As an SEO consultant I experience many challenges every day, and one of the questions I face time and time again from clients in the less exiting sectors is:
"How do we create interesting and engaging, yet brand-orientated content?"
They truly believe that just because their business is of a boring nature, their website design and content cannot be interesting either. Hence they create websites that serve them nothing more than an online version of their company's leaflet, basically lack of content ideas.
Let me start my by defining what I'm referring to when I say content. Website content is anything and everything you position on your site to reach the customers who might be interested in the products and services your organisation offers. In reality, it's the content that really drives and converts visitors on your website.
As Kristina Halvorson from contentstrategy.com rightly describes: "Your web content is your prospects' first impression of you, your customers' lifeline to your organization and shapes potential employees' opinions about what it might be like to work for you"
To find out more about the importance of quality content, it's worth checking out Corey Vilhauer's article for the Sioux Falls Business Journal - Treat website contents like business asset.
There are many types of content ideas that can help websites create a buzz in the digital world; in this article I am going to discuss some of the most common, yet most important types that are often overlooked by businesses, whatever the niche.
1. Consider a Visually Attractive Website Design
This had to be to on top my list because unfortunately while building a website has brought instant success for some businesses; it has the potential to be an absolute disaster for others. Think about it, you are already in a boring niche right? Take a look at your current website design and be honest to yourself or take at least 10 people's opinion, is your website making your niche even more boring? If the answer is yes, you've got to take action. Poor website design is often the primary reason for a website's failure due to a fundamental failure to engage.
A good example: WM.com
A boring niche cannot get duller than a waste management company, but take a look at wm.com. One of the aspects of a WM's successful website is the layout and the design that make everything easier for the visitor. It helps make the company's interaction with its customers extremely simple.
For a really strong site design, you should consider using a professional web site builder to create a template and a marketing agency to plan your marketing strategy for you.
2. Text Content of your website - Don't Ignore it
Text content on a website is one of the most important elements search engines consider when ranking a website in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), but from a customer's perspective it is even more important. Imagine you visit a High Street retail store to buy a laptop, but are faced with a dull, rambling sales professional. What would you do, especially when you know there is another shop next door? Of course you would try to run away, not only from that sales person but also from this store.
Similarly if the copy on your site is irrelevant and written in a boring manner, the same thing is likely to happen and you'll lose visitors to competing websites. Always treat the wording on your website as a striking, informative and exciting sales pitch.
A good example: Autogeek.net
The example I will include in this section is from Autogeek.net. Despite being part of a boring niche, they have come up with an interesting website and much stronger content as compared to some of their rivals in the industry. The clever bit about autogeek.net is that they have divided the homepage's contents area into 3 different sections.
The first section is the rotating banner, which is shouting out loudly about some of the special offers; to be honest you can't miss it when you visit the site.
The second section of the page is some quick links to most popular products in 'Car Care' and 'Kits & Bundle' categories. Again they have to cut to the chase and encouraged users to purchase products right away.
In the last there is a longer section of content, which is up to the visitors whether they want to read or not but of course text on you page is important for the search engines. The important thing here is that the messages and core products stand out as soon as a user lands on the page.
3. Use of Images and Pictures
In addition to the importance of text content, we must have some consideration to how we use imagery on our site, and whether we are making the best use of the visual opportunities to promote our business.
We are living in a visual age, and lacking good use of images on a website makes it harder for a business to convey its message and to grab the customer's attention. Providing photos of your products, your business and related industry can be a great way to tell the story of your business and products.
Images should be fresh, high quality and inspiring, also they should make sense and be relevant to the story you are trying to tell.
A good example: WasteCare.co.uk
I love the way Waste Care have used images under every service tab. Sometimes images speak louder than words and the bold use of images can bring life to your site and go a long way to express the message without having to write blocks of boring text.
While exciting text content and attractive images are important for your website, one of the brilliant ways of converting boring niches into interesting ones, and as a result driving volumes of traffic to your website, is the use of videos. More and more businesses are producing rich video content as it can be a cheap and extremely effective resource.
As a business owner you may wonder why you should use videos on your website and how can it be beneficial for your customer.
Well you will be surprised to know how much difference it can make on your website. Following are some of brief case studies of the companies who created a massive buzz by uploading videos on YouTube which went viral, creating an overnight success for the company.
Blend tec has to be on top of my list. Blend tec is a blender company who sell heavy duty blenders. They became an internet sensation after creating a series of simple videos called "will it blend" on YouTube, displaying how well their blenders work. All Blend tec do is blend anything and everything such as plastic toys, baseballs, golf balls and magnets etc. Most of their videos have millions of hits, and their most popular videos such as blending iPhone and iPad have over 14 million. According to CEO Tom Dickinson in his interview with inc.com, the company skyrocketed over 700% in value because of these videos.
Although a very old name in the men's grooming market, Old Spice faced tough and continually growing competition, and as such their body wash sales were starting to slip. The question was how Old Spice could generate excitement with men who are not currently Old Spice customers. The answer came in the form of "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" YouTube video campaign that quickly became a cultural phenomenon and attracted millions of fans to start using their body wash products. As a result Old Spice enjoyed a sales increase of 107%.
REELSEO conducted some very useful research on "How top websites use online video" which gives you a breakdown of how top websites apply web videos.
And finally Blogs, how can I miss it? A blog is an informal and informative journal that you update regularly on your website. Blogs have become an active marketing tool for businesses regardless of their niche. It's is an excellent way to draw targeted traffic to a website, as well as help to improve a sites overall performance in search engines. Blogs offer an effective means for businesses to connect with current customers on an informal level and spark the interest of new ones.
So coming back to the main topic "my niche belongs to a boring industry, how I can liven up my Blogs?"
Keep it Interactive
Blogging is often best when it is made interactive for the visitors. You should encourage comments by asking questions in the post, run polls and surveys, run competitions, offer special discounts for readers etc.
Mix Blog with Diversified Contents
There are various types of posts you could publish in your Blog section, for example:
- Highlighting key staff members
- Message from the MD/CEO
- Linking to breaking news in the industry
- Announcements of new products
- Tips on how to use products
A good example I found is Oakhouse Foods, who continuously publishing fresh and interesting contents, competitions and informative articles in their blog.
No Niche is Boring
It may be boring for some, but people who have invested in it; it's certainly not boring for them. One of the principal mistakes often businesses make when developing content ideas is that they completely ignore their target customers and try to speak to a much wider audience who have no interest in their business. As Jonathan Fields describes in his article, "The moment you speak to the world, you speak to no one."
Rather than focusing on the entire world, focus on very specific problem for a very specific audience with the passion, clarity and authority.
If you have some good examples of boring niches that are using excellent content on their website, why not share with us via the comments.