27
2007
Aug

Self Induced Content Inspiration

Rob Dumouchel

One of the hardest things about running a web site is keeping it fresh. If you have new interesting content on your site at a daily or near daily frequency, visitors have a reason to come back often. More visitors usually mean more money, so this is a good thing. Plus on a side note, this is great for SEO. The only problem is where do you find the inspiration to do all this writing?

Content development can be difficult and time consuming, especially if you have no idea what to write about. As it turns out, if you are running any kind of analytics program or PPC account you have a tons of possible ideas just waiting for you. The stats in these accounts will tell you what words and themes are most popular on your site and on the web. This is great inspiration because it allows you to see real searches, not just what you think would be popular.

The first place to look for content inspiration is your analytics account. If you don’t have one in place, Google Analytics is a free and easily implemented option. What you want to do in Analytics is find your traffic sources, and then search engines. You should be able to access a list of keywords used to visit your website. There will be a lot of words that make sense to you in there, some relevant surprises, and some that are completely out of left field. One of my clients that does general contracting and clean up had a number of searches on how to clean egg off of windows, cars, and driveways. It’s on the very edge of what they do, but it might be worth writing about seeing as a good number of people are interested. However if a phrase or keyword doesn’t make any sense just disregard it.

Now start really looking at this list. Are there predominant words, phrases, and ideas? And are these themes relevant to your business? If there are, you’ve just found some great possible content development ideas. Make sure you scour this list for any potential topics, you have a lot of content to create and every relevant little bit helps.

Now your other content goldmine is your PPC account. This is a collection of words and phrases you want people to use to get to your site. The best part about this is you can see the total number of searches done even if they didn’t result in a visit to your site. So say you sell fruit and you get 40 visits a day for ‘apples.’ ‘Oranges’ only gets 4. If you’re only looking at analytics ‘apples’ is clearly more popular and content development should be focused there. But before you start your research into the wild world of applesauce, check out your PPC account. There’s a chance that ‘oranges’ is searched far more often than ‘apples,’ you’re just not getting a proportional piece of the traffic. Always keep an eye on which words get the most impressions.

Now that you have a better idea of what you should write about, make a plan. As I get ideas I write them all down in the same place. Then I try to figure out what topics have priority and how to best space them out. You don’t necessarily want to ride one topic at a time. If you run 2 weeks of articles on the same topic and you have some regular readers that like your site but not the current topic you’re riding at the moment, you might break their daily reader habit.

So in short, keep it fresh, keep it interesting, keep it relevant, and don’t forget all the inspiration you need is right under your nose!