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What If Your Site Is About An Uninteresting Topic?


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#1 cre8pc

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:23 PM

A remark in another thread caught my attention because it's not often talked about. With content being the heart and soul of online marketing and search engine rank, what do site owners do when their sites are on topics that are boring or not that interesting to create content for?

SEO's come up with suggestions like off-beat angles and comical headlines, but is this really a solution? There's only a few ways you can write about installing window blinds or buying surety bonds.

What are the options out there?

#2 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:07 PM

I see it this way. The main site has to stick with the tried and true and boring. Explain how to install window blinds and how to keep them clean and which styles go well with different decor.

But then...the creativity has to kick in, and that needs to be where you use off beat angles to create content elsewhere - such as guest posts or even perhaps on your own blog. Write a spooky story about the creature behind the blinds, and post it on a halloween blog. Write a post on how to create graphics with a window blind effect and place it on a web design blog. Of course, when you mention blinds, you link back to your site, or at least, include it in the bio.

And of course, just because you've already explained how to install blinds on your own site, it doesn't mean you can't re-explain on another site. Give a mommy blog a guest post on the easiest way to install blinds without traditional tools, for example. Write a post on repairing one broken blind slat, and post it on a fix-it blog.

Expand the mind... :)

#3 iamlost

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:13 AM

There are no boring topics only boring stories...
What many/most webdevs (and especially SEOs) call boring are actually one or both of:
* of interest to a very few people.
* not easily monetised.
Of course what they really mean is that they aren't making any money. That is NOT the same as being boring. :) A corollary meaning is that they get very few SE referrals - which shows that they are SE SE focussed and not niche focussed. Many small/obscure niches are extremely vibrant but the audience is NOT found via popular search.

What you describe is not usually a limitation of niche or topic but of the webdev/SEO. They really need to join GA (Google Anonymous) :D

#4 tam

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 01:17 AM

I think content needs a USP (unique selling point) as much as anything else. You need to ask yourself "There are a hundred articles on blind installation, why would someone read mine?" For some content the USP might be that it's an entertaining read, but I don't think anyone looking for information on installing blinds expects to be entertained - they want the information they need presented in a way that is easily consumed. The funny headlines are attention grabbers, they might get someone to click your link in the search result or click an unrelated topic in a list of blog articles, but I'm not sure they are converters, and they definitely won't work if the content under the headline isn't stand out too.

I think the trick here is to be the most comprehensive, trustworthy (aka seen as a knowledgeable source), and easiest to access.

If your topic's one that's already got a lot of coverage your USP might be presenting information in different ways, or example a guide formatted for printing out, a video tutorial, or step by step photo guide.

Or you might try to be more comprehensive than other sites - a quick guide to blind installation - aimed at someone with reasonable DIY knowledge/skills that just needs the specific info for this job, ypes of Blinds - types of fittings, how to figure out what one you have/what suits your window and a link to the install info, common issues and how to fix them.

#5 jonbey

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:55 AM

Surely every topic is interesting to somebody, otherwise there would be no point in having a site / business would there? And if it is uninteresting, then this generally means no MFA competition. Should make life a lot easier. Maybe the traditional directory submissions, some social and a minimal amount of article marketing, more along the lines of press releases ("company X expand in small town after partnering with new local supplier") etc. will bolster it enough?

#6 copywriter

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:31 AM

I agree with Jon. Every website should be created *for* the site visitor, not *about* the product/service. Somebody has to be interested in the site or why have it? The job is to find out who the target customer/visitor is and why they are coming to the site. Then give them what they want plus a little bit more.

I am not in favor of creating content simply in an effort to try to get it to rank well. I'd need some real-world examples of these "boring" topics to give an type of actual examples. If we stick with the blind installation idea, I'm not finding any websites that only talk about installing window blinds. They all have information as part of site with the main sites being home improvement stores, how-to forums, custom blind sites that sell blinds, blind manufacturers, etc., etc.

The point being, there are other things visitors come to the site for, not just installation instructions.

#7 EGOL

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 10:10 AM

what do site owners do when their sites are on topics that are boring or not that interesting to create content for?

My blood boils when I hear this. These people need one of two things... A) a kick in the pants.... B) a different line of work

If your topic is BORING get a different job. Run a different website. Or, maybe any topic will be boring to these people.


Surely every topic is interesting to somebody, otherwise there would be no point in having a site / business would there?

That's right. If it's not interesting to you get into a different business.

There are no boring topics only boring stories...

lol..... I agree.... and there are boring people.


If you think it is boring. Quit. Pack it in. Move over for someone with enthusiasm.

Really, though... This is just an excuse used by lazy writers and people who have no imagination.

There are people out there who could write content about manure that would sell, educate and entertain -- all in a single essay.

</rant> (even though I have more to say about this)

Edited by EGOL, 15 January 2013 - 10:12 AM.


#8 cre8pc

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:35 AM

Off topic...but Karon Thackston stoppped by!! Doing the HAPPY DANCE! :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana:

Karon is my content writing hero. She mentioned a book the other day on Facebook, I checked it out and got the Kindle version. I love it. But more than that, I trust her expertise and recommendations immensely.

:wavey:

#9 cre8pc

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:44 AM

Playing devils advocate here..

I had a client with a web site for a family biz, which is surety bonds. He knew enough to use every possible SEO technique under the sun and even some I didn't want him to mess with (but he did anyway)..He had a forums where he could answer questions, but of course it was slow going due to the nature of the topic. He had a blog, Facebook and Twitter. He had his site redesigned for UX and conversions. And still he has to struggle to attract new clients to what is a topic that is only needed in certain situations and is extremely (to my surprise) really competitive in search engines.

The owner's passion for his work helped him write about it but sooner or later he ran out of ideas or got tired of beating the same horse from various angles. His forums could answer questions and offer ideas but even that grew stale.

If this was your client, what would you advise? (No longer my client btw. I just remember his situation and it stuck with me.)

#10 Guest_joedolson_*

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 01:25 PM

I'm with Egol. There are no boring topics. That doesn't mean that you might run out of creativity on your topic; and it doesn't mean that the topic is interesting *all the time*. Taking installing window blinds or surety bonds as examples, if I'm looking for some casual reading, those are boring topics. But if I'm trying to install some window blinds or learn about surety bonds, those same topics will be entrancing.

Content serves a purpose: and when it's meeting it's purpose, it can't be boring. If you're trying to pretend that your topic is going to be interesting in every context, however, you're missing the point.

Now, with Kim's question, regarding the client who had ran out of ideas: that's not a problem with a boring topic, that's a problem with needing some kind of outside impetus to keep going.

Everybody beats the same horses from different angles -- when I read through items in my RSS feed, (RIP Aaron Swartz), I regularly see people writing articles on topics that they've written on before. That's partially because old articles don't get attention; partially because when people look at old news, they may figure it's now out of date; partially because sometimes new information requires taking a look at the same topic again. Nothing wrong with that; but if you're writing the same post every week, that's probably not so good.

In this person's case, I think that he would need somebody to ping ideas off. Or, perhaps, he's in a topic where he needs to stop thinking he's going to pull in a huge number of clients because of content marketing: if it's a tiny, tiny market, then the highly competive search engine environment might not be the best place for him to place so much marketing effort. The expense of client acquisition by that venue may not be justified.

#11 EGOL

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 01:30 PM

I would advise him to start writing true "stories" about the bonds. How people have gotten into trouble with them. This would be content like Judge Judy :) hears in her courtroom. Content that will make you want to cheer and cry and cuss and carry-on. (you heard about the 4 C's of diamonds? These are the 4 C's of surety bonds.) Also success stories.

Then I would go back and look at existing content on the website and ask..... What are the key things that people need to know about these bonds. Then I would upgrade my content until it is best on the web for every one of those topics. (I bet he does not have that,.... only one website on this planet has that. I would want to own that.) After you have all of this kickass kickass (did I say KICKASS?) content then its time to promote it.

Most people have a website full of yada yada yada content and think... I did my job. That's BS because the content is probably crap and no better than pedestrian. Ain't good enough. Get to work! That will p*** 'em off... but if they decide to do it the results could be fantastic.

Edited by EGOL, 15 January 2013 - 01:37 PM.


#12 iamlost

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:47 PM

I see a good deal of consensus here with one of my main points: SEs are NOT always the market channel of choice. Your bond example is a prime example: yes, there will be a constant dribble of noobies or general public who run search queries but the vast majority of those interested, those whose business requires such an instrument never ever will. A business in such a niche still needs a website BUT they need to look at and for their audience segments...and then create, maintain, and extend an appropriate marketing plan.

There is a perception, definitely with webdevs and especially SEOs, that Google is online marketing. It is NOT. This poisonous mindset is endemic in our industry and while I appreciate that it hogties my competitors it also irritates me no end as I have to read some variation on the idiocy every day.

A site needs to be designed to meet the requirements of:
* targeted audience segments
* currently un-targeted and/or general audience segments
* site business model
A site/business marketing plan needs to identify:
* where to find the various audiences.
* how to communicate with the various audiences.
* rank listing each venue and required communication by cost-value (especially but not exclusively ROI).

Search (and Google) is likely to be on such a list. However, it may not be in the top 3 or even the top 10. In such instances defaulting to search will result in a poor return on investment. Of course defaulting to search is:
* standard behaviour so 'safe'.
* what an SEO is selling: if all you know is swinging a hammer every problem becomes a nail.
Note: there are other Cre8 threads about SEOs migrating to or attempting to encompass within SEO some 'other' form of marketing, i.e. SMM, and how far too often their writings illustrate a distressing breadth and depressing depth of ignorance and/or incompetence.

A website is a business. It would nice if more webdevs understood what that means, the various skills and knowledge required to do well: all the usual business knowledge PLUS various internet technical skills. There is NO one size fits all well. Each business/site business model, revenue model, marketing model needs to be custom crafted for optimal results. And the more niche the niche the more true that is.

#13 earlpearl

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:28 PM

the first reason I'm adding something is to see if I have a new title/description. ;)

Uh...I have some of those "boring" topics with some of my smb sites. here is a twist about it. Some of the content we can and do write about that is richer helps not ONE IOTA. not even a fraction of a fraction of an iota...

so there is sometimes a caveat w/ regard to rich content. hey it may be great and rich but it doesn't do a whit for sales.

Okay so do it for links....


(ah...light speed member--> catchy--> I like it. very cre8ive

Edited by earlpearl, 15 January 2013 - 04:28 PM.


#14 cre8pc

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:47 PM

(ah...light speed member--> catchy--> I like it. very cre8ive


Thanks! Glad you like it :infinite-banana:

#15 TheAlex

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:38 PM

What If Your Site Is About An Uninteresting Embarrassing Topic?



Topics that people wouldn't want to admit to reading about...

#16 fisicx

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:45 AM

As already suggested, there are no boring topics. It's just that they are not a popular as other topics.

What you do need to do is capture as many visitors as possible who are looking for that info/topic.

Suppose you write about something that get 10 searches per day. If you are #1 in Google and totally on topic and have great calls to actions and a very persuasive writing style you could be generating a lot of leads: 300 visits per month at 1% conversion is 3 new clients every month. Change your site and those 300 visits could be getting you 6 new clients every month.

Stop thinking about boring and start thinking about making money.

#17 glyn

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:48 PM

I think that nowadays it's no good starting with the content. The first question that you need to ask is: what channel is this content designed to attract visitors from?. for example: I can put together the most amazing guide in the world on credit cards, but the idea that the content will rank on its merits is frankly rubbish. When you have adwords advertisers paying over $100 a click in some verticals, if it worked, then frankly they would have done it.

So, what I would be doing is saying: Is there the chance that this piece of content that i am going to write will actually be able to get me new business in the channel in which I am going to drop it.

You might say: my content objectives for this piece are long term, and therefore I am going to chance long term positions in search rankings on the fact of it becoming a great reference and resource and rising in popularity. That's fine, you've planned it like that. I think that a common problem is writing an authoritative piece under the impression that it's well written-ness will get you search traffic.

There are many different types of content, and the kind of content that gets traffic on Reddit is distinct from that of a PPC campaign, to Twitter to Stumbleupon advertising and even Facebook.. Each of these traffic sources have their own style and formula, and each have their own form of ranking that should, when content is written correctly, be correctly addressed within the content, be it in the words or the design style. The skilled webdev/seo tests different content types in channels and knows how to leverage each in its most correct well through thorough testing.

Of course when you get into the less competitive niches you will have bigger opportunities and you don't have to be so tight on your strategy because it's easier to get attention on your content. ;)

Glyn.



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