How much of your content remains unloved until it dies?

I wonder how many of us add stuff to our website, but don’t have the nerve to check and see how many people have actually read it? We all know why. The answer might not be what we want to read.

This is an issue which has come up quite a lot recently after setting up PPC remarketing campaigns for clients. One of the great things we can do with remarketing campaigns is to put up adverts for any new items added to a website, such as press releases, case studies and the like. As it’s a remarketing campaign, these adverts only show to people who’ve already visited the website. A good advert will attract a decent number of them back to read the new addition. Brilliant.

However, looking at what can be some impressive resulting visitor statistics often also brings with it some less palatable news. Sometimes, the views of the the new article generated by the PPC remarketing campaign (the views we’ve simply bought) are almost the only ones. Here’s a real example, from a client of ours, which I promise you is not made up:

analytics-example

Those are three articles on the website, which somebody had worked hard to write, or perhaps even paid to have had written, and which had occupied other colleagues’ time in checking and approving the content. The PPC remarketing campaign had brought in over 100 people to read them, but without that, they’d hardly have been seen by anybody.

As I said, that’s not something you want to see.

To be fair, I believe that the company above has a decent email list of customers, prospects and distributors, to which it emails any new articles in full. Those people will not need to read the content again on the website. But it would be nice for this good stuff to be seen more widely. Why did almost none of the 2,000 visitors to the website in the same period read the articles?

My guess is that it’s the fault of outdated web design. Anything added to the site gets automatically hidden away under some obscure, unappealing menu option which few people ever click. Why would they? Take a look on Google Analytics’ “In-Page Analytics” report, and you’ll see the result:

MENU-BAR-analytics

What your website design should do, of course, is give you the option to automatically feature new content on the home page, or in site-wide sidebars, in an eye-catching way. Think about major news websites you visit, and the way in which you’re assailed with other interesting content from the moment you start reading an article. But if that design approach is not available to you, at least try to manually feature any new content within pages that do get viewed. For example, a case study could be linked-to from within the body copy of relevant product pages. A link to company news items could be worked into that really dull copy on your “About Us” page. Think a bit laterally, be creative, and don’t waste the effort which went into all that writing.

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