Content is the heart and soul of your website. Not only is it your ticket to getting good rankings in search engines, but it’s also the draw for your readers. No one wants to spend time on sites that don’t offer anything of value.
What is Good Content?
Obviously, good content is subjective, so you want to make sure you know who your target audience is. The rule of thumb is that if they consider it worthwhile, then it’s good content. Depending on your audience, good content is:
- humor and entertainment
- practical, useful free information on a topic
- opinions, commentaries, and reviews
- products for sale
- forums, chat rooms, and communities
- breaking news
- free tools and software
- demonstrates your expertise
- provides a free sample of your services
- provides a snapshot of your personality
Of course, you’re not limited to just one of those categories, nor must you try to incorporate them all into your site.
Where Do You Get Articles For Your Website?
In my experience, content is always the last thing people think about when building a website. They’re usually more concerned with the design, the bells and whistles, the color scheme, and the features. Once the site is built, they say, they’ll quickly throw together some content to fill the gaps.
They are even more startled when I explain that good sites are updated frequently, so if they want to obtain a good search engine rank and make sure visitors return to their website from time to time, they need to add good, quality content on a regular basis.
So, where do you get good content? Here are a few ways to generate content from your website:
Write it yourself. If your business is based on selling a service – be it babysitting, consulting, or providing legal services – your best bet is to write the content yourself. This accomplishes three things:
The biggest obstacle you must overcome is demonstrating that you are a trustworthy, likable person who can do what you say you can. When you write articles, tip sheets, and guides, you offer people a way to put some of your advice into practice now. When they do and realize that it works, they start to trust you. With repeated exposure, you become a trusted advisor, so that whenever they have a similar problem, they come to you – and there’s a good chance that next time, they’ll pay for help.
Hire a writer. If you can’t write it yourself, hiring a writer to write exclusive content for your site is the next best thing. Again, I stress that having unique content is important. If people can go some other place to find the exact same articles, there’s a good chance they will.
Ask for reader submissions. If you already have a large readership, you can ask people to submit articles to your site in exchange for a blurb about them and a link back to their website. You probably won’t want to publish everything that is sent to you, so in this case, you’ll need to create article submission guidelines for what you will and won’t publish. You can also limit the number of other sites that this particular article appears on.
Interview an expert. Interviews are an easy way to generate content without doing much research. You can either conduct one in person or create an email with a couple of questions and send it out to known experts in your industry. Then, publish the transcript to your website.
Pull content from your readers. If you have a discussion forum or comments section on your blog, you can take the best pieces of advice and put them together into a quick article. You can also ask readers to submit questions that you or some of your readers answer on your website.
Ask for reprint rights. Many magazines allow you to reprint their articles for a small fee or for a link back to their site. If you like an article you find, it never hurts to ask.
Use free article sites. There are dozens of sites out there like ArticleCity and eZine Articles that allow people to submit articles on a variety of topics. Anyone can then take those articles and publish them on their website, as long as they include a blurb about the author and a link back to the author’s site. There are a couple of problems with these sites:
- While these sites usually provide a wealth of articles on many subjects, the quality of the articles can be spotty. You have to weed through a lot of bad articles to find the good ones.
- Since anyone can publish these articles on their sites, chances are that a lot of other sites will choose to publish the same articles as you.
- Lately, Google has been cracking down on duplicate content with their infamous 2011-12 Panda updates, so be very careful with this – and only use these types of articles sparingly.