You invested in a new website. Now, where is everybody?
Rather than asking yourself why people aren’t visiting your website maybe the question you should ask is: why would people visit your website in the first place?
The short answer is they’re looking for something.
They ended up at your site because they have a problem and presumably you can provide the answer. Now the second question; are they finding it? If they aren’t getting what they are looking for all the fancy web design and SEO in the world can’t save you from disappointing traffic and a low page rank. Google notices too and will penalize you accordingly.
When your website offers no answers, only an endless list of the features of you product or service, you aren’t solving their problems.
The good news is that is relatively easy to avoid alienating potential customers and bringing down the wrath of the search engine gods. Give people what they want.
Write content that answers questions
People wind up at your website because they need an answer to a question or a solution to a problem. The harder you make it for them to find the information they are looking for, the more likely it is that they will leave and never come back. The best way to ensure visitors will come back is to offer value i.e. give them what they are looking for. A pretty straightforward path to becoming a resource but one that too many websites stray from. Keep it simple. Keep it short. Deliver the goods.
Make it about the customer
When your website offers no answers, only an endless list of the features of your product or service, you aren’t solving their problems. Make it about the customer. They just aren’t that interested in you, only what you can do for them. SEO creates traffic but only quality content can convert. Don’t be so busy singing your own praises that you forget why people are coming to your site in the first place.
You need more content
A blog can generate real traffic to your website, but it doesn’t happen over night. The more pages of quality content you offer the better the results. Those pages are indexed by search engines, which in turn improves your page ranking. Set up a blogging schedule and stick to it. With a little discipline, you can see dramatic results.
Some of the same qualities that apply to traditional retail hold true for online commerce as well; if you don’t deliver what you promise you are going to see a dismal return in the long run.
Tight deadlines are a way of life for freelancers. They aren’t always in the best interests of the client.
When I first started freelancing I made the common newbie mistake of taking on every job that came my way. I was trying to build a list of clients, who I hoped would have long-term work for me. During that time I accepted several projects with ridiculous deadlines. The kind of jobs where you have to write several thousand words of original content within twenty-four hours. To borrow a phrase from old media, it was hack work.
I did this while working a full-time job and being a dad to four young kids. I gave up every free minute to writing. The pay was meager. The stress was horrific.
It was all my fault.
I was always under the gun because I wouldn’t say no. Something had to give and it wasn’t going to be my day job or my family. I had to give up my dreams of ever being a full-time writer or figure out a better way. Fortunately, the problem was pretty obvious.
I wasn’t educating my clients.
Overextending myself was foolish. I could have done better work with more time. Ultimately, I was too focused on the money grab to ask for what I needed. As a result, I delivered mediocre work. I was no more valuable to the client than any other penny a word freelancer. I always made my deadlines but the quality definitely suffered. The best I could do was not commit plagiarism and make sure there were no spelling or grammatical errors. Otherwise, my content was pretty generic.
Most of my projects were one and done. I wasn’t going to build a list of long-term clients with that kind of work.
Things changed once I started asking for a reasonable amount of time to complete my jobs. It turned out most of my clients were more flexible about deadlines than I expected. All it took was explaining that an extra day could mean the difference between average work and the higher quality content they were looking for.
Some people wouldn’t budge on turn around time.
I declined to work with them.
They didn’t negotiate. They didn’t have to. There were plenty of content mills out that could deliver what I wasn’t willing to do.
Humane deadlines are in the best interest of both sides of the freelance writing equation. When writers aren’t stressing out over turn around time, clients get effective, creative content.
You have to establish realistic expectations at the onset. The writer has to be willing to lose a few jobs here and there and the client may have to delay gratification for a day or so.
In the long run, honest communication, about deadlines and expectations, is more valuable than one-day delivery.
Need a blog post, article or website copy rewrite? I’m ready to help. Let’s talk about what I can do for you.
Have you ever seen one of those TV commercials where someone is so obsessed with purchasing a product or service that they behave like a lunatic?
The best (or worst) example I can remember is an ad for a microwavable mac-n-cheese which features the young fan of a particular rock band. He is happily drumming along on the kitchen counter while he waits for his snack to finishing cooking. Suddenly, the doorbell rings.
Who’s at the door? The kid’s favorite band. The drummer is sick and they are looking for a replacement for that night’s show. He’s a drummer! He knows their entire catalog! This is perfect!
He shuts the door in their collective rock-n-roll faces.
His mac-n-cheese is done.
Hyperbolic marketing is a relic. However, the language still pops up in the digital world like a bedbug infestation. It doesn’t linger because that approach continues to work. Marketeers continue to mine the hackneyed phrases of a bygone era because its easy.
Marketese is the language of lazy people who haven’t adapted.
Don’t call yourself “the best” at what you do. Let your clients tell that story for you. The first step to getting to that place with your customers is by offering value. They came to you for a reason. What is it? Are you too busy beating your own chest to care.
Nobody cares as much about your product or service as the kid in the commercial cares about his cheesy treat. Don’t allow your marketing to pretend that they ever could.