When setting up a new web site nowadays, the most important factor to keep in mind is the content. Yes, keywords are still important, but the days when a web page could be judged solely on the keyword content are long gone. Why is this so? Two reasons. Firstly, in order to sell you need not only to attract visitors to your web site, but also when they do arrive you need to keep them there. Secondly, the way that web sites are ranked nowadays relies much more on the content of the site, and on the relevance of that content to the main subject of the web site.

So, how do you do this? It’s really not that hard. Luckily, the type of content that will attract visitors, and help keep them there, is very similar to the type of content that will impress the bots that the major search engines use when indexing web sites. The key here is that the content needs to be relevant; otherwise it won’t be of any use.

What sort of content should you be using? Let’s look at an example, to give you some ideas. Let’s say that you are starting a web site for a company that will be selling wine. You will of course have web pages that detail the various wines you will be offering for sale to customers. This may be enough for some people – after all many consider themselves to be experts on wine, and know what types of wine they prefer. There are many more, however, that will be looking not just to purchase wine but also get some recommendations on what sort of wine to buy. For visitors like this, you could add articles detailing the different types of wines that you sell, and give suggestions of which wines go best with different foods. Other articles on the site could talk about the major wine-producing regions of the world, and why each region produces particular types of wine. Or you could have articles on how wine is made.

When writing articles for the web site there are several guidelines that you should try to follow. Firstly, the article has to be well-written. A poorly-written article that is full of spelling mistakes will not endear you to prospective customers – instead they will see it as a possible reflection of your level of service. Don’t just rely on a spell-checker to catch all mistakes – it won’t. Instead find someone who can proofread it, not only for spelling mistakes but also to ensure that it is readable. Use keywords, by all means, but don’t try to force them into the text willy-nilly – use them as part of the natural flow of the article. Resist the temptation to use the same article over and over again, with only minor changes. The human visitor may not notice, but the search engine bot certainly will, and you may find the site devalued as a result, as this is considered to be content-spamming.

Don’t think you can write articles? Well, first of all remember that we are not talking “War and Peace” here – an average article should be around 400 – 600 words. If you are intent on starting a web site on any subject then you should have some knowledge of that subject. Try it – you may be surprised at what you can accomplish. Or alternatively there are articles on almost every subject under the sun that are freely available on the Internet. Typically all that the author requires for the use of such articles is a link back to his own web site. A word of warning here – do check that web site – it would be more than a little embarrassing to find that you had inadvertently linked straight to a competitors web site. If all else fails then there are plenty of writers that will produce the sort of articles you require, for reasonable fees.

Take a long look at your web site, trying to see it as a visitor rather than as a designer. Is it the sort of site that would attract you and keep you, or is it a site designed solely for the hard-sell? Adding relevant content will not only help you gain customers, but will also help with search engine rankings.