Every new business website needs content in order to do the following: 1) inform the customers of what they are buying, 2) draw attention to the service or product being offered, and 3) convince customers that your business is the best choice for their needs so they accept your service, return for follow-up services, and/or buy the products.
The question is, how much content, exactly, can be considered TOO much? In contrast, how much content would be considered too little? In this article, we go over how you can best determine how much content is worth featuring on your business’s new website, and whether or not too much content can actually be a bad thing.
Why Would a Lot of Content be Bad?
To answer this fully, imagine for a second that you’re one of your customers. You’re in a rush, you’ve already shopped at other websites to no avail, and now here’s your website with that kind of potential. You click on the indexed page where you think it is, and…the results are not what you were expecting. In fact, two possible things may happen:
1. You see a ton of imagery, and while it’s very beautiful, there’s only a scrap of text explaining what exactly you’re looking at. On top of that, almost all of the pages look like they’re 90% visuals with only 10% text.
2. You see a giant wall of text…with no idea whether or not this is what you’re looking for. All the headlines don’t help, either. And while there is a call to action, you have no idea for what. And, again, all of these pages look the same, and the menu is massive!
These are some examples of when too much content, whether visual or text, can actually work against you and your company online. A good web designer knows that there must be balance between these two things, and they also know that while a lot of content is in fact good for search engine optimization (SEO)—in fact, it’s excellent for that—they also know what to leave out.
Key Rules Apply to this Balance
In order to help you figure out how much content your new business website needs (more on that in a bit), it’s worth going over
some key rules:
1. Know Your Audience
2. Quality over Quantity
3. Measure What Works
4. Remember Intent
5. Keep Things Simple
We’ll go over these one by one to help you best understand why the matter so much in terms of web content amount.
1. Know Your Audience
Going back to the customer scenario as an example, you’ll notice that half of the battle we described involved layout and style of your website as well as the content within. A website that sells wacky leggings, for one example, is going to have a much different tone in layout, colour choices, and imagery compared to a website designed for a real estate agency.
No matter their styles, however, these two types of websites have one thing in common: they both need just enough content on their websites to intrigue customers and beckon them to read further enough to convince them to use the site, whether it’s to make a purchase or to contact a real estate agent. To achieve that sense of action, you need to know what kind of people you’re selling your services to, and always keep them in mind at the forefront.
2. Quality Over Quantity
While a lot of content is good for SEO, there is such a thing as going overboard to the point where even the search engines get confused. Too many pages with similar URLs and content within can create all kinds of ranking problems. The more similar the pages are in terms of content and context, the more trouble you make for yourself and the less high your site may rank online. Worse than any of this however is not having content on things like product pages or any page where a customer may
need the most information, such as the home page.
Approaching a home page is a lot like approaching the cover of a magazine on the shelf. If it’s familiar to customers, or it contains content they’re potentially looking for, then you will want to focus on the quality of said content and not quantity of pages within. If the quality contained on the home page is too cluttered or unfocused, then customers are going to guess—rightly so—that the rest of the site’s quality is as poor, and so they may leave. That’s why when it comes to getting a new website, you always need to put the quality of your content first before the quantity of pages within.
3. Measure What Works
Just because your competitors’ websites all have a ton of content and are doing well does not always mean yours will perform the exact same. Their site could be performing well for a lot of reasons, but one of the main things is they’ve figured out what works for their company and what doesn’t. The best way to measure this kind of performance is to use tools such as Google Analytics (you can check out our blog on how to get started here, before moving on to part 2 here and then concluding with part 3 here).
Social media platforms also come with their own insights and analytical tools to help you figure out which kinds of content people are reacting to or sharing the most versus posts that you may need to recycle or not repeat the next year. Using these can also help you determine what kind of content your audience is really looking for and then adapt your content strategy from there. Your blogs may need work, or you may need to start promoting news via your website rather than directly to social media. Whatever your website’s content needs, strategy or otherwise, be sure to measure what is working and know what to remove if a new site is in the works.
4. Remember Intent
As we mentioned in our previous article about updating SEO (which you can read about here), Google has recently rolled out a new algorithm that is completely changing the way it indexes valuable content on websites. This is the BERT update, and it’s all about keeping your customers’ search intent in mind when looking things up online.
What does this part have to do with how much content is on my website? you ask? Before the algorithm
took place, current trends involved writing longer content (which, while still applicable in so many ways, may not work for everyone) and at one point increasing the word count of meta description tags. While the latter rule has changed and loads of businesses are still writing longer content, that content may not adhere to the search intent aspect any longer. Other older ideals of SEO practice such as using a singular major keyword in the content are also being questioned because they may only be relying on that one keyword a little too much without addressing the main thing: context.
Now that this algorithm is in place, search intent is going to have to be something to remember and really examine when it comes to featuring the kind of content you want on your website. If you stick keywords willy-nilly into the content without realizing they have nothing to do with your business or what your customers are looking for (i.e. rule 1), that’s going to lead to a lot of content your site doesn’t need and thus a lot of customers lost in the process.
5. Keep Things Simple
Going back to our magazine example, it helps to remember that despite a website being as long or as short as you want it to be, there is a limitation to people’s patience. Too much content can make your website look cluttered and unfocused; too little can make you seem mysterious to the point where you’re confusing. For example, you invent a brand new product that’s never been revealed to the world before, online or off. How does it work? How much does it cost? How will it make your customers’
lives easier? Does it enrich your life as well as others’?
This is an example of where keeping things simple comes into play. All of the pages on your website should answer the most basic questions your customers have, which are when, where, what, why, and how (much, or to—both are good to address). If you extend said content to the point where you lose track of what you’re offering and why you’re bothering to in the first place, or your site presents content that no one would think to look up at all, simply because you want to feature it, that’s another example of going overboard with how much content is on your website.
Keeping things simple will ensure your website looks, reads, and functions beautifully, no matter who will use it. Your menu will be generous but mobile-friendly, your home page will say who you are and what you can do for others, and your content will reflect what people are looking for. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how long or short said content is; if it’s kept simple enough to help your customers, then it’s a website that they’ll refer to time and again. That’s the kind of goal every business
website should have.
Need Help With Your New Site’s Content?
If your current website doesn’t adhere to any of these rules, or it was built before things like SEO and online content strategies for marketing became a priority, maybe it’s time to seriously consider a new website? For these reasons and more, we can build you a business website that’s both rich in content and imagery without straying from Google’s guidelines or forgetting who your audience is. Give us a call today if you would like to get this project started.