When people think of writing website content, I find they normally first think about keywords. But, actually, keywords are not the most important thing. Keywords may help with SEO and therefore drive traffic to your site, but if the content on your site is otherwise poor, the visitors are not going to stay. And they’re unlikely to ever come back. If you want to get people to engage with your website – and then ultimately your business – you need content that’s engaging. This means stop focusing on keywords and start focusing on your audience.
Pages with Purpose
Whatever your website is about, no matter how big it is, every single page has to have its own purpose. Not only does Google like this, but it will make sense to your visitors and make their time on your site easier and more useful. For every page on your website, ask yourself why it’s there and what someone will get out of it when they visit. If it’s just a repetition of something else or you’re not really sure it has a specific purpose, get rid of it. Make sure your website is consistently informative, useful or entertaining.
Once you’ve decided what the purpose of each page is, it will make it much easier to decide what content needs to go on there. But don’t just start writing loads of stuff. You need to make sure everything is easy to read and easy to digest.
In our media heavy world, audiences tend to gloss over details. They want to read something quick, get a feel for it and then decide if it’s of interest before they move on. You have just seconds to grab your audience before they’ve tuned out. This means it’s vital to ensure that your copy engages with your audience immediately, giving them the most important details first. I recommend for each piece of content, think about it like this:
Heading – say what’s on the page or what’s in this bit of content
Sub-heading – summarise what this is all about, including the most important bits of information. The shorter and punchier this is, the better
The bulk of the content – everything else that someone will need to know if they want to read on
This is equally as important for the About page as it is for descriptions of products or services. Let’s take a look.
If it’s the About page, you’d split it out like this:
Who the company is, summarised in one sentence.
The full story of the company.
If it’s a product or service description, you’d split it like this:
One or two sentences that sum up all the key features of the product, letting the audience immediately know if it’s of interest or not.
The full product details.
We read from the top down, so you need to make sure that everything someone needs to know is at the top. In a novel, the author might leave all the juicy bits to the end to keep the reader interested. When it comes to website copy, you want to do the exact opposite. Give the best bits away up front. If you capture the attention of your audience, they’ll either read on, or, if they haven’t got time, at least you’ve given them the important information and they’ll remember that.
Making sure you engage with your visitors is the most important thing, but having the keywords on your site that will get your visitors there still shouldn’t be overlooked. At its simplest, this means talking in your customers’ language. If they call a spade a shovel, then don’t call it a spade on your website. Call it a shovel. Or at least call it both. Walk in your customers’ shoes and make the website work seamlessly for them.
This is the most common mistake I see of all: websites that are littered with grammatical errors. It doesn’t matter how good you are with spelling, if you want to come across as professional then you need your website to be accurate. For even those people who class themselves as good with grammar, it can still be hard to edit your own work reliably. You get too close to it. Therefore, if you write your own website copy, get someone else to check the wording. There are lots of professional proof readers out there who can help, but if you don’t have the budget, then ask someone you know and trust.
It’s such a shame when businesses spend a lot of money on a nice looking website, only for the content to let them down. You need to ensure your visitors can get all the information that’s relevant to them as quickly and easily as possible. That means good, clean navigation and well-crafted content. That’s all that matters.
Make your website work for your customers and it will definitely work for you.
At Lindsay Woodward Marketing, we often review websites, providing feedback on where improvements can be made. If you’d like to speak to us about how you could do more with the content on your site, please contact us today.