Writing content for your website

By November 13, 2014Business, Marketing, Website design
writing website content

So you are sitting in front of a blank screen ready to embark on writing the content for your website. You want to make sure that visitors can find your site and stay long enough to see what your great business has to offer. This may seem a daunting thought. Here are a few simple tips that can guide you in the right direction.

1. Spend some time organising – start with the structure

Think about what you are going to include in your website. Group what is most important and related together so you can establish a clear navigational structure. This includes page titles, heading and subheadings.

2. Address your audience

Who are you are writing for? What are their needs? What will they come to your web page to find or achieve? What is their level of expertise? Build a profile of your various audience groups. Focus your content around your users’ needs and tasks, not around yourself or your organisation.

3. Are you solving a problem?

People are searching the Internet for solutions so make sure it is clear what problems you solve. Call to action messages and contact information should be clear. You want to make sure visitors can convert into customers.

4. Use the inverted pyramid method

Put your conclusions at the beginning of your page content and work backwards from there. Get to the point in the first paragraph and then expand upon it.

5. Write for your audience

Make your content readable and engaging for visitors to your site. A website goal is usually to convert visitors into customers. Use a conversational tone to connect with your audience and avoid fluff and marketing jargon.

6. Build trust

Not only do you need to communicate that you have what your website visitors need or want, you also need to build trust.

  • Who works for your business? How did the business start? What are the business values? Include information to help visitors understand who they are dealing with. An About Us page introduces your business and describe its history, affiliations and achievements. A record of past performance helps customers decide to do business with you. You could also include staff qualifications, past employment and previous achievements. These are all important indicators of how well your business will perform when engaging with it. Another positive effect of introducing your staff or yourself via your website is that you put a human face on your company. If your visitors can see the real faces that drive your company, they can identify with your brand a bit better.
  • Your customer want to know what happens if… Address your customers’ concerns with clear answers that are easy to find. Giving them a sense of security while on your website helps to keep them motivated to stay. Make sure you include an easy to find privacy policy and website and business terms. You may also need pages clarifying delivery information and your return policy.
  • Testimonials can also be effective and show visitors that your business is trustworthy. But only add them if they are real, relevant and you can attach a name and even a web link to them. This could be a link to the LinkedIn page of the person who gave the positive review or you a link to the corporate profile page of the person in question.
  • Case Studies give your visitors a picture of how you will work for them. They show how well you have performed in the past and the longevity of your brand.
  • Articles that showcase your experience with your products and service help to show off your expertise. This content with help bring visitors to your site as well as prove that you are an expert in your field.

7. Use lists and short paragraphs

Keep the content short. The shorter it is, the more likely your readers will read it. Visitors usually search very specifically and become frustrated if forced to sift through a lot of information to find what they are looking for. If you have a very broad topic, consider breaking your content down and introducing one topic per paragraph so your readers can find specific information easily. You can also add links within your page content to related topics on other pages of your site rather than trying to include all of your information on one page. This will make your website more user-friendly. Cater to content skimmers in the following ways:

  • Use ordered/unordered lists instead of paragraphs when possible. Limit your lists to ten or less.
  • Write short, meaty paragraphs and put white space between them.
  • Focus on one topic per paragraph.
  • Include internal subheadings to make scanning easier.
  • Use internal links to related topics instead of cramming too much information onto one page.
  • Use you instead of I to connect with readers.
  • Keep sentences short.

8. Use visuals for emphasis

Images attract a reader’s attention. Just make sure they support and add value to your content. This can include photographs, diagrams, illustrations, infographics and even creative use of text.

9. Check and recheck for grammar and spelling errors

Nothing says unprofessional like a website full of spelling or grammatical errors. After you are finished copywriting, walk away from the content and come back later with fresh eyes. You may notice errors that might have otherwise been overlooked.

10. What is keyword optimisation?

If you were to search for your business, what words would you use to describe what you do, your location, the services you offer, your products and your industry? These are the words you should be including within your website content. Keyword optimisation is making sure your content contains enough instances of words or phrases commonly used in search engines to find what you offer. These keywords should be used throughout your content. Generally, you want your keyword to appear 2 to 5 percent of the time. For example, if you’re writing an article of 500 words, you’ll want your keyword to appear at least 10 times but no more than 30. However, if you use keywords in a context that’s inappropriate, you turn away visitors.

Keywords and phrases are used within a website to help the search engines find and properly index or rate your website. This is done by sending “spider robots” to scan the website and the words within the website. This process, depending on if you have used your keywords effectively, will determine if your website is important enough to be listed in the top 20 of the search index pages. Relevant, specific keywords will improve search engine ranking and increase traffic to your site — but only when used properly. When incorporating keywords into your site:

  • Be strategic – After you’ve chosen your keywords, use them in page titles, meta data, image names and in your website’s page content. Use each word or word combination, as well as their variations, at least two to three times per page. Page names and titles need to be keyword rich. So don’t use words that won’t be searched for like home page, a, an, my, your and the.
  • Keep it natural – Overusing, or “stuffing,” your keywords will harm your site’s ranking because search engines read sites like we do. They evaluate context, and know when a word isn’t used properly or is out of context. Try to use your keywords naturally — without thinking about their placement. Remember that you’re writing your content for people, not robots. You want to avoid pushing potential customers away.

 

Website text should be interesting and engaging. Keep it simple and keep it short. Creating content for your business website can be challenging, but following these simple tips can help steer you in the right direction so your copy is valuable and engaging to your readers.

Do you have any other tips for writing website content?

 

 

About Caroline

Caroline is a specialist in business creation, growth and change management. Her aim is to empower start-ups and small businesses to drive growth through the development of business ideas, product and service development, strategy and system planning as well as business branding and promotion.

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