Your website is a lot like a new home.

When you build a house, you invest in professionals to build a house that’s structurally sound, and is the nicest one on the block. If you only furnish your new home with cheap, second-hand furniture, your ability to impress people will stop at the front door.

Likewise, when you build a new website, you need to invest just as much effort into the content as you did the actual website itself. Create great web copy and blog posts, and your content will convey credibility and value to your customers.

Here are eight ways you can punch up your content to make a good impression on your visitors and convince them to stick around:

1. Avoid generic content

Focus on your business. Your content should tell your visitors what makes you unique. Strive for personal, compelling stories and craft sales copy with your own business in mind. Build a connection between you and your next customer, and they will reward you with loyalty and return business.

2. Always include images

Visuals catch the eye and make your content pop. A compelling photo will significantly increase the likelihood someone will click on your post and read it. They also help to break up a ‘wall of text.’

Images also can boost your search engine traffic. When someone finds your illustration in an image search, they might click through to see where it was originally used. Be sure to use the alt tag so Google can index it (and people with visual impairments can also understand what the image represents).

One caveat to using images: always make sure they are either your own, original content, or that you have permission to use them. You can purchase licenses for stock images from sources like ShutterStock, or find copyright-free images through Flickr’s Creative Commons search.

3. Reconsider your audience

Target your content to the population most likely to enjoy your content or purchase your products. Is your audience made up of millennials who like irreverent pop culture references, or mothers with children? Are they athletic or bookish?

You’ll also want to really drill down into what your visitors want from your site. What do they need? Are they coming for education or entertainment? Do your products solve a problem or fill a niche? Answer those questions, and you can tailor your content to respond to them.

When you define your audience, you will have an easier time with word choice, relevant examples, and choosing appropriate illustrations.

4. Have a primary goal in mind

Don’t confuse your visitors with multiple or contradictory site goals. Is the purpose of your website to inform? Sell? Entertain? The same question should be in your mind with each blog post you write. Having a primary goal for each post will ensure your writing doesn’t ramble and get off message.

5. Do keyword research

Tailor your content to actual searches. If you can capitalize on keyword searches by including a couple of buzzwords or phrases in each post, you should see more traffic. The key to this trick is to include these phrases organically within the flow of your writing. Don’t ever make it look like you’re keyword stuffing just to get points with Google.

For more tips on how to do effective keyword research, check out the post 5 Keyword Research Tools to Use in 2015 for More Search Traffic.

6. Use catchy titles

Craft descriptive and exciting titles. People will be more likely to click on a post that has an intriguing title. Upworthy is well-known for their attention-grabbing, controversial titles that draw a reader in. While you don’t have to go as far as they do, you still want to make your titles interesting enough to catch a reader’s attention. Use action words, phrase your title in an unusual way, or ask a question. Titles that offer a list are also very effective. For more tips, check out this great infographic on writing the perfect headline.

7. Don’t just add content for length’s sake

Make the content count. Quality always trumps quantity. Say what you need to say, and then be done with it. Artificially expanding a post just to hit a word count for search engine performance will likely only water down your content and make it less likely to succeed.

8. Keep it fresh

Update your site frequently. Google loves indexing new content. If you have a blog, keep it current. If not, consider other ways you can add new material on a regular basis. Maybe you could have project updates or press releases? A recap of recent events? Profiles of staff or customers? Make a commitment to regular updates, and your consistency will give you a boost in site traffic and return readership.

Feature image credit: Flickr user ArmchairBuilder, License: CC BY (commercial reuse with modification)