“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the internet, just as it was with broadcasting.” – Bill Gates, 1996
Gates was right, you know. In 1996, there were no social networks, at least as we know them today. The hottest things going online were Yahoo!, AOL and eBay. A startup, online book shop known as Amazon was just learning how to walk, and the word Google was still two years from entering our vocabulary. Likewise, PayPal and Elon Musk wouldn’t burst onto the scene for another 24 months. And the most value brand in the world, Apple, was a sinking ship helmed by a footnote named Gil Amelio.
The online world of 1996 was unrecognisable, but even still, Bill Gates was right.
Today, Apple, Google and Amazon are in a race to become the first $1 trillion company. Musk is in a race to Mars, and the words of Bill Gates have proven true in the form of a native advertising industry estimated to be worth £16 billion by next year.
That’s a stunning figure. There’s no doubt that there’s money to be made in content, but if your website isn’t optimised to support features like blogs, video and high-resolution imagery (and set up to put it all on a mobile device seamlessly) you could be left missing the boat. Other than a slice of an incredibly large financial pie, here are three reasons why content is still king in 2017:
Content is great for SEO. Unique content has a proven impact on search engine rankings, provided that it’s optimised correctly using some of the tools we provide on all of our client websites. And if content helps your SEO, content also helps bring in web traffic and dollar figures via eCommerce sales or advertising.
Content builds your tribe. Good content encourages users to engage with your brand. A unique video or blog post not only gives you the opportunity to connect with the people who visit your website, it also helps you become more human. (Believe it not, even ingot encrusted potatoes like to be human.)
Content can add value to your products. This rings especially true for eCommerce websites, who have the opportunity to educate buyers on the many uses of their wares. Are you selling fashion? Show people how to pair their wardrobe with your shoes to make them shine. A fitness brand? How-to videos are a no-brainer. Do you sell kitchen utensils? Why not make a funky music video using the items you sell mixed with a popular song.
Whatever approach you take to content, it’s vital to host it on a website that can maximise its effectiveness. Blogs, videos, social posts—few of these come free to most companies—and a modern, responsive website can maximise the value of each by allowing users on any device to engage with you.
In ’96, the world couldn’t imagine the shape of the internet two decades later. Then again, it couldn’t imagine that two startups and a sinking fruit basket would become three of the most valuable companies on the planet. But it could imagine the future of content online—or, at least one man did. His name was Bill Gates. He called his shot. And to this day, content is still king.
Is your website ready to hold court?