Websites really do all look the same?
There are so many different websites that exist in the world. Some of them are related to marketing and design, others to clothes and makeup. Each and every company that wants to enhance their online presence and attract more customers, has a website. Companies invest a good chunk of their budgets in order to make sure that they have an eye-catching and timely design, good graphics, and convenient navigation. However, in the last few years, there appeared many arguments on the topic of similar features that many websites share. People say that nowadays all the existing web pages look somehow the same way. Those who raise the topic pinpoint that websites tend to have similar elements in design, structure, and overall experience.
On one hand, it seems impossible that the existing websites (there are more than a billion of them) can look the same as they all represent different companies, brands, values, and beliefs. They are designed by different people and most probably, target different audiences. So what is it all about?
- How can you track similarity?
- How did the Internet change?
- Where does it take us?
- What is required to change?
- How to create a unique website
- Steps to creating a unique and one of a kind website
- Creating unique and original content
- Defining unique content
- The importance of unique and original content
- Different types of content
How can you track similarity?
How can you possibly choose a certain amount of websites to check whether they really look the same or whether those discussions were just random guesses? Among over a billion existing websites, a group of interested people decided to choose some and make their own investigation on the recent trends and confirm or refute the theory of total websites’ similarity.
The chosen websites for the experiment were taken from the list of those that represent main businesses of the US categorized by the capitalization of the market along with some of the websites-nominees of the famous Webby Awards and the sites which were mostly trafficked by Alexa. They all represented the current trends in terms of web design in the corporate sector.
In order to track and compare the visual features of the chosen websites, they checked all the archive images from web pages. On another hand, in order to collect all the required and relevant data for a thorough website comparison, the team ran an automated process for analysis that was supposed to be useful and give an opportunity to get quantitative information.
The team, conducting the comparison, chose a set of measurements that helped them with identifying similar things in the viewed websites. Among those measurements were certain attributes that included web pages layouts, their colors, and some which were automatically received with the help of AI. The team took the measurements of pixel edits in order to compare the site’s layouts and colors. Moreover, they managed to train a model of machine learning in order to compare images and all of the existing attributes. All of these tools are said to help when it comes to tracking and measuring similarity in terms of website styles, however, it is almost impossible to understand which features gave the results.
How did the Internet change?
The team has conducted several comparison studies and has received interesting results. In terms of three main factors such as layout, artificial intelligence attributes and color, all of the considered websites faced massive differences from 2008 until 2010. After 2010, for another 6 years until 2016, the differences in the factors were decreasing, especially in layouts where the percentage of decline reached 30%. According to the findings, all of the studied websites were more or less similar and this trend kept increasing with time, producing less unique material but more alike in one way or another.
After comparing the websites, it was decided to check the existing data and find out the main reasons for such changes. Someone who has ever dealt with creating websites would probably assume that those websites were just copying the other site’s code. However, the studies have shown that the issue was not in the similarity of code but in the software libraries which were massively used. The use of codes has declined while the usage of libraries has become extremely popular.
What are software libraries? They are tools aimed at collecting information from generic code applicable for various tasks which include resizing and fitting everything to use on the mobile phones, creating a menu with options which will be sliding, and many more. The team, who have conducted the initial website comparison, have also looked at the websites which used different libraries and tried to find how similar they looked. Some of them which were created with the use of certain software libraries shared many similarities while others which also used libraries, but different ones, did not have much in common. The reason for that may be in the default options and layouts that are used in the libraries as well as in the pages complexity and customization.
The websites which shared the same scores in terms of similar features looked more different in 2005 than the ones in 2016. The team took two random websites to compare the way they looked – two in 2005 and two in 2016. They found out that in 2005, two chosen sites did look somehow similar but used absolutely different features in web design and implemented each its own layout. Although two websites used the same colors, one of them had a different background and all in all they looked completely different.
Having considered the sites of the year 2016, the team has come to the conclusion that they were actually way too similar. They had the same menu bar, which was placed in the same part of the website and had absolutely identical colors on their pages. On another hand, both sites did not have a lot of text while making great use in terms of monitors with higher resolution.
Where does it take us?
Acting according to trends is, on one hand, an absolutely normal thing. Websites that tend to have more similarities in terms of how they look due to using certain software libraries are most probably striving to be more easy and user-friendly. It means that the usage of popular libraries allows the website creators to come up with a product that is more accessible to larger groups of visitors. They will not need to spend a lot of time trying to figure out where to find the menu tab or how to change from one page to another. The developers who are into more complicated web designs are aimed at creating web pages for more sophisticated users, targeting people who are into technology and accept unusual presentations. A complicated website might not suit everyone and might result in people closing them and looking for something more understandable and easy. This is why many companies focus on simplicity in order to attract more people and increase conversion.
Another reason for the website’s similarity is more pragmatic. In order to design a page, one needs quite a lot of time and effort, and, in the fast-paced environment, those efforts are not always fully justified. Moreover, complicated designs call for much technical knowledge and experience which not only is difficult to find but tends to be rather expensive. Companies prefer to create easier and more simple websites that will suit most customers and make the overall experience pleasant and less time-consuming.
However, on another hand, huge corporations that are in charge of software libraries that many companies use to create their websites can gain too much power in terms of internet visual aesthetics. While software libraries, being published and made accessible, make it possible for many companies to come up with a website design faster and keep the website code in secret, their principles, on another note, will not be suitable for every single site. The existing principles of design, available in common libraries, might not only make it worse for the brand but also not allow it to deliver the right message to the target audience.
What is required to change?
Whether the company needs to use the popular software library or find an individual developer for more complicated web design, will depend on the list of important factors. First of all, it will all depend on the purpose of a future website, what kind of solutions it will bring to its visitors and the main goal of the brand itself. Secondly, good marketing research will help to determine the targeted audience and help to come up with the right strategy. If the website aims to attract modern and technology-oriented customers, the company might need to think about a custom-made website that grabs attention and makes people stay longer. If the aim is to make it easy and simple for people to navigate the site and find everything they need, a common software library might work.
Some people compare the web page designs with different cars. They say that although all websites might look in a similar way like the cars do, they all actually differ. As cars might have the same function and similar shape, the details are something that makes them stand apart. Every car has its engine and its wheels, but the overall experience is always different. It is the same story with web design. While some websites might look alike, you should look into the details.
Although recent researchers show a lot of similarities among the websites, it is not always an issue that needs to be immediately resolved. If the company’s tactics in terms of creating a website proves to be successful, they should stick to it. Sometimes the brand with the simplest website possible will stand out among those who have invested thousands in developing a sophisticated web page. It is all about individuality and what the brand has to offer and how it communicates with its target audience.
Companies are advised to keep the balance. It is undoubtedly great to have a good, technologically updated website with all the tools and features which correspond with the recent trends, but keeping with the brand’s values and enhancing its presence does not always depend on the website.
How to create a unique website
We do acknowledge that there is a certain cultural language to everything humans do; a language that creates a bond between different pieces of culture and makes it easier to understand the world. Therefore it makes complete sense for websites to want to use similar patterns and styles.
These similarities are necessary as they allow the user to spend less energy on decoding how to use a website, and allow you to communicate the right message.
But it is still essential to value creativity and create a website that is unique and sets you apart. So following the current trend and looking at what others have created is just not the right way to create a unique website that represents you the best.
We do not deny that you do have to look around and see how others have achieved some of what you aim for. It is important to take an example of what has been done before. It is most probable that others have already faced some of the problems that your will face on your journey. By keeping their solutions in mind as a potential answer, you can save precious time and energy.
The message we are trying to communicate is that web design is creative work, and the best results are achieved by being fearless and taking the risk of thinking outside the box. This enables you to go one step further than what has already been done. Do not be afraid of bad results, as they only make you more certain of what fits you well and what does not.
There are a few things we would like to share with you that might help you on your journey of creating your desired website.
Start from scratch
Yes, you can save a lot of time by using the layout and design of another project as a pattern and base for the new one. You probably already have a lot of cool and precious designs that you’ve put time into developing, but never used. These ideas and project scraps can indeed be used and developed into new work. I for one am a huge fan of using the old projects as bases for new ones, and upcycling old ideas into valuable designs.
But if you are going for something truly new, you might want to put your previous work behind, and start with a blank canvas with infinite potential. It is not unusual for designers and creators to get stuck with the same methods and design styles after a while. There is a certain comfort in going on with the strategy that has worked well before, but it also does create a hellish designer loop that you do not want.
Start your project from ground zero and even a colorless blank background. If you are trying to think outside the box, you should rethink the box itself. Change your method of work. if you always start at the top of the page, go ahead and start with the footers this time (if that is what benefits your work the best.) your method should be based on the most important aspects of what you are trying to represent, and the goals you want to achieve.
Go with the flow and ride on your most exciting idea. You might be surprised to find how much more creative you feel after you follow a detail that is most interesting to you. Go ahead and be wild, you can always edit along the way.
Pre-described layouts limit you
Grid systems are handy, and designers love them for good reasons. Grid systems, especially the 960 Grid System enable you to display web content with ease. They can be set up with minimum effort, and make website maintenance and deploying smooth and efficient. And on top of all that they greatly improve the operation and consistency of your website.
The importance of cross-browser support and consistency is undeniable, especially in the case of projects with a vaster target audience. But let us be honest, having a preset layout chains you up, and limits any designer’s creativity.
For a change, push the limits and the boxes you have to check to the back of your mind. Operate as there was no preset page size or required layout. Do as you wish and desire, and see where it takes you. When you are done, you can solve the issues in new ways which you have never done. Challenge yourself to solve your problems in ways you have never done.
It is not established anywhere that a website is illegal to publish unless it fits a 960- pixel box. Do not create based on these restraints, but instead search for solutions to connect your work to them.
Go CMS free
Yes, Content Management Systems are valuable tools that can help designers work more efficiently. They allow us to create high-quality and acceptable-looking designs that fit the universal standards while saving a lot of time.
Although there are many useful Content management systems available nowadays, such as WordPress, Expression Engine, and Drupal, they all limit you in specific ways. Yes, all these platforms, especially WordPress, are flexible and can be used creatively and in innovative ways, but they still restrict you as well.
These restrictions are especially present when designers use both Content Management Systems and grid systems, as it is usually with many publicly free themes.
That is one of the biggest reasons most designers favor their first design over all the others. The first design is the pure and creative version before content is added or taken away, or rearranged in ways that the initial design was not concerned with.
If you are trying to explore the limits of web design and are working on a project just to explore, use your freedom to the full extent. Content Management Systems are used because they make it easier to update, change, and maintain websites, but if we find ways around this problem, or eliminate it for at least an experiment, it is pretty fun to see what we can get done.
Avoid surfing through the net for inspiration
If you want to truly think out of the usual web design patterns and the ongoing trends on the internet in general, it is best to avoid surfing the internet in pursuit of inspiration. Designers usually search for inspiration among themselves, and that is one of the main reasons why most websites go with the same designs and share aesthetics.
We are not saying that it is wrong to look at what others have achieved for inspiration. Artists have done it through the whole history of humanity and the arts. Art is an ongoing conversation, to say the least. But on the internet, you might find a bit too much inspiration.
A painter 200 years ago had limited access to data and media, and that restriction allowed their creativity to fill in the space, and create something unique but outside the box. But what the internet does is that it overflows all designers with examples of how it is done, leaving less space for creativity. That is the biggest reason that most websites look alike.
Don’t get me wrong, I look through blogs and websites for inspiration even in my spare time, and I understand that it can feel almost impossible to work on a project without taking note of what has been done.
More often than not, clients provide us with examples of what they like. But keep in mind to at least practice designing without looking for inspiration on personal and creative projects. The solutions you will find can be later implanted into other projects that have been funded.
Get out of your comfort zone
We get comfortable with the skills we have developed pretty fast, as focusing on these skills allows us to work faster and more efficiently. But this comfort is very limiting, and even though a solution might have worked for a pretty long time, it might stop working in the future.
Creativity starts where you leave the comfort that you have worked so hard on creating. If you do not overcome the whisper of going with the easiest option, you will find yourself going with the same solutions over and over again.
This is going to make designing less adventurous and exciting, and a boring job overall. Of course, you will feel dull after redoing the same thing too many times.
And on top of that, as a designer, you must already be familiar with the dynamic and fluid way of things on the internet. New methods, techniques, designs, and trends are introduced and replaced all the time. In such an environment, only the designer is going to survive, which is always eager to learn to do things in new ways. As a web designer, you should be comfortable with relearning methods and strategies all the time.
By learning new skills and trying out new things, we allow ourselves to experience situations where we have to react in innovative and creative ways. This means we might find new answers to issues, thinking outside the box, and like no one has done before.
As we have already mentioned, when you go on adventures and try new stuff, you must expect to not get the desired answer so much of the time. But even that should not be seen as a failure, as you have learned new things, or at least now know what is not going to work.
It is a blessing to be naïve
It is a hot debate whether a website designer has to know coding or not. In this debate, I am on the yes side. I find it crucial for web designers to have a fair understanding of the material they work with, just like any other designer would need to have. Any website designer should at least know how to markup their design in CSS and HTML.
But understanding how much work putting up an element in web design would take, is a great limit to the imagination of those of us who know how to code. If you are familiar with website development, you have too in the past experienced the moment of hesitation where you are just designing the website in photoshop but do not continue with the initial idea, because “oh, that element of interaction is going to be PRETTY hard to put to work with CSS”.
The more conscious you are of the workings of what works and what does not, the more you understand HTML and CSS rendering issues and such, the more you will find your work based on avoiding these issues and the less on creative factors.
Understanding how your designs are implemented is not bad at all. It is only when you understand the medium you are working with that you can create realistic and efficient designs.
Knowing how to code is a great advantage as a website designer, looks good on your resume, and the only way to survive in the market as a website designer is to know ways to alter designs and keep their visual quality.
But when it comes to straight-up creativity, we should sometimes put this burdening knowledge aside and let our imagination overcome us.
Following the old fashioned route
Things such as tables have been put aside for a fairly long time in the web design world now. Some newer designers might have never used them at all. We find tables messy, and simply just bad. But that would be unfair to the tables though, wouldn’t it?
While tables are not the go-to answer for most designers nowadays, they are still important. While they are not the perfect tool for developing page layouts, they still include relevant applications such as displaying tabular data.
Tables are a simple example here, there are so many other old-fashioned web design elements that today’s designers think of as nightmares. For example, blinking elements or marquees, which belong to a distant past which web designers would like to forget.
But if you are trying to train yourself into thinking more creatively, why not go back in time and try to use these elements in ways that are relevant and exciting today? It seems way more impossible to think of a new solution than to take a look at the past, and recycle pre-existing elements and give them new life.
Although this seems extremely hard to achieve, there are examples of this done well. A great example is the jQuery robot that scrolls the background horizontally. This is very similar to what
It is fun to take a look into the past and see how things were done, and how you can give them new life. It is a good exercise to train to think out of the box. And on top of all that, what is a better way to represent an old school brand, by revisiting old school elements of web design?
Good ol’ fashioned fun.
Ride the wave of new technologies
Let us be honest, debugging and browser testing is hard work. It is a task you cannot get behind, as it is a necessary step of any web design project.
The biggest barrier to any web designer’s desires is that we have no control over how our work is displayed in the browser. It feels almost impossible to communicate our image across. Browsers and their deliberate representation of our work are the biggest restraint we face during our process of creation. To achieve results that are still relevant to our initial ideas, browser testing is a must.
But the browser market is changing and evolving with the speed of light. The competition in the browser market is tough, and the vendors are constantly fighting over the upper hand in the market.
This competition favors web designers though. With new features constantly added and older ones updated, we get the chance to implement the web standards of the future as fast as they are developed.
When looking for inspiration, and things that trigger our creativity, taking a look into the new technologies might be a huge help. Too many web designers, tweaking and experimenting with the newly made available technologies is a fun way to spend time.
On the other hand, sadly all the newly introduced features will not be available on all browsers. There is still the problem of cross-browser compatibility that we have to deal with, and that truly limits the extent of what we can get done.
It is fun and creativity-provoking to explore the limits of what HTML5 or CSS3 can achieve in the form and operation of a project, but not all browsers will be able to deliver your desired results. Do not be disappointed as there are always ways around these issues.
Choose constraints, and work your way around them
We have discussed and shared many solutions to think outside the box, but many believe what truly tweaks creativity, its constraints. Constraints force you into thinking in new ways and doing what has not been done before.
The recommendations we listed above, try to lift the restraints our brains have been accustomed to so far. For example, by designing a web page in Photoshop naively, as we have no idea how coding works, we create something we may not usually allow ourselves to even imagine. But keep in mind that there are many ways to create and deliberately limiting yourself is one.
It is a common practice among creators to imagine a barrier and then think of ways to overcome it. This method will surely make you go to new heights, and do things you have never done before.
Make sure you are not just reduplicating the old and usual limitations you always have but instead be clever and creative with the problems you create. Bend the rules and restraints, so that you bend your work.
Keep in mind that the creation of unique and creative websites does not come suddenly. An artist practices their art. You must work on creative personal projects, other than what has been funded. You can later implement what you discover in these projects into your funded designs.
Here are some ideas:
– What if I have to use this bold color that I never usually use as the main element of design?
– What if I was not allowed to use any fonts but typewriter?
– What if I had to create a webpage that was under 95KB?
– What if I had to use blinking elements as the main element of the webpage’s design?
From the beginning of culture, human beings have found inspiration in many things, but most importantly themselves. There is certain internal dialogue to all art, and this internal dialogue is especially impactful, in the case of web design. Web design is a flowing stream that regenerates out of itself; it is the main source of its inspiration.
Other than that, our mind is limited and habits control the extent of our thoughts. Therefore it is extremely refreshing to share the process of creation with another human, and hear their thoughts.
Collaborating on projects and teamwork, in general, is both freeing, and frustrating at the same time. But there are many possible approaches to teamwork. Sometimes you are interested in another designer’s creative way of thought and want to see the result of your work combined. Some other time, you might decide to dedicate each area to the person with the most expertise and get faster results in less time. Still, communication and getting your ideas across might be challenging and take a lot of energy and effort.
Partnering up with other experts can guide your attention to areas you might have not noticed before. It is a great way of extending your limits, as well as an amazing constraint that can help you think outside the box.
A great example of this technique executed is the Dribble rebound challenge, which we are all huge fans of. Dribble does not own the rights to the idea, but it brought a lot of attention to it by providing an amusing and inspiring design pool to draw from.
When you begin to design based on another designer’s work, you push yourself to create what is unpredicted, even to yourself. You set foot into territories you have not explored before.
Steps to creating a unique and one of a kind website
It is basic logic that because of how each website has different purposes and goals to achieve, each website should look unique, and different from the other ones. Different needs result in different goals, and these goals should determine what steps should be taken in the process of development.
It is not an uncommon practice among web designers and developers to follow the same formula for every project, even though the projects vary heavily.
Yet there are certain steps that developers and website designers can follow to ensure that they are achieving the best possible results. You should of course keep in mind, that these steps are simple to trace lines that should be altered to bring out the best possible results.
Take a look at these steps and then edit and alter them to fit your desired image, and the size, complexity, and your project’s exact needs.
Keep in mind that this guide was added to this article at the beginning of 2022, and will only stay relevant for a limited time. The world of website development is fast and ever-changing after all. Keep your circumstances, and your unique needs and goals in mind.
Research and strategy
Research and strategy is the primary step in any project. Understanding your company’s values, unique goals, advantages, and disadvantages is the first and most important task of your journey. If you do not understand what your company aims to achieve, its standpoint, and its situation in the market, any step you take in the process of development may bring undesired results, as these insights build the framework for any future strategies.
The next move should be strategizing based on the research and analysis. Think about how you would like your audience to know your company, and based on that knowledge determine your company’s messaging.
Get to know your target audience, and allow their preferences and likings to form the entrance of your brand. By having a good understanding of your target market, you will be able to develop the best strategies to attract organic traffic to your website.
Study the resources and assets that are already available to you, and think of new assets that you will be able to produce for the website here onward. These resources include videos, pictures, blog posts, an Instagram account, etc. By understanding how the brand has introduced itself so far, you will be able to build future strategies better or introduce a smooth transition if necessary. Understanding the current state of brand representation, and current website strategies is also important because it allows you to find ways to not lose your present following.
Designing the blueprint
After you have grasped a correct understanding of the hiring company, the market, the audience, and the competition, you build strategies based on that knowledge. After that, it is time for the following step, which is creating a blueprint based on the information and strategies you have designed.
This blueprint should include user pathways, features, functionalities, wireframes, and a specification document.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of this step, especially when it comes to more complex and bigger projects. Strategies create a guide of things you should and should not do, but the blueprint brings these instructions to life and provides you with a detailed picture, and a map to your goal.
Blueprints allow you to ensure a proper foundation to your website, and that you will not stray off of your budget limits. The blueprint also allows you to chop the work into smaller sections and allocate experts or teams for each segment.
Even if the website you are creating is not complex, or simply informational, it is still best to not skip this step. The blueprint creation process can be simplified to fit your project’s needs and can be a very handy guideline to any project no matter how small. If you have a clear idea of where your project is going and there are not many steps to follow, or details to keep in mind, go ahead and simplify this step.
The blueprint can be revisited later on in the website development journey as a reminder of initial goals. Having a clear idea of where some ideas are rooted, or where they were supposed to go can guarantee better alteration results.
We already dedicated a full section of this article to creativity and how to get the most out of your creativity when it comes to web design. Creative design is the most fun part of website development. It is the step where you get to work and start to see results.
The website’s design is the first thing that the audience encounters when they visit your website. Your website’s design is the initial layer to what makes your website truly unique.
In this step, designers follow the wireframes created in the blueprint design and create example models of what the website would look like on different devices, such as desktop, tablet, mobile, or even TV.
In this step, you can start to see how your website comes to life, and starts to represent your company’s face and image. Your brand’s colors, fonts, and identifying style are put to work to recreate its face on the website.
Creative design is extremely exciting. Everything seems to process very fast, and team members start to see the results of all they had planned.
In this step, it is crucial to keep personal preferences and aesthetics out of the website’s design. The design should not represent you, but the company’s message and the target market’s preferences and habits. The website’s branding should be traceable through every page, so that your users can recognize it is your website, even if you remove the company’s logo.
While creating mockups, look for content holes, and review what you have on hand. If you are missing any content, develop the necessary images, copies, and videos. Make sure every
mock-up has been tested several times, and after they have been fully reviewed, pass the copies on to the development team.
The coding stage
This is the step that most clients understand as the waiting stage. In this step, most of the work we do is invisible to the hiring company, as they have participated in as much as they could participate.
They have shared their view on the company’s branding, and message, have shared their plans, goals, and what they want to achieve, and all the data they have on their target market.
But behind the scenes, the development team is still doing heavy work. The models and mock-ups that were designed in the previous steps are coded and come to life one by one. They are no longer sketched and pictures from Photoshop, but they become functioning websites.
Keep in mind that it is of utter importance to work with qualified and experienced developers. Poorly developed websites become companies’ worst nightmares in the long run. They bring you unexpected financial costs and cost you way more in the long run. Poorly constructed sites will cost you double their size of development in maintenance and repair.
No matter how well the other steps are done, no matter how well you researched, no matter how well you planned and architected your blueprint, and no matter how unique and beautiful your website looks, if not developed well, it will crash.
It is not unusual for companies to invest in the other stages, especially the design, and then not give enough attention to the development and construction of the website. This is especially true since many companies find website development similar to the construction of a physical site or building. But more and more companies are now starting to realize that development is just as detailed and artistic as all the other steps.
Testing and quality assurance
This step is the one that most companies eliminate to cut off expenses, and save some cash on the budget. At this stage, quality assurance engineers and inspectors do a series of specific testing processes to make sure the website is performing correctly and smoothly.
The engineers test the website on all necessary devices to make sure that it loads quickly and doesn’t have any bugs. These tests are often operated on smartphones, desktops, tablets, and sometimes on devices such as television. Incorrectly operated testing, each functionality, and feature of the website are precisely tested to ensure the best possible performance.
It is usually during the testing which you gain access to the project and can start uploading content to it. In this step, every kind of content such as copies, images, videos, etc. should be uploaded and tested.
The quality assurance step is a suitable time to start with search engine optimization. All kinds of website functionalities should be tested during this stage, and ensuring you are easily discoverable by the customers is very important.
It is after the quality assurance engineer’s confirmation, that the website is finally launched and ready for a system administrator to begin their reign.
Site development doesn’t end after quality assurance either. You cannot just lay back and relax after you publish your website. All websites require constant maintenance and care. The best way to look at a website you have created is to consider it a living, breathing thing.
To achieve your desired results out of the website you have spent so much time on, you have to take care of it. Too many websites fail because they are not updated often enough. A huge duty of website owners is to constantly update themselves about website and market trends.
For a website to survive, it should be maintained by professionals who are open to new ideas and are willing to make constant changes to improve it. You should never close your eyes to the ever-changing market, internet trends, and user habits and desires. Data should be continually collected and analyzed to get a better understanding of user behavior.
Search engine optimization is an ongoing task that you are going to deal with all through your website’s life. The mission of driving organic traffic to your website, transitioning that traffic into customers, and then loyal customers are never going to be completed.
Creating unique and original content
It is no secret that a unique website is not unique in the way it looks, but also in the content it provides.
A lot of experts, including us, would argue that most users have become completely indifferent to the previous online marketing strategies, and even beautiful aesthetics and web designs. We do not mean at all that beautiful website design, and an easy-to-use interface does not make your website unique.
But that is only the first layer that the user encounters. What truly makes a user stay is the content that you provide. Even if you create a website with gorgeous architecture and breathtaking design, the content that you feed the website with determines its survival.
Defining unique content
Unique content is original and well delivered. Unique content belongs only to your website and provides your user with value. Search engines have become smarter than they ever were. They
recognize copied and spun content, and you can no longer parrot your way through the world of the internet.
Unique content is original. It has never been published before. To create unique and original content, you and your team will need to study your target audience, and the internet, to see what your target audience is hungry for, and what has already been shared and done.
Unique content is fresh, relevant, and informative. Unique content sets your site apart from all the others on the net. No one takes interest in a website that produces useless and unreliable trash.
Content creation should be strategic. You want to create something that is not already available or something with better quality than what is already out there.
Unique content gives your company authority and will drive organic traffic to your website. Unique content is the right representation of your brand’s voice and image, instead of imitating the internet world around. Unique content becomes your voice and sets you apart; a representative of your company’s view of the world.
The importance of unique and original content
Your content is critically important when it comes both to your company’s interaction with your target audience, and the search engines. The content you publish on your website has short and long-term consequences and results.
Unique content makes your website more valuable
When your content is high quality, original, and unique, it adds value to your business. Informative and reliable content transforms you into a credible source your target audience can trust.
It is not a matter of how niche or small your target market is, as there are always ways to attract more organic traffic to your website, and become a trustable face in that market. Though through, strategic content allows you to attract new leads, and transform your current users into loyal advocates of your brand.
Even if they have stumbled across your website just because of a random click on their search results, original content can make them regulars, especially when published on a well-architected website.
Original content is the answer to many of the problems companies are spending a lot of money to solve, and a lot of the goals they desire to achieve. By investing in your content, you are investing in attracting more organic traffic, increasing engagement, and growing your sales and conversions.
Domain authority is a crucial factor for all websites. When we are speaking of a website’s domain authority, we are speaking of its credibility and how reliable it is.
Websites that produce original and plagiarism-free content have higher credibility than websites that do not.
The quality of your content is not only inspected and evaluated by your audience and users, but also by the search engines. So it is very important to double-check the originality of your work before putting it out there. Platforms such as Copyscape provide you with a great tool to ensure your content’s originality.
Unique content does not lose its value fast
Unique content costs you less in the long run and has a greater return on investment. The reason for that is that original content stays relevant for a longer period.
Twitter is a great example of how the whole internet operates in general. Just like on Twitter, when something is said on the internet, many echoes arise. Anything that is published on the internet acts as a drop of water touching a lake, forming many rings around it.
Most of the content on the internet is created by copywriters. When fresh and unique content is put out in the world, it is quickly recognized and imitated many times. First, there will be a second group that extends that topic and imitates it, and then the third group will be imitating the second one. This goes on until the last group is imitating a mere echo of what was first published.
And still, the content that will be showcased on the top of the search results is going to be the original one, as it was visited more times. This kind of content that stays on top of the search results and is regularly visited for years is called evergreen content.
Evergreen content is not only free of plagiarism, but it is also insightful, fresh, clear, and creative.
Backlinks are a very important factor when it comes to search engine optimization and your website’s credibility.
When another website publishes an article with your website’s link, it is called a backlink. It is being quoted off the online world.
But why would any website credit you, and generate a link with your site unless they believe that you are the rightful owner of some content, and/or an insightful source?
The more backlinks you earn, the more credible your website is going to look to search engines and users alike. Search engines put credible sites higher up the results, and users trust better the sites that they have seen around the internet often the number of times.
Unique content makes you visible
When your content is not just like all the others on the internet, you are better optimized for search engines, and you earn better ranking results. Search engine crawlers recognize unique and original content and pick them first.
If you want to become more easily discoverable, you should improve the originality of what you create on your website.
Makes you reliable and trustworthy
Unique content generates value and allows your target audience to trust you better. A good connection to your audience and a sense of trustworthiness add value to your products and services. Your content can make you feel safer, and your products and services are of a higher quality.
Different types of content
While speaking of content the first thing that pops into mind is articles and blog posts, you can create many different types of original content.
“Ongoing chronicle of information” is how WordPress defines blogs. The newest blog posts are the ones that are always first displayed. This reverse chronological display aims to ensure that the newest post is perceived first, and not the outdated ones.
Blog posts can be used to publish product reviews, customer references, tutorials, company news, or interviews with experts.
There are infinite possibilities and ways that you can use blog posts to introduce your business and grow a following. For example, if you are a company selling yarn, your blog can publish different posts on how to knit, knitting patterns, methods of evaluating yarn, and
behind-the-scenes yarn spinning and dyeing processes.
Blog posts are a great way of creating a personal and close bond with your audience.
What are white papers? White papers are alluring essays that companies write to advertise a product, service, or viewpoint. White papers must be informative, and provide the reader with useful data that helps them make better decisions more easily, gain more insights on an issue, and solve them in the best way possible.
White papers have a more formal tone and are most often used as a marketing strategy targeting professionals or other businesses. They usually use exclusive terminology and are not written to be entertaining, but more convincing and affirming.
If you are a B2B company white papers are a type of content that you would want to pursuit. White papers work wonders when it comes to showcasing your company as trustable, knowledgeable, experts.
Case studies are also that type of content that is usually created as a business-to-business marketing strategy. They have a more formal tone, especially when compared to customer references.
Case studies are stories about different clients’ journeys, and how the company helped them overcome and solve an issue, or achieve a goal.
It is important to not represent yourself in a heroic and angelic voice, but also reflect on your mistakes and failures, as it gives you an honest and more trustworthy face.
Emails are a popular type of content marketing that almost all websites these days. Emails allow companies to target their audience separately, create a personal connection with them, and have a consistent presence in their lives.
These emails can be used to send your users to personalize the content that they might be interested in, notify them of sales and promotions, introduce them to your new products and services, and let them know about events.
There are many amazing tools out there that allow you to personalize each email to match its receiver. Customized emails are a great way to keep your presence in your customer’s mind, and be on top of it as a potential option for future purchases. Personalized emails have also proven to be amazing tools for increasing engagement, and achieving your sale goals.
There are many interesting, fresh, and creative ways to approach video content. Videos are a very powerful type of content that has proven to bring amazing results, especially with the rise of social media platforms such as TikTok.
Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Youtube, are amazing opportunities for introducing yourself to the world and making your name heard.
Your approach towards creating video content should depend on your company’s goal, and your target audience, and the platform on which you want to publish these videos.
Videos are recyclable, and you can use the same video on many different platforms, which does not work as well with written content. Many successful brands have youtube channels they regularly upload videos on. The main website is linked under the videos, and that by itself makes you more credible.
These videos can be later linked to your blog posts, your website, or your online shop. Many companies edit and shorten the same videos and post them on other platforms such as Instagram.
Data has proven many times that video content is more likely to be viewed and clicked on, on Facebook and Instagram.
Platforms such as Youtube provide you with a great chance to create a trustworthy face, while TikTok can give you a super boost and make you go viral.
Simply put, podcasts are very much like radio shows. They are a series of audio programs that are focused on a specific topic or theme.
Podcasts are less likely to grab as much attention as content types like videos do, but they still should not be turned a blind eye to. Podcasts are still rising in popularity and they do not seem to be slowing down.
Modern times have made all people do multiple things at once, and podcasts are amazing to listen to while driving, doing house chores, or even working out.
The type of content that is created on podcasts does not stray very far from blog posts or videos. Podcasts are amazing for creating a long-lasting and persistent connection with your audience, and a great opportunity for creating a knowledgeable and trustworthy face.