Posted on February 27, 2012 by Webfor By Jason Knapfel There is no one-size-fits-all advice on how to create content to market your business. Strategies hinge on what your company does and what goals you have. For some, it’s simply to increase brand awareness and increase traffic to their website. Others are looking for customer acquisition and lead generation strategies. Today, we’re going to look at succeeding in the most basic challenge that benefits pretty much anyone involved in marketing online: how do I drive people to my website? Whether you need to make those visitors take further action will be fodder for another day. 1. Don’t Get SEO Crazy That may sound crazy coming from someone who makes their living in SEO, but hear me out. I’m not saying give up SEO, just do it right. Don’t get swept away with your SEO strategy to the point that you are sacrificing readability for a perceived advantage in outranking your competition. How many times have you landed on a website that you can spot the SEO writing a mile away? You know the sites with keyword phrases repeated every three sentences? Maybe you can be a little more aggressive with keywords when you are doing content for article directories, but when you are blogging on your own website, you not only run the risk of looking amateurish, but sacrifice readability in the process. If people aren’t comfortable reading your content, what are the chances they will return? 2. Use List-Based Content Why do top 10 lists work? Just ask David Letterman, who has been doing his own version of it for some 30 years. I can’t claim to have seen any formal study on the matter, but if I were to come up with my own theory as to why lists work, it’s because people subconsciously seek predictability and order. When someone sees “Top 10” they already know a little about what they are getting into. Now, this doesn’t mean all you have to do is slap together any old list and you will be successful. You still need to impart valuable information on your target audience. In actuality, it may be fairly simple to put together a list, but since nearly everyone on the planet has done one, you need to go that extra mile to stick out of the crowd. Top 10 is really just a starting point, adapt it to your subject matter. It may end up being a Top 50 or just a Top 5. 3. Choose Titles with Care Whether you like it or not, we live in a soundbite culture. In news, particularly in politics, a small soundbite becomes national security-level importance for days, if not weeks. Part of the soundbite culture is that you have very little time and space to catch people’s attention. Since headlines are usually the first thing your potential readers will see, you need to make them eye-grabbers. Headlines are also important for targeted keywords. 4. Regular Blogging + Regular Blog Comments = More Traffic Your blog can be one of most powerful ways to connect with your audience. On top of that, you can do it on a daily basis if you have the time and resources. The benefits of blogging go well beyond driving traffic, including building brand awareness, trustworthiness and much more. You want to put a little extra effort in beyond simply writing your blogs. Take advantage of at least occasionally submitting your blogs to various appropriate directories and social bookmarking sites. Don’t forget to contribute in the conversations at other blogs that draw audiences that could be interested in your blog. By commenting on other blogs with links back to your site, you are bound to gradually grow your audience. However, the thoughtfulness of your comments will usually be what sells people to click on your link. 5. Timing Your Posts is Important This generally applies to blogging, but studies show that people are creatures of habit when it comes to the time they read their favorite blogs. As we mentioned earlier this month, a recent study on blog reading habits showed that the vast majority of people do their reading in the morning and most of them do so on Mondays. Tinker a little with the timing of your posts and see what works best for you and stick with it. Above all, you must show patients. Creating content that wins over a loyal readership and builds consistent traffic to your website takes time and consistent work. If you continually prove yourself a reliable resource for valuable content in your given industry, you should gradually see your traffic rise.