Anyone who creates content for a living should habitually ask themselves one question: what brings people to my website? At the end of the day, this is what really matters. Gorgeous web design, insightful blogs –– they’re all for naught if you’re not able to drive traffic to your site. Indeed, given the fact that the majority of interactions between companies and customers occur online, few businesses can afford to produce ineffective work. So anything a business can do to increase their traffic, readership, leads, and, ultimately, sales is of course massively beneficial. Therefore, it’s probably not a surprise that pillar pages have become so popular over the past few years. Though the pillar page can bring all sorts of benefits to a company’s website, today we’re going to focus on pillar-page construction. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown to creating a killer pillar page for your site:
Checking Your Site’s Viability
Before you begin work on a pillar page, you should first determine if your site can even support one. Ideally, pillar pages –– though long in length and rich in content –– shouldn’t require a ton of actual writing. Rather, the best pillar pages are born from an amalgamation of many blogs, articles, and pieces of content that you’ve created through years of work. Pillar pages provide solutions to businesses that have been blogging for a long time already. Unfortunately, that means if you’re just starting out, a pillar page might not be the way to go. Since pillar pages operate best when you can link and backlink to other pages on your site, not having the requisite blogs for a pillar page to link with is a bit like putting the cart before the horse.
Selecting a Topic
Let’s go back to the question we posed at the beginning of this article: what brings people to my site? This is a fabulous way to start if you’re struggling to narrow down a subject to build a pillar page around. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t necessarily want to tackle the broadest topic available to you. Sure, a pillar page does offer you the possibility to address more ambitious themes than a typical blog post could. But you still need to maintain a level of specificity if you’re going to provide your customers with a valuable resource. And that’s the role a pillar page should play –– that of a resource. (I.E. your content has to be useful!) Thus, finding the area where you can display a wealth of specified information is key to creating a pillar page that works for your business.
Scrutinizing “Related” Content
One great aspect to a pillar page is that, if managed properly, it offers leads one single resource in place of potentially dozens of smaller ones. The ability to access information on many closely related sub-topics in one spot is, to most leads, desirable. However, because you’re dealing with such a long piece of content, you do risk customers’ losing interest when encountering your pillar page in totality. There are a couple of techniques you can use to mitigate against this risk. For starters, it’s a wise play to include a drop-down menu at the top, or on the side of your page. That way, if a lead knows exactly what they want to read about, they can navigate there quickly. In addition, you want to make sure that your sub-topics are genuinely related to each other. It doesn’t do you any good to create an unfocused pillar page that jumps from tips on purchasing classic cars, to how to replace a car tire, for instance. Yes, both sub-topics are technically about vehicles, but it’s unlikely many readers will find both elements compelling. Lastly, if you’re able to break up your text with graphics, images, or videos (especially videos) there’s a greater chance you can hold your audience’s attention throughout.
Future Content Creation
The big mistake most companies make once they’ve launched a pillar page is thinking that their work is then over. It’s not –– not by a longshot. The truth is, for a pillar page to be effective, your customers need to be able to find it. And they can only do that once you’ve established it as an online presence. The best way to accomplish that is by optimizing future content and linking back to your pillar page. Odds are you’ll have more to say on a subject even after you’ve completed a pillar page. So use your new blogs as supporting pieces within your wider pillar-page strategy.
Final Word: What Not to Do
We’ll end this piece with a few major “don’ts” in regard to pillar-page creation. First off, don’t just copy/paste your previous work into your pillar page and call it a day. Even though you’re not creating a lot of “new” content per se, it doesn’t mean you can skip editing the work. Plus, a pillar page needs to flow and segue naturally. Copy/pasting will make your website look slapdash at best. Secondly, don’t use a pillar page as an opportunity for a hard sell. No matter how excited you are about your new line of cell culture tubes, resist the urge to advertise anything overtly. Your readers are there for information –– not to feel pressured into buying a product. Finally, though this should be a given, don’t ever –– under any circumstances –– claim someone else’s work as your own on a pillar page. Not only is this unethical, but it could end up causing you a heaping peck of trouble dealing with penalties from Google and other search engines.