It is usually the one task that website owners dread and can hold up the launch of many a great website. However, putting together great content for your website doesn’t have to be so daunting. The following article will give you the basics in writing great web content and some fool-proof techniques on how to get the words flowing.
The key lies in firstly not leaving your content until the last minute. Start to think about it at the outset of your website project when you are also planning the design, layout and site structure. The questions you address at this stage can equally help with setting the tone and voice of your content. Secondly, keep it simple. This is not a reflection on the intelligence of your audience, but you want your content to be easy to read, understand and act upon and easy for you to maintain.
A common frustration is how to get started. You probably know your business inside out and know exactly why a potential customer or client should use you and not your competition. But getting that down in words seems to be almost impossible.
1. Who is your target audience? This is where you determine the tone of voice for your content. Will business users, consumers or both visit your site? Will a typical visitor to your site have any background knowledge of your product or service? Think about the people you know, will they use your website? If so, how would they use it, what would they be looking for? Getting the input of real people can be a valuable and effective way of identifying your potential website visitors.
2. What are your keywords? This is not just about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). You can build sentences around keywords and phrases and before you know it, you have a whole page of content! Drawing up a list of keywords can be a very effective way of overcoming ‘writers block’. Try to focus on those words and phrases that you think your audience will associate with your business, product or service. If you have a number of products or services, draw up a list for each one. Keep the list short, but accurate.
3. How will you measure the success of your website? This is about the purpose of your content. What do you want visitors to do once they are on your website? This can help with placing ‘call-to-action’ text such as contact details or purchase options.
4. What areas of your business are you looking to really promote or focus on? The objectives of your business and your content need to be the same. You may have a particular product or service that you know is the most profitable for your business and this is what you want customers to be buying so you will give this a stronger emphasis in your content. This is how you build a hierarchy of information. You don’t have the space to talk about every product and service on every page and your potential customers don’t want to be overloaded with details. Instead, focus on placing the most important and profitable information on the page.
5. Who is your competition? It is important not to get too caught up in comparisons but it is always worth a quick peek at your competitors. A good trick here is to visit a competitors website with the mindset of a potential customer or client. Do you find the content accessible? It is easy to understand or is too technical or assumes too much pre-knowledge? How quickly can you make a purchase or an enquiry? Is the tone of the content clear and informative, does it draw you in or do you quickly get lost or lose interest? This sort of exercise can help to clarify what you want to say and how you want to say it.
Finally, some tips on structuring your content on the page. Think simple, short and succinct. Generally the content on your webpage needs to be about half the length you would produce on a written document. Headers and sub-headers that summarise the content and are meaningful to that page work well and keep the number of ideas on one page down, ideally one per paragraph or use bulleted lists to highlight features of a product or service. Make it easy for your readers to act-upon what they have read and above all, keep your content fresh and up-to-date.
One of the key benefits in writing great content and keeping it up-to-date is the power that it brings when dealing with Search Engine Optimisation. Google and other search engines love fresh, relevant content rich in keywords and related phrases – content is key when it comes to SEO and is much more preferable to graphic-design led search-engine optimisation. It is still important to keep a balance between content rich in keywords and content that engages and informs your users but if you have website that can already be found on Google and is getting traffic, make sure that most of your investment is devoted to content.
Writing for the web is a real skill and an area most clients find really challenging. Whether you need help in planning your content or want someone else to take on the task completely, get in touch with us today.