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OTHER ITA SITES:
Building a Content Rich Website - Part 2
Lots of quality content is the key to lots of traffic. What does this mean and why is it so?
Derek Gehl (from http://www.marketingtips.com/) says that the vast majority of people surfing the net are are looking for information. This also means that they are not looking to buy. It then follows in most cases that if they click through to a site that is obviously trying to make a sale they are unlikely to stay on that site.
So how do you provide visitors to your site with the sort of content they're looking for? Firstly you need to find out the sort of questions that your target market is asking. Once you know those sort of questions you can set about finding the answers either yourself or paying someone to do it for you.
It is worthwhile at this point to check that you actually know your target market well because if you don't know what you're aiming at then how are you going to hit the target? You should also be careful not to target too broad a market because then you will have a lot of competition, potentially limiting your ability to make money. Do some keyword research (a good place to start is http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/) to help you find out if you should narrow your target market.
How can you find out the sort of questions your target market is looking to find answers for? There are several ways you can do this. One of the easiest ways is to spend time in user forums specific to your target market. In those forums you can easily read the sort of questions people are asking.
If the answers are readily available (web, library etc) then you can simply reproduce those answers (being careful not to infringe copywrite) on your site. If the answers are hard to find then this signals a great opportunity for you to get the answers, possibly even a potential product you could create!
Another way to research your target market is to set up a survey on your site and do some targeted advertising requesting people to help you with some market research. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how many people who are struggling to find answers will be willing to do this. It is best to be upfront about your intentions for collecting the market research. Why not just tell them that you are going to answer their questions once you've determined the issues that are of the most importantance to the target audience. The reward for those who are generous enough to fill out your survey is they will be glad for the new content you provide and you could even give them a free copy of your new product if you create one. If you do have a product this also gives you a potential source for obtaining the all important testimonials you need for your sales copy when you officially launch it.
An alternative way to research your target market is to try and do a joint venture with someone who already has an established audience in a similar niche/topic. Of course if you do it this way you need to be very careful that you frame it such a way that it is a win-win for you both. Also you need to ensure that you don't give them the opportunity to steal your product idea before you have formally made any binding arrangements. If you are able to negotiate through these initial hurdles then you will have the captive audience that you can ask questions of.
So once you have clearly identified the target market and established through careful research (not by guesswork) what sort of content they would appreciate you are then ready to go ahead and create that content! This is easy to do even if you're not a writer and will be the subject of my next article.
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