content marketing,conversion rate optimization,design,musings,search engine optimization,user experience,web development

How much does a website cost?

  • Jason
  • ON
  • January 25, 2019

If you are asking this question you are likely trying to determine what you will need to budget for a website for your business. You have come to the right place.

So how much do your websites cost?

Knowing how a great website is created can help give you a better understanding of the cost. Websites, like cars, have a wide range of pricing options. You can get a website for $50,000 or $50,000,000 — it all depends on its features. Keep in mind that building a truly great website is a big task. I always equate building websites to building a brick-and-mortar store location, except it’s somewhere people around the world can visit 24/7/365. Today we will go over each stage of website development and the potential cost involved.

LET’S DIVE IN!

Website discovery

Price depends on a number of factors: the size of the website, the number of competitors, the complexity of the sales funnel, and the depth of research areas the website team explores during discovery. For example, one client might need a discovery into their website’s conversion rate optimization, possibly including a deep dive into performance analytics and session records to determine how visitors are using the current website. Other clients during discovery might simply need us to become familiar with their business and their goals before we begin work. Ultimately, discovery comes down to how able you can specifically identify your website’s problems to solve. The more gray areas, the more a discovery phase can help.

Website discovery cost:
Simple: $500.00 – $1,500.00
Moderate: $2,500.00 – $4,000.00
Complicated: $5,000.00 – $20,000.00

For most businesses, a moderate discovery will suffice. At that rate your website development team should have a firm understanding of most aspects of your business and can apply . If you are skeptical about the need for a discovery, talk it over with your website team and see why they think it’s important. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; most web design agencies are flexible and willing to figure out the most cost-effective way to solve problems.

Flow mapping

Website flow mapping is all about thinking of how users will navigate through your site. You add on layers of complexity as you think through how a user will navigate through every page of your website. Many website companies and their clients believe that people go to your homepage first. That could not be more wrong. People arrive on your site by searching Google for a specific keyword and land on a related page. This is why at our agency we see every page as its own “homepage.” By looking at your website holistically, we can control what happens when someone lands on any page and push them into a sales funnel where appropriate so they convert. The next time you are doing a web search, think about where you are landing. Take note. You’ll see that understanding how users navigate though the site is critical to conversions, goal completions, and revenue.

Website flow map cost:
Simple: $200.00 – $1000.00
Moderate: $2,000.00 – $4,000.00
Complicated: $5,000.00 – $20,000.00

Every business needs to keep flow mapping as a consideration. If you choose not to do a flow mapping exercise, you will lose potential business. Moreover, Google won’t trust websites whose pages are not organized optimally or do not relate to each other in a way that makes sense. What’s important to Google’s advanced algorithm are the page relationships uncovered in flow mapping exercises. Flow mapping connects pages’ subject matter and establishes you as the expert around those specific subjects. That’s huge for both Google and your visitors.

Site architecture

Site architecture is essentially mapping out the navigation of your website. And if you do a flow mapping exercise, it will be clear what pages you need on your website. We use a program called Slickplan to create our site maps. A robust site architecture gives your users and search engines an easier time getting the information they need. Google loves a great filing system. It makes their job easier. By having an easy-to-digest site map, Google rewards you with higher rankings in the SERPS and users reward you with more conversions and goal completions.

Website Site Architecture Cost:
(If you skip flow mapping, this price will likely be very different.)
Simple: $200.00 – $1000.00
Moderate: $1,500.00 – $3,000.00
Complicated: $4,000.00 – $7,000.00

You really can’t get away from this step. Yes, you can do it yourself, but it’s always better to have a team of trained experts by your side because, over and over again, we have seen what works and what does not.

SEO (search engine optimization)

A mistake I made early in my career was not including SEO at the beginning of a project. I’d finish a website and then bring it to an SEO specialist. All it did was frustrate them. Why? Because it turns the website into a game of “What keyword are you trying to rank for?”, a lot like putting the cart before the horse. If I build an entire site with, say, forty pages and every page lacks a keyword focus, several things can happen:

You build pages that rank for zero keywords.

You have multiple pages with the same keywords, therefore cannibalizing your own pages. Google then has to make a decision about which page to serve in its result pages, and if there are a ton of pages with the same keyword, it causes Google to say, “I’m confused. I’m not going to serve any of these pages because it’s unclear what is the best page to serve.”

Google’s job is to serve the best result for any given query. Keep that in mind always, and then common sense comes into play. (If you have pages with the same keyword, make sure to put a rel:canonical tag on the one with the best content.)

You miss keywords that are critical for your business. Missed keyword opportunities mean missed business.

So what will an SEO team do at the beginning of a website project?

  1. Keyword mapping: Keyword mapping is the process of researching the search volume and intent around relevant keywords. Typically our keyword maps start with 300 to 600 keywords, but we quickly expand to tens of thousands after site launch with an important, ongoing SEO retainer. Building a site is just the start. You must think of your website as an evolution. If you don’t you are wasting money!
  2. Content assignments: Our team creates in-depth content assignments for our content creation team and/or your team’s content writers. These assignments list out the main keyword focuses, synonyms of those keywords, and break down each page by <h> tags (header tags) so it’s easy for Google to index and crawl.
  3. Site architecture recommendations: Words matter in search; so does the structure of the website. SEO specialists are always looking for ways to optimize. Having a keyword in your navigation is great, but how it connects to all relevant content is even more important.

Website SEO pricing:
Simple: $1000.00 – $2,000.00
Moderate: $2,500.00 – $4,500.00
Complicated: $5,000.00 – $20,000.00

Website SEO monthly retainer cost:
“I want to play the game and have an internal team”: $1,000.00 – $2,000.00
“I want you to do my SEO and I just want to be relevant in search results”: $2,000.00 – $3,000.00
“I want to win SEO and get to page one in SERPs within the next 6-12 months for specific keywords”: $4,000.00 – $14,000.00

Choosing not to do SEO at the start of your website is a horrible mistake. Trust me! I already told you I’ve skipped it once, and we have the occasional client that decides to skip it even after all my warnings. They all pay the price — retroactive SEO fixes and changes are expensive!

Website content development

Content is king, queen, and everything in between. Search engines rely on content to decipher what is on your website. There are a ton of best practices prescribed to content creation. If you want to be a player in the SEO game, then you must have the content to back it up. Great content (like this amazing post you are currently reading) is critical to website success. A quality content team will write with SEO in mind… ALWAYS.

Did you know that Google wants you to write like a 5th grader? We use the Hemingway app to ensure we deliver content that’s easy to consume. Google also wants your content to be above 300 words. They like 500 better but if you look at pages that rank in the number one position they are typically over 1500 words. My top ranking articles are often over 7,000 words like my article on “Music Video Costs” that ranks #1 or #2 for the keyword “Music Video Cost” since 2013! I beat Wikipedia. That’s how important great content is. Great content helps the reader by supplying them with solid, trustworthy information.

Don’t write your own content? Want to know why? Because you won’t. The majority of clients who say they will write their own content won’t actually do it because it’s hard and requires a dedication that most people don’t have time for. (This blog for example has taken me five airplane trips between Atlanta and Boston.) It’s beyond a simple matter of convenience. Content is not easy to do the right way. Hire an expert. It’s worth it.

Website content development cost per blog article or standard page:
(Depending on the writer and word count.)
Simple, using freelancer: $50.00 – $700.00
Moderate using an agency’s content team : $500.00 – $1000.00
Complicated using an agency: $1,000.00 – $1,.500.00

Website content development cost per in-depth resource (i.e., e-books, white papers, case studies):
(Depending on the writer and word count.)
Simple, using freelancer: $1,000.00 – $1500.00
Moderate using an agency’s content team : $2,000.00 – $3,000.00
Complicated using an agency: $4,000.00 – $6,000.00
*Case studies can be very dense and require a ton of research.

The great thing about creating quality, evergreen content is it has value year after year. I tell clients to think about it like compounding interest. I write articles every year that drive revenue for my business each year after I wrote it, as long as I keep it up-to-date with new information, or if it receives a decent amount of attention online. You can’t just let a piece of content sit stagnant. You need to keep it fresh and accurate.

Website design

Website design is critical to the success of your site. It’s not only the first impression, it’s the full user experience. You’ll hear the term UI/UX thrown around a lot these days because understanding how people use a site is paramount to its success. A good website design team understands user flow and conversion rate optimization — it’s critical to the success of a project. For exceptional and thoughtful website design, you can plan on spending a decent amount of cash; however, that kind of design is critical to helping drive conversions and revenue for your business. Good design is even more critical to e-commerce sites as it helps to reduce checkout friction — from selecting products, to entering payment and shipping details, to confirming purchase.

You can find designers online from $25.00/hr all the way to $150.00/hr depending on experience, but in my opinion a dedicated design team is the way to go. A website design team will produce much more powerful work than a single person building a site. Primarily, there is no diversity in thought with one designer, so you often get opinions rather than decisions based in facts and data. You see, today’s modern design teams don’t just design things that look good. They understand the reasons why websites should be designed a particular way. They have data to back up why sliders usually don’t work, or that you need multiple calls-to-action on a page. They know that anticipating how a user will use a site is more important than how pretty it is. They know that if a visitor doesn’t see what they need in 5 seconds, then they are likely to bounce off the site.

If you are only concerned with how your website looks, take a step back and think about how you use websites. Rarely are you concerned with design aesthetics over practicality. Of course, you won’t trust a site that looks like it was coded in 2008, but you also want a site that gets you the information you are looking for quickly and easily.

Website design cost: homepage
(The homepage is always more costly as it’s the website’s anchor.)
Simple, using freelancer: $300.00 – $700.00
Moderate using an agency : $3400.00 – $4,800.00
Complicated using an agency: $7,000.00 – $10,000.00

Website Design Cost: key pages
Simple, using freelancer: $150.00 – $300.00
Moderate using an agency : $2400.00 – $3,800.00
Complicated using an agency: $4,000.00 – $6,000.00

Website design cost: simple pages
Simple, using freelancer: $100.00 – $200.00
Moderate using an agency : $675.00 – $800.00
Complicated using an agency: $1,000.00 – $1,500.00

Most designers and design agencies will work to get you the most cost effective quote based on the effort involved. It’s likely that the cost of design varies even more deeply than I have laid out above. It’s also important to note that there are a ton of amazing page builders like Elementor and Octane that exist. These page builders allow designers to work within a drag and drop framework allowing them to build custom graphics and build out beautiful pages quickly. The website world is changing and there are a ton of options. A great digital marketing agency will work with you to decide what the best path forward is to you.

Website development

Website development is an area where you don’t want to cheap out. You can do every other step correctly, but this is where the rubber meets the road. The way your website is developed will affect everything from the user experience to the way Google and other search engines index your website and its pages.

In other words, if you take the cheap way out and skimp on development, you are likely to accumulate what we call technical debt. And technical debt is expensive. Technical debt refers to the shortcuts and their bad coding which cause the need for future code fixes (which cost money). You can also go into technical debt from your website going down or a hack caused by poor security measures. Technical debt can be avoided by hiring trusted developers or trusted agencies to code your website. In development you will always pay a price. The question is how much risk you want to take on. Do you pay upfront and know the cost, or do you cross your fingers and deal with the technical debt when it comes out?

Development costs vary greatly depending on the project and the language you are coding in. For example, a WordPress website will be far less to code than a .NET or Node.js website. Another variable is the development team. A younger and less experienced development team might be less money per hour but they will likely take longer to do the work or the quality might not to be as good. That said, there are a ton of really bright young developers so just do your research. An older and more experienced website development team is likely to have a higher hourly rate but also move faster. Again, every situation is different so do your homework.

Website development will affect the following:

  1. SEO indexing in the SERPS
  2. Page speed
  3. User experience
  4. Conversions
  5. Your overall stress levels

Look, #5 on the list is no joke. Worrying about your website can be very stressful and time-consuming. As many of you know, your website is the backbone of your business, and when the website goes down, business is affected. Worrying about the health of your website is a big distraction from running your business operations. It’s always best to hire a reliable team of experts to back you up.

Website development cost: homepage
(The homepage is always more costly as it’s the website’s anchor.)
Simple, using freelancer: $500.00 – $100.00
Moderate, using an agency : $3,600.00 – $5,000.00
Complicated, using an agency: $7,000.00 – $20,000.00

Website development cost: key pages
Simple, using freelancer: $150.00 – $300.00
Moderate, using an agency : $2,600.00 – $4,200.00
Complicated, using an agency: $5,000.00 – $7,000.00

Website development cost: simple pages
Simple, using freelancer: $100.00 – $200.00
Moderate, using an agency : $1,000.00 – $2,000.00
Complicated, using an agency: $3,000.00 – $4,500.00

The cost to develop a website could be expensive, but going back to my aforementioned car analogy… you can get an 1988 Ford Escort and it will get you there, but a new BMW is going to be a better ride and is less likely to breakdown because it’s better engineered and newer. Don’t be cheap. You will pay for it! Technical debt is very real. In 2010 I built a social network for a specific sport. The project went so far over budget that we were pushed to take shortcuts when the client refused to recognize major issues that would come back to haunt their website and severely complicate it down the road. One year after launch the company was out of business because of those issues that were skirted over.

Opinion: Outsourcing the code for cheap, with a company you don’t know, in some faraway place is not a viable option. For example, early in my career I worked with several small development companies in India that promised $12.00/hr for web development. Although they were friendly, I got exactly what I paid for. The point is this: If you are paying anyone $12.00/hr for web development, you can count on the end result being garbage. Don’t learn the hard way.

Disclaimer: I am speaking from my own experiences with developers. This is not a knock against any of the fantastic Indian development companies out there — my point is they likely don’t charge $12.00/hr and I’ve never had the chance to work with them. I’m always open to working with great people so if you have a international team you trust please share them with me in the comments.

How do you choose the right website design and development company?

Choosing a website design partner is not easy. Use these steps to evaluate prospective web dev partners:

  1. Know your budget. Don’t go in blind. Map out your spending threshold and give a range to your prospective web development partners. The saying “the one who says the first number loses” does not apply to the web development world. A budget helps the team building out the website proposal come back with a realistic solution to your problem.
  2. Figure out how much time you can realistically commit to working your website, and determine if your internal team will provide the content. If you don’t have free time, tell the prospective website partner. It allows them to understand how much of the mental load they will hold, which affects the pricing and the process.
  3. Review your website development partner’s portfolio. The portfolio and client list will tell you a ton about your potential partner. Note that just because they have not done something exactly like your project does not mean they can’t do it. Many teams are very agile and can adapt to different businesses and needs. But a good team will be open and honest about their capabilities.
  4. We started our website design and development agency when clients from one of my other businesses kept complaining about their web team’s response times and communication skills. When evaluating a web partner and their proposal, keep an eye on their responsiveness and when they deliver. If they are slow to respond in the sales cycle, think about how their responsiveness when it’s time to deliver a design or a build. Think about how long it will take them to respond if your site goes down or is hacked. Digital marketing moves fast and so should your agency.
  5. Once you get the proposal, make sure that that partner truly understands the project, deliverables, and timeline. Building a website is not easy, so make sure the team pitching truly gets it. Call out things they missed and ask them to make sure those things are considered. However, website designers and developers are people, too, and everyone makes mistakes, so don’t necessarily ditch a great vendor over a missed detail. There are a ton of details with every website, so the occasional oversight shouldn’t take anyone by surprise.

What happens after my website launches?

What happens after you launch is 100% up to you and your budget. The most important thing to remember is that a website is an evolution. With today’s advanced data collection tools, businesses have real insights into how people use their websites. This is an opportunity to dial up your website to boost conversions and revenue. Below are common website questions I get asked after launch:

  1. Do I need to keep doing SEO after my website launches? You should! SEO is a never-ending game, one that most of your competitors are playing. And if you’re not playing, you can’t win. Websites gain authority in the SERPS by creating trustworthy content that’s optimized for specific keywords. And those websites are shared because they provide value. Look at this post. I created this in the hopes that it would help people answer a question I hear all the time: “How much does a website cost?” If it’s truly useful, people will share it and other websites may link to it. This will add value to our entire website.
  2. How much content do I need to create monthly for my website? My opinion is you should be putting up a new article every week at a minimum and you should be editing old post to make sure they are relevant every quarter.
  3. Are blogs important for SEO? Yes. Blogs are one way to stay relevant, and search engines like blogs because they want to see that a website is active, not stagnant. Blogs are also easy to write if you are actually writing about something you know and about which you’re passionate.
  4. How important is social media marketing for my website? Huge. Social media sites and apps are, ultimately, how your content is shared. Although most social network links are opaque and considered “no follow” within website analytics, search engine algorithms still consider social signals as a big trust factor, and will rank your website better because of them.

How much does a Brain Bytes Creative website cost?

Our website costs span a massive range depending on the project. Most sites are between $30K and $60K, but there are many outliers from $15K to $400K. If you’d like to get a quote it’s as easy as clicking here or calling me right now (yes, really).

Good luck!

content marketing,musings

Is content still key in 2019?

  • Kristina
  • ON
  • January 1, 2019

For years, marketing professionals have abided by the axiom that content is essential to success. But successful marketing is a moving target. Does this idea still hold true in 2019?

YES! Content is everywhere. A truly massive force in all our lives. It’s reported that 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing! But still, so much content marketing is just… really bad. People fail to market themselves or their products because of bad content all the time.

No one tries to make terrible content, so we have to assume that most people just don’t know how to do it right. Making good content, it turns out, is hard. But when it’s done right, the ability to create good content is the most valuable skill a company can have.

So my goal is to parse the details that separate good and bad content so we can see the impact of great content, and understand what bad content is, and why it fails.

What is content?

There’s a good chance you see the word all the time, but what does “content” really mean?

The Oxford Dictionary defines it as, “The material dealt with in a speech, literary work, etc. as distinct from its form or style.”

To use an analogy, “content” is the wine in a glass of wine. The glass represents the form or style. You could use any type of wine – or something else, I’m not judging – in any glass. Whatever’s in the glass is content.

You might have a really nice glass, but bad wine. You might fool some people, but your bad wine won’t catch on like a good wine. To really become a hit, chances are your good wine is going to have to be served in the right glass, at the right time. This is the content that often “goes viral.”

What does good content look like?

“Good” is a subjective term. Content doesn’t have to be tied to a quality product to be good content. The content provides the story of a product, but you can have a good story without a good product. To refer back to my wine analogy; a really good wine can sell even if it comes in an ugly glass.

Beats by Dre are a pretty perfect example. They aren’t good headphones. Yet, they are insanely popular and cost a ton of money. Why? Because

consumers buy into the narrative surrounding them. The success of the headphones is built on their brand story – you’re not buying headphones, you’re buying Dre.

So what’s the message? People are fickle and content is just a strategy to manipulate them? No. The message is it’s often easier to engage consumers with a story than it is with a list of qualities.

But it can’t just be any story. It needs to be a story that relates to people’s lives. The secret to successful content is predicting what kinds of stories people are looking for, and linking them to your brand.

How do I know what content people want?

How do we figure out what stories people are interested in? The same way as almost all our other questions: Google. It’s impossible to totally ignore other search engines, but Google holds the largest search engine market share overall, and dominates the market share with regard to mobile devices.

How many Google searches does that equal worldwide? Try 3.5 billion per day, and 1.2 trillion per year. That’s a lot of searches, and a lot of questions to answer.

The searches we make, and the questions we ask Google reflect our interests and desires. If there’s a question about any topic worth asking, someone has asked Google, and if the question is worth asking, it’s worth answering.

When you know what people are asking about, you can be the one who knows the answers, and that’s the basis for your content. The questions could be anything! What’s the healthiest dog food? What’s the most popular movie right now? What kind of headphones does Dr. Dre use?

Become an expert in an arena about which people are asking questions, then produce content that answers those questions. If you find that no one’s asking the questions you’re answering, then you’re either 1,000 years ahead of the curve, or you’re wasting time creating bad content.

I’ll let you decide which is more likely.

So, Google is the key to content creation?

It’s certainly a major factor. Google has changed the way companies interact with consumers. They’re increasing the value placed on answering queries as content by enabling companies to answer questions with specificity, good timing, and, as a result, gain fluency with the public.

Specificity

The internet allows marketing to be specific. Very specific, and in a couple of ways. First, companies can use Google to look at your posts and your searches. They populate your Facebook page, your Reddit account, and your Instagram with information they think you’re most likely to want. Are you a baseball player? There’s an ad telling you what the best new glove on the market is. Maybe you are looking for a new glove, maybe not. But either way, that ad is targeted at you based on queries you made.

Second, when your company has developed a lot of content–writing, video, or otherwise–on a subject, there’s more chance that someone with a question will find that answer they’re looking for when they come to your site. For the consumer, that’s a satisfying end to the story of their journey to find an answer to their query, and your company helped them get there.

Good timing

A relationship forms between a consumer with a specific question, and the company with content that enables them to quickly answer that query in search. Consumers feel that the company is both knowledgeable and, thanks to their fast answer, attuned to the searcher’s needs. They feel the company relates to the issues they care about. Cultivating these relationships is the mark of a successful company.

Trust

Basically, when a company provides timely and specific answers to queries, they prove themselves as the authority on that subject. Every time a person has a query about that subject, they trust the company with the best content to provide the answers.

That brand becomes synonymous with customer satisfaction.

How do we separate good content from bad?

Content may be vital, but you want to be able to pick out what works and what doesn’t.

The marks of bad content

Bad content means you’re telling stories no one cares about, or making them difficult to access. You might be spouting answers to questions no one asked, yelling facts into the endless void of the internet. It’s also possible you’re providing a service no one wants. Remember when Apple decided to put U2’s new album on all our iPhones without asking? People were annoyed. They never asked if they could download U2’s new album for free, so when it happened anyway, it felt forced and unnecessary.

Identifying good content

Easy. You’re talking about it, or your friends and coworkers are. Good content makes up so many of our conversations because it’s relevant to public interests. The most popular, most relevant content becomes part of our culture. This can happen when marketers successfully identify a gap and fill it.

Case in point, this World Series ad that Budweiser aired right after the Chicago Cubs won for the first time in over one hundred years. Their broadcast announcer, Harry Caray, had been with them for a lot of that time. Unfortunately, he died before the team finally won. Budweiser figured that Cubs fans would want to hear their iconic announcer call the end of the game, so they found a way to make it happen. People loved it. It was heartfelt and unexpected. That kind of timely, well-thought-out content builds a kind of favor that companies can’t generate any other way.

Quality content

Budweiser didn’t force their content. They put it out there, believing it would be successful because they worked hard to find “the right moment, the right opportunity.” And they did.

In 2019, content marketing is ridiculously important, and it’s only going to get more important. The internet gives companies the tools they need to make their marketing more individualized, more applicable, and probably more effective than ever before.

Still, don’t think that creating great content is easy. It takes work, timeliness, and sometimes a bit of luck. There is so much content out there. Capturing attention can be near impossible even when you have a great story to tell.

content marketing,strategy

Get obsessed with creating content

  • Jason
  • ON
  • December 29, 2018

Why great content and strategic content marketing are the future.

Since 2013, I have been obsessed with the power of a great piece of content. That year, I wrote blog for another one of my businesses. It was raw and factual and had a very strong opinion. Within 24 hours of releasing the post it went viral on Reddit. At one time there were 19,000 people on our website at one time. I was floored especially because it was the first blog I had ever wrote. (Talk about peaking early!) To this day — 100+ blog posts later — I still have not been able to create a blog that had the same power. But trying has been an incredible experience with many lessons that has made me obsessed with content. My hope is that this article encourages you to start your content journey because the thrill and the rewards are worth it!

Content is king, queen and everything in between online.

Without content the internet would be nothing. Without Google and other search engines, the internet would be mass chaos. The creation of the internet and Google, to me, is on par with the Big Bang — it’s the beginning of the new world of marketing, communication, and society. Today most of us, from the moment we wake up, start to consume content and it goes on throughout the day until we can’t look at our phones anymore and we fall asleep. This phenomenon has made online content the most important marketing tool in the history of man. If you are not creating content, as a brand, you are falling behind.

Why? Because everyone searches for information the same way. If we want to know something, we go to our favorite search engine and type in a query. The content that is served up on page one of search engines is decided by complex algorithms that take into consideration thousands of ranking factors like readability, page speed, keywords, image tags, geo location, and so many more. If your content hits on those, if you do content right, your content is powerful. Doing content right means creating content that helps solve a problem or educates in a meaningful way will get you far in the kingdom of search.

Search engines are looking for thought leaders.

When a search engine crawls your website, it’s looking for many things but one major factor is subject matter expertise. For example, a company that sells devices that reduce snoring should be an expert at all things snoring. Let’s look at a scenario of two anti-snoring device companies. One company, Company A, has been in the business ten years but has very little content on their website. The other company, Company B, is only two years old but has over one hundred pages of content and is generating five to ten articles a month about snoring. It is highly unlikely that Company A is out ranking Company B in the SERPS (search engine results pages) unless Company A has a ton of authority and back links that prove to the search engines that they are the authority. It is much more likely that Company B outranks Company A because the search engines are seeing them as thought leaders.

One example of this kind of thought leadership might be Company B’s content hub around snoring devices. The below grouping of articles/pages shows the search engines that Company B has a vast amount of linked content and knowledge in the snoring space. Therefore, in order for search engines to do their job properly (getting people to the best result for any given query), they are likely to award Company B with a better ranking in the SERPS than Company B.

Example of snoring devices content hub:

Snoring Devices

Snoring Mouthpieces

Which Snoring Mouthpiece is Right for Me?

How Do you Clean a Snoring Mouthpiece?

Snoring Chin Straps

How do Snoring Chin Straps Work?

Snoring Nasal Strips

Does Breathe Right Nasal Strips stop snoring?

Snoring EPAP

What is EPAP for Snoring?

Snoring Throat Spray

Snoring Device Technologies

Top Five Snoring Devices

This content hub shows a strong knowledge and understanding of snoring devices. If the content is written so it is SEO-friendly, it is highly likely that Company B is on page one of the SERPS for “snoring devices.”

Being a thought leader is critical for brands. The ones that started four years ago have a huge advantage over ones that just started, and the companies that just started have an advantage over companies who refuse to understand the power of content and thought leadership.

The right content delivered to the right audience will grow your business.

Creating content is just the beginning. You can’t put up a blog and expect the leads to just start coming in. It’s important to share your post on social networks, encourage other thought leaders to share, etc. Below is a sample email that you could send to thought leaders in an effort to transmit your content.

Hi Thought Leader,

I wrote an article that I think your audience would benefit from. Here’s the link _____________. I enjoy the content you create and I share it regularly. Thanks for all you do!

Best,

Jane Doe

Transmission of content is critical, and it becomes easier as you establish an audience. To build an audience here’s a quick list of things to get you started.

Quick tips to build an audience.

  • Social media accounts. (Boost posts when you can.)
  • Build an email list by gating valuable content.
  • Sign up for Help A Reporter Out.
  • Invest time in creating email drip campaigns for your email list.
  • Speak at small or large events on your areas of expertise.
  • Write content for other thought leaders websites as a guest author.
  • Submit content to relevant online publications like Forbes or Fast Company.

The key is delivering your content to the right audience at the right time. Social networks are a terrific place for this while also being very affordable. Select your demographic and geolocation and start reaping the rewards!

New platforms and technologies are giving content creators the ability to do extreme targeting.

Last week I met with the founder of a company whose advertising technology has the ability to geo-target very specific areas. During his demo, they used the Atlanta airport as an example. In real time, he showed me the areas of the airport where people were most active on mobile. As we drilled down further, he showed me what apps where being used the most and the demographics of those who were using them.

Because my agency works with a ton of sleep and snoring companies, I asked to see a real-life example of how we might geo-target them. He pulled up all the coffee shops next to our offices and showed me heat maps that indicated high activity. One specific Starbucks was bright red on the heat map. “You want to push ads to these people for snoring devices?” he asked. “A few have probably been up all night and need that caffeine jolt to get through the day. Wouldn’t it be nice to spend a fraction of what you are spending casting a wide net and connecting with prospects where they are likely to convert?”

“Hell yes!” I replied. Who wouldn’t want to target their message to the right consumer? This is just one example of the technology available to digital marketers today. Do a little research on tools that in theory could be useful; chances are those tools already exist, or else you might be tapping into the future of digital marketing!

Creating content and watching the data is fascinating and fun.

Lastly, creating content about which you’re passionate is fun! If you are writing about something you love, it’s almost effortless. But if you’re forcing yourself to write, you are likely writing about things that you don’t care about and therefore you should not be writing about it! Go do something else. Life is too short to spin your wheels working on shit you are not passionate about.

For those of you who love sharing your passion with the world you’ll love seeing the data analytics come in from your website, social and all the other sources. You’ll find out what your audience connects with and what they don’t give two shits about. You’ll see which article produced revenue and which ones only drive loads of traffic because they are too general. All of it is valuable and all of it will help you grow your business or influencer status.

It’s time to get obsessed with content. It’s the future. You’re being left behind if you are not playing the game! I warned you!

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is now.
– Chinese Proverb

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content marketing

The importance of having good content

  • Kristina
  • ON
  • January 12, 2018

We hear people talk all the time about the importance of having good content and being a thought leader. You know why they’re talking about it? Because it’s really important! It’s important for both you and your business in this new digital economy. Late last year, google released a white paper on a consumer behavior called micro-moments. Essentially Google is telling brands that they need to do the following:

Be there. Especially on mobile. (According to the white paper we check our phones 150 times a day!)

Be useful. Provide content that solves a problem.

Be quick. Optimize your mobile experience.

What does having good content mean?

If your company sells bottled water, you should be creating content around all aspects of water. You need to be there as a thought leader when someone needs to know something on the subject and the content needs to be useful! It can’t be an article just loaded down with keywords…that’s so 2007.

Right now I’ve got a Karma Water, a probiotic water brand, on my desk. If I was so inclined to type, “What is a probiotic water?” into a Google search, wouldn’t Karma Water or any other probiotic water company want to be there to address that question? Probiotic water companies should be fighting for that. If they want to be known as the probiotic water thought leaders and convince people of the power of their water. Then they need to educate people and be there at the consumer’s time of need. If brands are not answering the questions that people are asking, they are not going to be successful thought leaders in the digital marketing age.

So, do I need to create a ton of content?

Yes. You need to create content if you want to compete and be relevant within the market. This is all about quality and regularity. Decisions are made online via computer and mobile devices. If you don’t show up in search results, you don’t exist to the consumer. How else are they going to find you? TV? Not for long. People are spending less time watching TV and more time online. Specifically on their phone. This year, according to Forrester Research, digital spend will outweigh television spend for advertisers for the first time in history. Digital media investments will near $120 billion within five years.

Website flow mapping is all about thinking of how users will navigate through your site. You add on layers of complexity as you think through how a user will navigate through every page of your website. Many website companies and their clients believe that people go to your homepage first. That could not be more wrong. People arrive on your site by searching Google for a specific keyword and land on a related page. This is why at our agency we see every page as its own “homepage.” By looking at your website holistically, we can control what happens when someone lands on any page and push them into a sales funnel where appropriate so they convert. The next time you are doing a web search, think about where you are landing. Take note. You’ll see that understanding how users navigate though the site is critical to conversions, goal completions, and revenue.

Website flow mapping is all about thinking of how users will navigate through your site. You add on layers of complexity as you think through how a user will navigate through every page of your website. Many website companies and their clients believe that people go to your homepage first. That could not be more wrong. People arrive on your site by searching Google for a specific keyword and land on a related page. This is why at our agency we see every page as its own “homepage.” By looking at your website holistically, we can control what happens when someone lands on any page and push them into a sales funnel where appropriate so they convert. The next time you are doing a web search, think about where you are landing. Take note. You’ll see that understanding how users navigate though the site is critical to conversions, goal completions, and revenue.

What is Google’s job?

When it comes to digital marketing, you have to keep in mind that Google’s job is to give us the very best result they can for our query. Google’s algorithm determines, in nanoseconds, who is trusted and who has the best information to answer the query. To gain that trust you need a content web that weaves the story around your area of expertise. The better your website is constructed to support the information, the more Google likes it. This is called information architecture. That’s pretty important stuff if you’re going to rank high in Google and be considered as a thought leader! Information architecture (IA) focuses on organizing, structuring, and labeling content in an effective and sustainable way.

Timing is everything

Being fast is a critical part of serving the “I want it now!” consumer. As a thought leader, you need to have a blazing fast website that eliminates steps and anticipates needs. Consumers don’t have patience to wait for your page to load. If they can’t get to your content fast they will quickly bounce and go somewhere else.

You could be the tiniest business in a town. If you are creating useful content and optimizing your mobile experience you’re going to have a higher probability of bringing in new consumers and beating out your competitors. Bottom line: You’ll get more leads and get more customers.

Creating good content is not easy

Lastly, consistently creating good content is not easy. It takes action, follow through, and time. It doesn’t happen overnight and you have to commit to it. You can’t say, “I’m going to create good content that makes me a thought leader” and write one article a month. That’s not what good content is. Good content is constantly creating and sharing. They’re making their points known. They’re telling you the facts. They’re giving you their opinions and they’re telling you their story. Connect the dots for your consumers across screens, across channels, and across your teams. Put in the work and you’ll be rewarded in search results and customers.