesting information on a regular basis so they keep coming back again and again. Providing fresh educational content may sound boring (now don’t go napping on me now!), however education doesn’t have to be dry. In most professional settings, you have some very valuable information locked inside of you and that sets you apart from the average joe in your industry. You just need to find a creative way to communicate it that is interesting and, if possible, also engaging and/or entertaining as well!
Take this article for example. Rock Paper Simple is a web agency and I happen to know alot about how websites should be built and how to market them… and so I’ve written these articles to help our business community. In so doing I’ve provided educational material that is valuable to my target client. I am writing about something I love to do and in many cases I write about knowledge I take for granted most days. Sit down, put your thinking cap on and ponder what valuable insights and information you might have to share with your website visitors… and share it!
Providing fresh educational content may sound boring (now don’t go napping on me now!), however education doesn’t have to be dry.
How do you go about sharing this information? Well, posting articles on your blog is a great start… making guest posts on other people’s blogs is great for traffic too, but more on that later. Not good with the written word? How about a video blog like my good friend TheApple.Pro? Maybe write some whitepapers and offer them for download or start an email newsletter where you send out tips and articles on a weekly basis.
People like to learn… teach them and they will remember you. Be the expert in your field.
Now for the fun stuff! Entertainment. Your visitors like to have fun… they like to be entertained. Americans hate being bored and will find a way to be entertained and if it just so happens your website has some entertained, you just may earn yourself some extra page views or maybe even a few extra visitors. Entertainment value is just another way to draw visitors back and and again. You can provide entertainment in many forms. Videos, games, interesting or funny articles, funny cartoons or just a very interactive and engaging website are all things that can add entertainment value to your website.
When adding the entertainment element to your website, be careful. It is easy to add something that simply does not belong with your website or your industry just for the sake of adding something entertaining. Make sure what you add makes sense for your industry and actually adds value. Never clutter up your website just because you think it will be “cool” to add a game on the homepage of your website. Make sure that will appeal to your target demographic and will draw them back again. Good educational videos that are not dry and boring can easily double as entertainment value and so can great engagement elements that keep the visitor busy contributing or interacting with the site.
Give your visitor a good time… and they will come back for more and more importantly, they will remember your brand.
Pulling It All Together
Lacking content ideas? Be sure to ask your web developer or agency… that’s part of the reason they are there.
Making sure you engage, educate and entertain with your content is important… but it is even more important to have regular and fresh content. Let you visitors know that you care about your brand and you are dedicated to providing value for them… not only with your product, but with your website too. Not only does great content draw visitors back and keep visitors on the site, but it is invaluable for search-ability with the search engines and can greatly enhance your website’s ranking. No internet marketing plan is complete without a generous amount of content.
Lacking content ideas? Be sure to ask your web developer or agency… that’s part of the reason they are there. They can provide ideas and advice tailored to your company and industry and in many cases can actually develop and produce the content if you are strapped for time or just prefer not to do it yourself.
A website without good content has not reached it’s full potential. If you are looking to make the most of your company website, be sure to put focus on your content development.
The next installment in our web series:
The Ongoing Support Your Website Needs
Written by Joshua Adams at Rock Paper Simple
Joshua lives and breathes web development and internet marketing and is passionate about not only providing quality service, but also educating fellow business owners about internet marketing and web presence.