A scratchy throat. Diminished energy. That ominous sensation where you wake up feeling like someone has inserted a golf ball deep into your trachea.
We know these symptoms. We understand them to be the early warning signs that a virus is about to mess with our busy writing schedule (perhaps the perfect time to road test ghostwriting services, but that’s for another article!)
What’s less familiar, yet equally disruptive, is when your website gets sick. Whether you’re the owner, content editor, webmaster, or some glorious chimera comprising all three, you need to spot the symptoms of ailing content and be able to nurse it back to good health.
Spot the Symptoms of Sickly Content
Forewarned is forearmed! These are some of the signs that your content is keeping your business website from performing at peak fitness:
Symptom: Fluctuating visitor levels. Diagnosed by weekly checks of your site analytics.
Cure: If you have high traffic some weeks but huge dips in others, it’s often down to a lack of direction or an inconsistent publishing schedule. Try setting yourself a target number of weekly posts, targeted at two or three clear categories.
Symptom: Lots of content, lack of visitors.
Cure: If none of your content attracts attention but you’re convinced of its quality, it’s often a visibility problem. Try sharing your best articles outside of the usual forums and social sites. Work on SEO to attract more eyeballs via organic search. In future pieces, link to other sites for source material and tag/thank those writers when you share your work.
Symptom: Visitors either leave immediately or don’t stick around for long. Diagnose this by checking your bounce rate and average duration of visit in Google Analytics.
Cure: Dig into what your visitors really want to read about. Conduct surveys or client research, identify frequently asked questions and do everything you can to answer them in your articles.
Symptom: High traffic, low engagement. Despite healthy visitor numbers, very few readers share or comment on your content.
Cure: Make it easier to share and remind people to do so. Include social network buttons that cover popular platforms. To increase comments, ask questions at the end of your articles or have people share their own stories. You can also write around trending topics or sensitive subjects, if it fits your content style, as these tend to attract opinions.
In short, a healthy site has targeted, relevant content that attracts visitors who stick around, click around and share the articles that they enjoy. If your business is missing any of these elements, it’s time to get a second opinion.
An Apple a Day…
Keeps poor content away, at least when the metaphorical apple is a weekly check of your site analytics and a monthly review of your editorial calendar.
Knowing the symptoms is a good start, but prevention is always preferable to cure. And if you need some extra medical expertise, don’t overlook those ghostwriting services we talked about!
Steve B is a freelance writer and content marketing consultant who lives in Brooklyn, hails from England, and harbors a secret scribe’s crush on Paris. He views “freelance isolation” as the perfect cover for his mission to personally visit every coffee shop in the five boroughs.