Content is Key

from Cyber Horizon Newsletter

I have been spending a lot of time recently focusing on the issue of content development for college bookstore web sites. Essentially, pondering the question of how best to support my client’s need for fresh, updated and relevant content that will continue to attract and hold customer traffic.

You may hear the adjective “sticky” being used when describing a site’s ability to keep viewers interest for long periods of time. The stickiness of your site can be measured by the length of time the average visitor spends on your site. By the way, as your web site becomes more complex your webmaster should be providing you with information about the traffic patterns that you are experiencing.

To give you an idea of sticky sites consider that according to Media Metrix data for March, 47 million users have signed up for services from Yahoo and that the average user spends just over one hour per month on the site, nearly twice as long as Excite and Netscape.

Holding your customer’s attention, similar to the time spent browsing in your “bricks and mortar” store, is going to have a direct impact on the potential for making sales. Getting quality “sticky” content and keeping it relevant is one of the most difficult, ongoing tasks that you will face in the Internet environment.

To address this issue, I have been reviewing and analyzing some of the national services that are out there developing, contracting and selling content to web site owners. You can find multi-media and streaming video at and and traditional newspaper style articles at

With all of this as a background, I opened my Campus Marketplace Newsletter this week, and saw an ad for the NACS Monthly Planner, and it dawned on me that this tool could be helpful as a guide for ensuring that you maintain relevant, local content.

This tool is designed to assist you in planning strategies, anticipating tasks, and designating responsibilities. As you go about developing your monthly in-store promotions, buyback campaigns, graduation displays, etc. don’t forget to include the task of creating new web site content to highlight these features. Envision the content on your web site as a huge display window right in front of your store. You would typically change the window merchandising at least once per month; the same applies to your web site if not more often.

The content at this point can be something as simple as an article linked to your home page explaining the reasons for prices paid at buyback, but as technologies improve it could be a video of a faculty author reading excerpts from his or her new book. The important thing is that it is always fresh, always relevant, and keeps customers coming back.