Why Content Counts – Building a Destination Website
While your search engine rankings are important for driving traffic to your website, there is another important factor to consider. What would make people keep coming back to your website and to refer their friends and family to your site? Simply put, it’s all about the content.
we have advocated that our clients create what we call “destination
websites.” These are sites that attract visitors based on their rich
content. What is the definition of “rich content?” Well, depending on
your business it varies greatly. Here are a couple of examples:
For mediators, building a content-rich website can take many different forms. First of all, I encourage all mediators to include a resources page on their sites with links to other web-based assets. For example, if you specialize in family law mediation, you might want to include links to battered women’s shelters, therapy groups for children of divorce, or to information about Georgia child support guidelines. You might even want to include a link to some of the articles published in the monthly GODR newsletter.
Almost every website can create content by adding a bookstore. Amazon has a program that allows you to feature books on your website and earn commissions when people click through to buy them. Imagine for a moment the last 12-20 books you’ve read on your specific area of mediation. Would others be interested in books about recovering from divorce or dealing with the issues of elderly parents? Adding a bookstore is a simple process – you choose the books to highlight, and Amazon handles the transaction. What could be an easier way to provide valuable information for your prospective clients?
Have you ever written an article or paper on your area of specialization? Include it as a downloadable file in PDF format on your site! Make sure it includes all your contact information (phone, fax, social media links, website, etc.) at the bottom of the article and consider adding your headshot. If the article contains enough valuable information people will forward it to others, thus extending your reach. If you’ve included the information to contact you, then you may find yourself with new clients based on work you’ve published in the past. Don’t limit yourself to your own writings, either. Get permission from others to highlight their work, too. The better the content available on your site, the better the chances that visitors will return and will refer their friends and family.
If you are marketing to the general public as opposed to marketing to legal and mediation professionals, no mediation website should miss the opportunity to include content about the topic of mediation itself. We all know how many people misunderstand the concept of mediation. Through articles and links you need to explain the concept and help people understand why it is the correct choice for resolving their dispute. Every day I hear from more people who have stumbled across “Fairly Legal” and suddenly realize that there is an alternative to litigation. While we all know the show doesn’t portray an exact picture of mediation, it does get the concept and the vocabulary out there – now it is up to us to leverage this free publicity.
If you are marketing to professionals, add a news page to your site. While you can include news about your practice here, the real function of this page is to link to articles of interest that have been published in the public domain. These are the kinds of articles you used to forward to others when you read them. Save them the work of uncovering this material themselves, and they’ll continue to come back to your site for their news.
The bottom line is that creating a “destination website” will increase your traffic and in so doing will increase interest in your practice. The better the content on your site the better you will rank with the search engines and the more people will stumble across you. When someone asks a friend for information about mediation, you want to make sure it is your site they are referred to, and building a content rich site is one step in ensuring that this happens.
Coming next month: “Social Media … the 800-lb Gorilla – How to Use it Effectively”