July 24, 2013, 9:30 AM — In today's fast-paced world, you only have seconds to make a good impression online. If your Web or ecommerce site is hard to find, takes too much time to load, is unattractive or difficult to navigate, chances are you've lost a potential customer, maybe dozens of them. So how do you create content that attracts and sticks in people's minds?
Dozens of Web content experts had advice to offer, here are 16 of their top Web content strategies for engaging both humans (i.e., potential customers) and robots (search engine spiders or Web crawlers) -- and increasing search engine rankings and sales.
1. Make sure your content can be properly viewed across platforms and devices. "More than 40 percent of Web traffic is coming from mobile devices, but most content does not look good or convert well for mobile visitors," points out Alex Shipillo, head of marketing at Pressly, which provides a mobile publishing platform. Therefore, "your website content should be optimized for smartphone and tablet devices, so that your readers can effectively consume the content," he says.
One solution to this problem is to use responsive design. "Responsive design has been around for a while, but it's becoming increasingly important as people access devices across a variety of screen sizes and form factors," explains says Derek Singleton, an analyst at Software Advice, which helps businesses find the right software. "It is also more important because Google is now taking into consideration mobile user experience when ranking websites in search results," he adds. So if your site isn't providing users with a great cross-platform experience, you may be putting your site at risk of losing Google ranking as well as prospective customers.
2. Know the customer journey. "Offer a personalized experience that caters to individuals based on what stage a person is in his or her journey," suggests Erin Levzow, executive director of Hotel Marketing and Ecommerce, Palms Casino Resort.
At the Palms, "we enable site visitors to have different experiences on the website depending on if he/she is exploring the casino resort for the first time versus another visitor who knows exactly what he/she wants and is ready to book right away," Levzow says. And that customer experience strategy, knowing where the customer is on her journey and then getting her where she wants to go faster, can benefit other businesses as well.