It’s a dark and stormy night.
You’re sitting at your desk, faced with a monumental task … and a blank computer screen – the glow of the monitor illuminating your face like you’re under police interrogation.
Your face begins to sweat… Your skin begins to crawl… the room’s silence is scarier than a scream.
What could be this monstrous task that sparks terror in the hearts and minds of marketers, IT and business professionals everywhere? What is it? it’s coming … from inside … the computer . . . .
it’s … writing your website’s content.
You’re facing a website with dozens of outdated service pages, antiquated project reports, never-ending pdfs, maybe a Powerpoint presentations that include a long-dead logo, pdfs of meeting minutes and lots of other obsolete information. Your task: to clean up endless pages of detailed services, staff bios, events, news and more. And you know that the updated content must be easy to read and SEO-friendly. It’s a project more daunting than spending the night in a haunted house.
Updating website content is an easy task to delay, assign to an intern or just put it on the bottom of the “to do” pile.
But website content -- longer, thorough, recent, expert content that adds value to your user -- including visuals and videos -- is the most important part of your website.
But have no fear. A trustworthy website design company will have on-staff a content expert who can help you wade through your content.
1. Think of your website goals
What do you want your users to do? Your website cannot just be a replica of your printed brochure. It needs to be focused on your audience: who they are and what they want – and then you can feed them the content they actually want and need.
Essentially your website should be mapped for the stages of the customer lifecycle: Brand Awareness, Consideration and Decision, and Loyalty. Each piece of content needs to have a purpose to guide your user/customer through their journey with your business. Relevant, useful and enjoyable content will convert visitors into repeat visitors who will become leads and who then will purchase your product or service.
2. Not sure where to begin? Start with the core content.
This is the content that is absolutely necessary to your site – about, contact, services/products. OK, It’s your brochure. But this is just the starting point, the familiar information people expect on a site. It’s the bare bones of your website. Time to put the meat on the bones.
3. Check your analytics to check the life of your site.
What are the most popular pages? Do those pages match your business goals? Add those in and make sure they are optimized with keywords, headers, meta information and a call to action. Check out the user’s time on site, pages visited and referral sources.
4. Slash outdated and least popular content.
What are the fewest views pages? Do you really need them? Can they be improved, or can the content fold into another page?
5. Keep a list of keywords as your defense.
Keywords are the words or phrases your customers type into a search engine to find you. These words will help you focus your content on what will bring people to your website. Write them naturally into your site’s content. (No keyword stuffing).
6. Write for your user, not your boss.
I know – your company loves industry jargon and company acronyms. But here’s a secret: Your customers don’t understand them – and are annoyed by them. So don’t use jargon or heavy, 50-cent words in your content. Write as if you are talking to your customers and then write simply and briefly. Keep the content relevant, useful and readable. Short paragraphs – even one sentence -- are OK.
7. Create customer personas.
Maybe you think you can shrug off this step, saying you know who they are. But trust me—you will forget as you write and update your content. Understanding your ideal customer is key to creating content that matches their needs.
Now that you have some ideas to optimize your content, you can face that website content like a powerful ghostbuster. That glow from the computer screen isn’t so scary anymore. Schedule time each month – or even each week - to tackle content improvements.
Ask LRS Web Solutions’ Content Strategist to lend a helping hand on analytics, strategy, content writing, editing or basic wordsmithing.
Download this list! (PDF)
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