Deciding how much information to include in any post or page can be a key decision for any content marketeer, or indeed author of content regardless of which job title they work under.
The issue recently came to the fore as I discussed a blog post with a client, he felt the draft was guilty of, to use his words, ‘going over old ground.’
Obviously, this being a client I was keen to retain, I trod lightly as I penned my reply.
The difference in opinion was this.
On his site, he naturally has an About Us section and also sections going into further detail on services provided. He also has a blog, this including a lengthy Guide To the thing he does (that was a lot of work…)
The posts we are now working on are each aimed at a different group, i.e. a distinct set of people who might need further information about the sector he works in, or who would be potential clients if only they knew what he did.
The post under discussion fell into the latter category – it was a post written for flat leaseholders, this a group that would be natural clients for his business if only they had any idea what his business was. It’s not a case that they are out there looking for this service, most don’t even know that this service exists.
It is, incidentally, a lot less mystical than this might be making it sound.
To Duplicate or Not Duplicate?
His opinion, by no means unreasonable, was that the page did not require About Us style information as anyone requiring this can find it elsewhere on the site. Why duplicate content? (It wasn’t duplicate content, it covered similar ground but was re-written specifically for the group the page targetted.)
Respectfully, I had to disagree. I continue to disagree. The information might be there on the site, a mere click away but people won’t click it. OK, a few might, but not many.
We can kid ourselves as much as we want, we can claim we produce copy that has insanely high response rates, that people are drawn in and go on to read dozens of pages on our site, but across the internet that just isn’t the case.
Any page on any site has a high bounce rate, if you’re getting people in cold off Google the bounce rate is going to be eye-watering. Yes, we can work hard to make the rate as low as possible, but the shift is from f–k me that’s high to bloody high.
People new to a topic need all the key information right there, right on the page you’ve managed to suck them in to. It can be as key points, it can be in a list format, it can be any neat presentation style you want, but it has to be there.
If most blog posts cover similar ground in places will it get boring for anyone reading the posts en masse? Possibly, but they may well not be the target audience. If each post is written with different targets in mind you’re not expecting anyone to read multiple posts. Each one must be self sufficient. This is a blog on technical building concepts, not a series of anecdotes from London’s leading Lothario.
I see it like this. Don’t make people work hard – they won’t.
Don’t think they’ll move around the site – they probably won’t. Don’t put value on page impressions at the expense of business objectives. If people need more information, put it all in the page – any user will leave far happier if they find what they want all in one page than if they have to click around, even if your analytics dashboard might make the other look better.
The key concept: If you think some information might be useful, include it even if you have used it in 20 other pages. You might have read them all, your users won’t have.