Last week, Hitwise Intelligence UK wrote a post titled “Content driven websites receive 73% more traffic than transactional ones.” As you can see from the chart below, over the last three years, Internet users in the UK have transitioned from spending more a larger percentage of their time on transactional websites to content driven websites:
While Internet users spent a larger amount of time on websites in the categories of Shopping and Classifieds, Business and Finance, and Travel, they are now devoting more of their time to websites in the categories of Entertainment sites, Social networks and forums, and News and Media.
Although it’s no surprise that online commerce is down due to the current downturn in the economy, this study goes also reinforces a very important point. Every Internet marketer has heard the phrase “Content is King,” and while it is a topic that I have addressed on more than one occasion, if you spend ten minutes looking through a variety of business and e-commerce websites, you will see that this is a message that still isn’t being embraced by many people. While there are plenty of businesses and e-commerce websites who are missing out because they aren’t listening to this advice, this study shows that it is just as relevant as ever.
So, what can you do for your own business or e-commerce websites, or for the websites of your clients? In addition to creating as much useful text content as possible (think helpful tips or FAQs), Internet users are starting to expect a more diverse online experience. This means that it is important for you to look into ways to incorporate video, social features and even entertainment into your websites. Now, don’t get me wrong; you don’t have to convert your e-commerce website into an over the top multimedia experience. However, even doing small things like adding an instructional video about a confusing product or providing a Twitter stream of people talking about a product can do a lot to not only attract and hold people’s attention, but also to set your website apart from your competitors.