Web Content Strategy for Higher Retention and Conversion
Five years ago, it was not uncommon to land on a website and have the benefit of facing brightly colored flashing or scrolling graphics promoting services or products. Websites were entertaining and drew the attention of visitors, but the current market and savvier online shoppers asks more of websites. Due to the increased volume of sites and the ongoing move from pc based websites to mobile sites for smart phones has made Flash based web pages obsolete, if not harmful, to businesses online marketing plans.
When comparing Netcraft Web Server statistics from 2005 to 2010, it is estimated that the increase in websites in the last five years has been more than 300%. As of August 2005, the Netcraft Web Server Survey had 70,392,567 websites indexed. In December 2009, the survey estimated around 233,848,493 sites worldwide.
This sharp increase in online competition means that existing sites need to focus on effective Search Engine Optimization, SEO, as a vital aspect of any successful web marketing plan. For Flash based sites, SEO is the first insurmountable hurdle. SEO guidelines for search engines rely heavily on content, both in the code of the site and in the text on the pages to rank competing websites. Since Flash can’t be seen fully by search engines, use of it on home and other indexed pages can significantly hinder the rank of a website.
Less Flash, More Quality
This being said, there has to be a quick mention about the function of Flash in the layout of a web page. Today’s web shopper is more accustomed to functioning in the web environment than in years past and becoming more discerning with every passing day. A website that looks like an ad is not going to resonate with most readers, there needs to be an automatic connection to the brand and content that both engaging and geared towards the target audience. In other words, no matter the complexity of your service or product, keep the content language gauged towards your audience and not industry experts; follow the writing rule of K.I.S.S. – Keep it Short and Simple.
On the Move
Mobile access to websites has also made Flash graphics on web pages a second-level standard for most online companies. With mobile access having increased dramatically since the introduction of the iPhone which carries more than 64% of mobile web usage overall, the mobile web is an unavoidable factor within a marketing strategy. More than 8,700,000 iPhones sold in the first quarter of 2010 alone, so the amount of web based users is worth a look from the web development perspective as well.
When someone accesses a website from a mobile device, they are looking for information even more quickly that when they are in front of their PC or MAC. Landing pages and websites need to be created specifically for mobile’s limitations for a positive user experience. This requires at a minimum of a completely new and different navigation experience, choice of content displayed, and interactive design. 99% of Websites created for a computer screen are unusable on a mobile device and only frustrate users to the marketer’s detriment.
Overall, there are a few key points to optimizing the content on your website:
- Keep content short, to the point and engaging.
- Hyperlinks within the text will help them dig deeper into your site, which coupled with engaging content, can increase conversion rates.
- Matching keywords in the HTML to those used in the page content can increase SEO.
Today’s website is not about Flash and visuals. It is about engaging the target market reader based on their perspective and needs, and turning potential interest into a sale. Solid, targeted and engaging content and is the key to that end.