The essential business case of a website is self-service. To maximize value from self-service, you want a limited menu, a fast transaction and a significant volume of people. Let's say your website has 5,000 pages of content. Let's say that the total cost for publishing each page is USD100. Thus, the total cost is USD500,000. Let's say that you have 100,000 visitors over the lifetime of these 5,000 pages. Let's say that the top 20 percent of pages get 80 percent of visitors (very common, in my experience).
That means that 1,000 pages are getting 80,000 visitors, and 4,000 pages are getting 20,000 visitors. The 'cost' per page for the top 20 percent of pages is USD1.25 per visitor. The cost per page for the bottom 80 percent of pages is USD20 per visitor.
You need to focus on how much each page is costing you and what value each page is delivering. To maximize value, you want to focus on your killer content. At a very basic level, content is judged based on volume of sales. Harry Potter is a huge success because it sells a lot of copies.
If you focus your energies on your killer content and applications, you will be able to show much more value. I come across many websites where people are spending as much time on the low quality, filler content, as they are on the high quality, killer content. In fact, I come across quite a few websites where managers are not aware which is the killer and filler content.
Filler content also has hidden costs. A 5,000 page website is more difficult to navigate than a 1,000 page website. It's harder for the reader to find what they need. Speed and convenience are critical to the success of self-service. The more you clutter your website, the more you slow the reader down.
Remember that people are hugely impatient when they are on the Web, and if they can't find what they want quickly, they will hit the Back button.
Sometimes people tell me that even if only a few people might want to read this, it's still worth publishing. No. If there's a very small audience, it might be much more effective to go and call them or even visit them.
The core objective of content is to drive an action. You need to know that the top 20 percent of your content is really delivering a return. Just because people read a page is not enough. Did they understand it? Did they act the way you wanted them to after reading it?
To get a webpage right demands a lot of time and effort. Let's say you delete 2,000 of those pages I mentioned earlier. Let's say you invest USD300 per page for the 1,000 killer content, and USD100 per page for the other 2,000 pages. You're still spending the same budget, but are likely to deliver far more value because you're focusing on getting the content right that your reader wants.
To maximize value on your website, focus on your killer content and delete your filler content.
Gerry McGovern, a content management author and consultant
, has spoken, written and consulted extensively on writing for the web and web content management issues since 1994.