You start a business and you establish real estate on the internet by creating a website. If you are a mature company, perhaps you decide the original website designed by one of your internal staff (or your 17 year old nephew) is not exactly doing what you want it to, namely, providing a rich and rewarding experience for visitors. So it’s time for a new website designed to become responsive to the rules of engagement of today’s internet. And then the guru’s of social media tell you that you need a blog to drive traffic to your website. OK, so you need to generate even more content for your blog. Is there enough time in the day to do all this stuff, let alone engage in, oh, did I forget, social media?
Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. The digital footprint you establish for your company is there forever. It doesn’t go away. So what you say to your readers tells them a lot about who you are, as a person and as a professional. And your website, as well as blog, content should reinforce the value system you bring to your business, as well as your personal life.
There are a lot of ways to build website content, as well as a blog content. The bottom line is, build your website and blog from an ethical foundation that speaks to your integrity as a business owner, as well as the respect you bring to your career and that of your clients and colleagues. And while “content is king”, filling your website, or your blog for that matter, with a lot of unrelated material simply to create instant mass on the internet to drive traffic is, well, tacky at the very least. Do your own work. Take your
time and develop your content, instead of drafting off someone else’s hard work and professionalism.
Tag the pages of your website and your blog with tags which are relevant to your own work, and your own name. Borrowing someone else’s material without giving them proper credit, or using their name (which is their trademark, by the way) to tag your pages, creates “link bait.” Link bait supposedly drives traffic to your website. So OK, what is your strategy after that? If the reader goes to your website or blog, hoping to read someone else’s stuff, and doesn’t get what they anticipated, they feel duped. You bad, not them.
In Andrew Hanelly’s August 12 post, Is Your Content Worth Stealing, http://bit.ly/pra3r6, he talks about why we all engage in blogging and collaborating from content. He
also references the Google Do’s and Don’ts of content creation, http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/09/seo-starter-guide-updated.html, which include:
1) avoiding deceptively hiding text from users, but displaying it to search engines;
2) avoiding allowing search result-like pages to be crawled. Users dislike leaving one search result page and landing on another search result page that doesn’t add significant value for them; and
3) avoiding involving your site in schemes where your content is artificially promoted to the top of these (page rank) services.
We’ve all gone to the websites who bought keywords or adwords which are not supported by the content of the destination website or blog. Let’s say you buy keywords or adwords for products and services that you can’t possibly produce or deliver and the link leads the reader to “call for more information.” Do you think they will call you? You bad, not them. If you create false pages, tagging them with someone else’s name or a product or service, and create content that is juicy and sensational, and someone goes to that page (for whatever reason, morbid curiosity, perhaps?), what then? You have just communicated volumes about your business ethics to the visitors to your website and blog. And it’s not positive.
Let’s face it. The majority of us create great content in the sincere hope that it is useful and insightful to our readers. We want people to use our stuff. We create content to syndicate it and grow our reach to new markets and readers. We’ve taken that risky step, in good faith, based on our sincere belief that the majority of the people are not malicious, the majority of the time. And the value system that the majority of the people are who they say they are, the majority of the time.
Whether you are starting out or revamping your strategy, I always emphasize that my clients use their own words and develop their content slowly and credibly. Give credit to the folks you borrow content from. After all, it’s their own efforts, not yours. And use your own name to tag your own pages on your own stuff. After all, there’s no separation between business and personal ethics. It’s the fulcrum of what we do.
Think about it.