Often, website owners are more concerned with bringing as many as people to their websites, instead of making people read their contents. Both things are not the same. Too often, they are busy with the number of unique visitors, instead of the length of time users spend in content pages. The aim of a website is to expose people to your content, not your landing page. Owners of highly successful websites understand this principle, for example, Amazon can urge people to buy their products. Content matters and it is the king, not your website. This is why many website owners provide ways to access contents beyond the website. This allows them to get more sales and revenue from more than one source.
As a website owner, you should implement a broader strategy, which release contents from the shackles of your website. These are ten ways to get more people read your contents:
- Create desktop application
- Go mobile
- * Create a mobile version: Many users access the Internet using screen smaller than 4”, some screens can be smaller than 3”. You should take into account different input devices (such as, small keypad or touchscreen) and other unique mobile Web characteristics.
- * Use text messaging: It is ideal for updates and notifications, is a good complement to full-sized website and can quickly keep people informed.
- * Develop mobile app: Popular mobile platforms such as iOS and Android can make it easy for you build useful apps and let people quickly read your content once it’s uploaded. Contents can be downloaded automatically in the background and stored, which can be opened later even when Internet connection is not available. Pushing contents to mobile devices is important when your target audience is often away from their desktop computer.
- Use tweeter
- Write a lot
- Use Facebook
One good example of excellent integration between desktop application and website is eBay. The major auction site recognizes that many of its members are making a living selling products on the website. As the result, a desktop application can help people to streamline their business process. They need easier access to eBay features, faster desktop-like appearance and notifications. Some tools, like Adobe AIR can help you to deliver useful functionality and web-based content onto the desktop. The eBay successfully did this and it’s proven to be very effective. You do need to consider whether you need a desktop application, especially if you upload plenty of contents regularly.
Perhaps, one day more people access the Internet from mobile devices than on PC. In certain countries, it already happens. Although, some latest mobile browsers can render traditional websites well, you should make sure your site can be viewed properly on mobile devices. You may approach mobile web users using a separate channel. These are a few methods of delivering contents to mobile users:
Twitter provides a unique opportunity to reach more audiences and deliver your message. But how you should use it? Companies that need an online broadcast tool can often use Twitter effectively by turning it into an RSS distributor. There are other ways to use Twitter, for example you can use it to provide customer support or engage with followers. To improve the effectiveness of Twitter, encourage all Web team members to tweet, instead of using a single corporate account.
You can write on other websites to spread your message and demonstrate your expertise to a bigger audience. You shouldn’t limit your knowledge to your own website. Look for blogs and editorial websites that offer guest writer to contribute contents. After all, even most loyal readers also read other websites related to yours. By writing for others, you can reach loyal readers of other sites and indirectly invite them to your website.
Obviously, you shouldn’t do a shameless self-promotion. Website owners only want relevant, quality contents, which could interest their audiences. Check websites that also reach your target market. Find out whether they allow you to write content and include a link to your website. Before writing, check the existing contents on the website and determine whether you can match the style and fill any gap.
Facebook is another option for expanding your online strategy. Because many Facebook users are teenagers, you may choose to dismiss Facebook as a way to reach new audience and get them to read your contents. Luckily, recent surveys show that the number of Facebook users above 35 years old is more than tripled in the past couple of years. So how you can deliver your contents to Facebook users? These are three of them:
- * Use a group: You can use a group to build a solid dialogue with those who are interested in subjects related to your website. Find other related groups, join them and invite people to yours. If you have a highly interesting content, it can go viral
- * Use a fan page: It is essentially a public profile page for organizations. The page is public-facing, is indexed by search engine and can be accessed by non-Facebook members. Fan pages are perfect for reaching those both outside and inside of Facebook as well as building long-term awareness.
- * Create an app: Many people create and submit app for Facebook. These range from RSS feeds to games. Unlike with groups and fan pages, you need enough technical skills to build a good app. In general, if you have appropriate contents, allowing users to embed your contents in their profiles pages can be an attractive proposition.
Facebook is not all about social networking. It provides a significant reach and allows you to reach a massive audience.
In some cases, they are the ultimate way to distribute your contents; An API allows any Web developers to easily access your contents and gives them the opportunity to build an app around your website. There are many possibilities of using an API, from building advanced desktop app to embedding contents to other websites. Twitter, for example, integrates really well with APIs. It offers a versatile API; many developers have built apps that allow users to post and view tweets in any way possible. Twitter service is essentially simple, but its API allows you to do so much more including posting videos and tweets on a Google map.
Obviously, nothing is perfect and APIs also have some drawbacks and implementing them requires an advanced level of experience and expertise. Consequently, APIs are only useful for developers and what about you? How can you easily add 3rd-party functionality easily to your website? This is where widgets come in.
Widgets are basically simple, but useful codes that you can put quickly on your website. Depending on your website platform, there could be many thousands of widgets available. Widgets can be used to embed contents to websites, including Amazon latest products, YouTube videos or your contents. You should urge people to add your widget on their websites, allowing people to access your contents more easily. Because widgets are simpler, they are also easier to build than a fully-featured API.
Delivering contents to people is not always as complex and time-consuming as building an API. You can increase your views easily within minutes. For years, people have used RSS feeds to get contents without visiting the website. This is particularly true for blog posts, articles and news. However, you may be tempted to provide only a snippet of your contents so people will go to your website to read the rest of your story. This method is often counter-productive, because users may switch to other feeds that provide complete contents. At this moment, many ads can be displayed along with the feeds so you can still get a good amount of revenue with them. Ask the user to go to your site only when it’s necessary.
Limiting your contents to text only also means that you’re limiting your opportunity. Now you can create audio and video contents easily. Services such as AudioBoo and YouTube allow you to share varying types of contents. Wine Library TV and DiggNation are pioneers of video content providers. Their videos essentially have presenters speaking in front of locked-off cameras. You can create good video contents with only basic editing software and consumer camera.
Creating popular video contents can be challenging, you can’t expect to generate millions of views simply uploading latest product demos. With many thousands of videos uploaded each day, you should find ways to stand out from the crowd.
Your content should be relevant to your target audience. Shock tactics often work well on teenagers, but they may not appeal to senior business executives!
- * Live product demonstrations: You can present latest products and services while talking with the audience. This can deliver more impact that using pre-recorded materials.
- * Community sessions: If you want to build an online community, live streaming can reach people on a more personal level compared to with texts.
- * Online training: You can provide remote training with live training, which allow people to both see and hear what you’re doing. The live training can be related to your written contents and products, so people will still want to read your contents.
Live streaming will be the next wave in the online multimedia. Services such as Oik, Ustream and others are trying to dominate this segment. You can stream live contents using these services with practically zero cost, making the entry barrier very low. Live streaming can provide interactivity, a significant benefit over pre-recorded materials. Just like chat, live format allows us to engage with audience in real time. It can give you the following opportunities:
Although live streaming is not yet a completely mature service, you should start to take this advantage from now on and get a real differentiation compared to the competition.
Amidst all the discussion about APIs, audio and video, it’s quite easy to forget basic tools such as emails. Although it isn’t exactly a cutting edge technology, email can still reach new people beyond the confines of your website. Email should still be used as a key tool for delivering contents to users. Obviously, you can use your email for content syndication by encouraging people to subscribe to your periodical newsletter. Services such as MailChimp and AWeber can help you to invite people to subscribe to your newsletter with only a single click.
However, though people subscribe to your newsletter via email, it doesn’t mean that you can spam them indiscriminately. Try to respect your audience or you’ll lose them, worse you may incite negative comments on your website, which might put off others.
Sometimes a website is enough, but often you need to assign it as a part of your grand online strategy. Users are not that naïve; they only come if you have very attractive contents. The more effective strategy is to bring the contents to them.