The holidays are over and it’s January. Not much to look forward to until the awards shows… but hey! I’m currently working on converting two websites from nine years ago to our new website platforms. Nine years ago we didn’t have fancy shopping lists that truly integrated with weekly ads, recipes, locations, social media and email marketing that tracks which links go where. We had to create CUSTOM CONTENT that related to each store.
Just because you can throw up a website with little to no custom pages doesn’t mean you should. Creative content is what gets Google’s attention. If Google thinks your content is unique enough then more traffic will be sent to your website. Having the same recipe on 150 different websites doesn’t impress Google’s algorithms much.
I have found looking at examples of custom content on other sites gets my brain fired up to write something new. So I looked at page view stats and measured how many times each page got viewed. I only measured pages on websites that I currently work on for AWG retailers. I only selected custom pages, so no ad pages, location, recipes, cooking videos, or contact us pages. Many of these pages have a link from an outside source, like on Facebook or an email blast.
These top five custom pages are worth looking at when you put up a new site, or need to update. Some of your stores might have your own version of the same service but maybe you were building a new store at the time you put your website up so you didn’t consider that content. You get 3 free custom pages automatically with our web platforms. Sliders are nice but Google likes them better when they link to a custom page. If you want more than 3 custom pages they really aren’t too expensive.
I really think our websites need more custom pages and we are here to help. I even have a short quiz where I have a laundry list of store services that can help shed light on what to focus on.
1. No Standard pages.
2. Awards were selected by looking at Google Analytics from Nov. 21- Dec. 21, 2016.
3. Awards are selected from only the websites I currently manage. Our other two Web Designers have also produced wonderful content, I just had to keep the list short for time sake.
I’d like to mention some great content may have fallen through the cracks because of technical issues with Google Analytics. I have since tried to address these issues when possible. Also, each store is responsible for sending in content updates, so some content may not be relevant at the time this post was published.
Sharlyn’s top five custom content pages
1. “What’s for Lunch?” – McDades
2. “Deli Daily Specials” – Fricks
What’s in the hot case in the deli seems to be a point of interest for customers, and who can blame them? It’s a convenient option for when you’re squeezed for time. Plus when the food comes in bags from a grocery store everything just seems better because it’s not technically fast food. I suspect Google likes these pages for a few reasons: The images and content change every Monday on Fricks website, and while McDade’s only updates the lunch menu 2-3 times a year, they do send out weekly email blasts that has a link to the page.
A few suggestions to make it better: What if each meal had a rating system where customers could choose 1-5 star meals? Also posts with links to the page on social media would help increase traffic. If you do post, ask customers to put in the comments their favorite meal.
I have written about how important the “About Us” page is before, go here to review. Bratchers “Owner Statement” reminds me of the quote, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” -Simon Sinek. Getting back to the original “why?” may take some back tracking, but customers are interested because they want to see if your “why” aligns with their values. In Bratchers case, I can imagine customers like to know about how much they value their employees. I think this makes sense because many of Bratchers customers have jobs as well. Bratchers also took the opportunity to list out services at their stores and some brand names.
I suspect for Banks and Bill’s About Us, the simple list of departments, products and services happen to also be popular search words for their customers.
A suggestion to make the page better: update the content on this page at least once a year. Google also likes to see frequent changes on your site, then the content is more relevant.
Again, the simple list of products, services and locations win because the words used also happen to be popular search words. Try to consistently brand products made in your store, like “Made from Scratch” or “Our Very Own“. I’m kind of on the fence about if the link to a party tray page helps or hurts. Maybe just mentioning Party Trays are available to order is sufficient? Party Planner and Office Party might be good keywords too?
I really like Banks order form from a customer’s perspective because I hate to wait in line at the deli. We can make custom forms that get sent to a watched email address. You might try one for sliced meats and cheeses, party trays, sandwiches, cakes, pizza, the list is endless! We normally don’t make forms that collect payment, but I can say in 10 years, I have never been asked to take one down because someone was just making fake orders for the fun of it. I have made forms that weren’t used by customers because they didn’t know it existed. You’ve got to keep reminding customers about your online services with store signage, bag stuffers, social media, email and word of mouth. It’s also important to keep the products up to date as well. Google loves updates!
The more pictures you can use the better. Don’t get intimidated if you don’t have your own professional photographer, you’re not alone. Let me know if you think some content needs a picture and I can help you out. DO NOT send me photos you find by doing a Google search because that is illegal.
ONLINE SHOPPING & TEXTING
Online shopping is it’s own separate thing, so we have three different formats to choose from when you’re ready to take the plunge. It goes without saying this is a spectacular way to drive customers to your website, however it is a BIG commitment. Something positive I have witnessed after a store offered online shopping was how it impacted the community. A store can discover a whole new group of customers who either can’t get out or are too busy to go grocery shopping.
Kudos goes to Schulte’s for providing customers a way to not wait in the Deli line by texting in orders before hand.
Websites with several locations can get overwhelmed when providing content because each location is different. Not all locations may have the same departments or carry the same products. If this is your situation, take a look at how McDade’s organized their meat page. The intro paragraph lists the commonalities, then one paragraph each is used for different locations.
A feature I have long abandoned surprisingly crept in for the Ray’s meat page. Butcher Tips and Cooking Tech. This content about cooking meat can be helpful for beginning cooks. Now our platforms come with standard pages with cooking articles that serves the same purpose.
Here is what I learned about content during writing:
- Use common everyday language in your content – like “What’s for lunch?” for page names. Use the words “Breakfast, Brinner (Breakfast/Dinner), Lunch, Snacks, Supper and Dinner”. A few related terms: “Light meal, picnic, app, munchies and yummy”.
- Location – try to mention the town/state where the store is. Google likes to promote local business. Use words like “the Kansas City, KS community”.
- Past store names and owners. I know many retailers tend to refrain from the About Us page because maybe they just bought the store a year ago. I don’t think that matters, because you must of bought it for a reason, instead focus on that. Customers like to know the history of buildings too. How many times have you heard “you know, the old bank building” or when giving directions, “on the corner where the old Amacco used to be”.
- If several locations are listed on one website, don’t be afraid of listing services and products available at each location. You can also create a grid. One of our platforms also supports showing and hiding sliders and pages for customers who have previously specified their preferred location.
- Although it seems like a good idea to provide customers with special recipes, I think the recipes provided with each platform are sufficient. I’m not sure customers go to place for recipes is a grocery store website. Many cooking magazines and cookbooks are online now and I think the more logical place to look. Recipe pages do get page views from our platforms, however tend to be at the bottom of the list.