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How to research for a website: 5 ways to improve your content

Content is the magnet of your website and arguably the most important tool in helping achieve your firm’s marketing goals. Whether you’re looking to do a complete website redesign or just want to make improvements to your current site, it’s crucial to have a solid content strategy in place.

A good strategy will guide your plans for the what, where and when of content creation. Content is the reason people visit your website, and any redesign should be conducted with a customer-first approach. Even solid content ages with time, so if you haven’t touched the data on your website in a while, it is probably due for a refresh. We’ve outlined some key steps into developing a strong, client-focused strategy for your website content.

1. Identify your unique value proposition

Your website should answer the why and how of your firm, explaining how your services and process provide value to your clients. Your value proposition should address these things, and it should be unique from other firms in the industry so that you can differentiate yourself from your competitors. Use this as a basis for the content you create for your website. Your unique value proposition should be prominent on your website and weaved throughout your content. Making sure that your content is targeted and relevant to the people you want to reach is critical to the success of your site.

2. Conduct a website audit

Before creating new content, determine what you already have and where you see holes that need to be filled. What information needs to be re-written? What pieces of information are performing well and may not need as much work? Document all of the requirements you currently have and then identify what can stay, what needs to be refreshed and what needs to go. This will give you a clear picture of how much new content you need to create and where to start.

3. Target each of your personas

Firms often think about what they want to say instead of what their audience wants to read. It’s essential to create content for your website with your various audiences in mind and think about what’s most important to them, since that is who your website is truly for. Buyer personas help you visually picture the type of people you are trying to reach and better understand buyer behavior. By determining your key buyer personas, you can create personalized information that is targeted and relevant to their interests, needs and goals. Your content is meant to answer their questions, educate them on industry topics, and address their pain points. Remember that you have more than one audience, and your website should have content that caters to each one. In addition to prospects, you should create website that is geared towards clients, prospective employees, business partners, the media, etc.

4. Map the client lifecycle

Your content should also lead visitors and prospects down the sales funnel. Your website should have a variety of content that addresses different questions or concerns depending on where the prospect is in the client journey, from awareness to purchase to advocacy. For example, a blog is a great tool for building awareness, educating and answering general questions about your services or industry. But for a prospect who is evaluating your firm for hire, a case study or testimonial is more appropriate to demonstrate successful work that you’ve done for your clients.

5. Include the essential content

With a solid strategy, each piece of content on your website will have a specific purpose and target audience. People use the Internet to conduct research and discover information on a variety of topics. Be sure to use your website content as an opportunity to educate prospects about trends and common questions in the industry, and for those further down the sales funnel, your company, process and services. Another example audience is job seekers, who are researching companies where they would like to work. A Careers section with insight into your company culture is relevant to them. These are some of the essentials to include on your website:

– Thought leadership blog
– Premium content (i.e. whitepapers, eBooks)
– Services/capabilities information
– Case studies and client testimonials
– Portfolio
– Compelling “about” page
– Team
– Employee spotlights
– Up-to-date job postings
– Process
– FAQs
– Videos (can feature company culture, client testimonials, etc.)

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