Are you really maximizing your website, or is it just a cyber paperweight sitting online doing nothing? One of the things I really try to stress to my clients is that they need to constantly be updating their websites with new content. Most people will be doing this in the form of blog posts or news articles of interest to their user base.
Doing this helps them with SEO – if they are putting good informative articles online, which in turn brings in new visitors, and gives them a chance to convert these visitors into paying customers or clients. This is called “content marketing” and is a form of inbound marketing for your business that you can do yourself.
You see, Google, Bing and other search engines are constantly looking for new, relevant and good quality content to send online searchers to. Fresh content is one of the things they take into consideration when recommended sites. They have the ability to tell if a site has not been updated in a year and you can lose some coveted rankings by not keeping your site updated.
How Often Should You Post?
So, when I finally have nailed home the fact that fresh content is king, the question I am most often asked is “how often should I publish new content?” Unfortunately, there is no exact answer to this question. It all comes down to the type of website or blog that you have.
If your website deals with news, sports, quotes, etc., you probably need to post multiple times a day to keep your content fresh. You are competing with a lot of similar websites, which can be difficult. But, if your site, like most sites, deals with a subject matter or an industry where things aren’t changing on a daily basis, you can probably get away with several times a week.
The best way to determine how often you should be publishing for your particular niche is to look at what high ranking websites in your industry are doing. If they are publishing multiple times a day, you may need to consider that strategy.
If they are posting several times a week, consider doing the same. If they are only posting several times a month or less, well, than you may have a goldmine you can use to your benefit! Post more than that and you can probably watch your rankings rise above theirs, depending on your niche.
The Freshness Factor
Keep in mind “freshness” can boost your content for certain search queries, but it degrades over time, as the content becomes older. According to the US Patent Application Document Scoring Based on Document Content Update:
For some queries, older documents may be more favorable than newer ones. As a result, it may be beneficial to adjust the score of a document based on the difference (in age) from the average age of the result set.
For more information on how fresh content can influence rankings, check out this article by Cyrus Shepard online.
Offer A Subscribe or Opt-In Option
Another side benefit of posting on a more regular basis is you give search engines a reason to come back and crawl and index your site. This is always good for your SEO. But, you also give readers of your site a reason to come back.
Both of these things together means you have more exposure and more chances to accumulate additional regular readers. Of course, it helps to make sure you have a way for people to “subscribe” or “opt-in” to your blog, so they don’t miss any of your posts.
People generally don’t go back to a website on their own, but if new posts are delivered to their inbox via email or to their RSS reader, you have a better chance of them reading it. So an opt-in is a must for any blog.
Make Sure You Are Favoring Quality Over Frequency
Of course, all this is said with the assumption that you are posting informative content that your client base wants to read – not mindless drivel that you are putting online just for the sake of posting something.
According to Google’s Matt Cutts, while freshness is an important signal for website ranking, and publishing frequently is a good idea, it’s more important that the quality of your content be good.
You need to be sure that you are getting target keywords into your articles and they need to be something your readership is interested in learning more about. But, keep in mind that a 50-word snippet isn’t going to do you much good, unless it is a truly unique subject, and even then I’m not sure that 50 words can truly convey much to a reader.
Some bloggers feel that a blog post should be about 2,000 words to really make an impact with search engines, and other subscribe to the “shorter is better” idea, saying around 500 to 600 words is enough. To put those numbers in perspective, this article is clocking in at around 1,640 words.
Here is an excellent article that explores the topic of how long your blog posts should be. Do keep in mind, however, that the highest ranking articles on Google are generally more than 2,000 words. However, many feel that 600-700 words of content can be a good target point too.
Understandably, consistently cranking out 600 to 2,000 words of content, several times a week, can be overwhelming for busy business owners. There are other ways to get original content which can include delegating the task to one or multiple employees as part of their job duties or hiring a company such as ours, which assists businesses with their online content marketing.
User-Generated Content Helps
One of the things many people don’t consider is user-generated content on their blog posts. When you write a blog post and offer the option for readers to share it on social media, with social media sharing buttons or links, or give away for your readers to comment, you are opening up another avenue to get content you didn’t even have to write yourself.
User-generated content comes in the form of comments, reviews, answer to questions, surveys, etc. While this can be difficult to get if you don’t have a lot of visitors to your site when you are first starting out, keep in mind that posts that you put up today will still be available a year from now unless you remove them for some reason. So, as time goes on, your articles and posts will have a chance to garner more visits and get more comments. It is like a snowball effect. Comments and shares can just start building upon themselves.
Best Posting Strategy For You
While it’s hard to give a hard and fast number for exactly how often you should be publishing content online, there are some things you can do to assist you in your quest for new and quality content for your site.
- Figure out what your readers want. Try to get into the mind of your client base and think about what they would be looking for online.
- Test posting strategies. To find out what will work best for your readership, use your Google Analytics, assuming you have them installed. If you don’t have them up and running, get them installed and set up right away. If you need help with this task, contact us and we can get your account set up for you. After they are in place, test some different posting strategies for a month or two and see what your analytics show to determine how frequently you should be posting vs. the ROI on engagement.
- Establish a posting schedule and routine. Come up with a posting strategy that is going to be easy for you follow and give you the best return on the time you invest in writing. Build a posting schedule with deadlines to adhere to and follow it tightly. If you don’t set up a schedule and stick to it, it is all too easy to let it slide and then fall out of the routine.
- Plan your posts ahead of time. To help maximize your time investment, you can plan your posts in advance and write a batch of them all at one time. This way you aren’t missing your targets in your posting schedule. So let’s say you determine you are going to post two times a week, you can spend one day coming up with 8 different articles, which will carry you through a month of posts. Some website software, such as WordPress, will also allow you to write articles and schedule when they post, so you don’t have to actually be sitting at your computer to launch them.
- Remember to 80/20 rule. This basically means 80% of your content may go relevantly unnoticed online. There is so much available out there, and competition is tough, so you may have an article that you worked hard on that never gets much traffic unless you actively publicize it via Facebook or other outside venues to try to draw some traffic in.
Keep in mind, longevity is your friend as well, especially if your article isn’t of a time-sensitive nature. I have seen blog posts that get very little attention be published online for a year or more, then all of the sudden they are bursting with activity because someone ran across it, thought it was good enough to spend time commenting on, shared it to their social media accounts, and then others picked up on it and did the same.
So, even if you are posting 2 to 3 times a week, and feel like it is a fruitless activity, over time you will slowly, not only improve your writing skills but start to see some return for your precious time investment.
Keep on keepin’ on, my friend. Stay vigilant and keep your website “fresh!”