It’s not always an obvious connection, but the content on your website affects its usability. How? The easiest way to think about it is by putting yourself directly in the user’s seat. Think about it.
You go to a website that provides search engine optimization services. Although you might decide to hire the person or company behind the site, right now you’re in the research phase. You’re looking for resources and information to help you make decisions about how to best optimize your website, not necessarily who the best person or company is to help you with that.
When you get to the site, you’re looking for helpful information, like what search engine optimization is all about, tips for improving the performance of your site, and first steps in optimizing your site for search engines. What would happen if you got there and only saw a brochure site – no information, no articles or blog entries, only information about the company or person who provided the search engine optimization services?
If you’re in the research phase, you keep looking. You move on to someone who actually provides helpful content on the topic. When you find that person or company, you stick around, combing through the available content, until you make a decision about how you want to proceed. Chances are, if you decide to hire someone, you’re going to at least give that person or company a shot at helping you, right? Why?
First, they know their stuff and have established themselves as an expert on the topic. Second, they’ve proven that they want to help their customers and followers by providing free resources and valuable content. Finally, they’ve proven (even subconsciously) that they value their own time and screen their clients by letting the content speak for their knowledge and expertise, as well as their philosophy surrounding that topic (if you don’t agree with them, chances are, you move on to someone else, saving you both valuable time and a lot of frustration).
Content increases your website’s usability by giving visitors exactly what they want:
- Information on the topic of your expertise,
- Faith in you as a service provider by demonstrating your knowledge and commitment to service, and
- Pre-screening to see if you’re the service provider for them.
Especially in the beginning, it can be counter-intuitive to think about “giving away the cow” by providing an arsenal of free information and advice, but these days, you have to think about the options. Either establish yourself as the go-to expert that is the most knowledgeable source on the topic, or your site visitors will leave very quickly in search of someone else who fits the bill.