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 a suspect 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. How do you create content for your business website?
Website writing may be the scariest monster to tame in a website redesign.
We know what you're facing: a website with dozens of outdated service pages, antiquated project reports, never-ending pdfs, Powerpoint presentations that include a long-dead logo, pdfs of meeting minutes and lots of other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. 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.
Rewriting 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 adding longer, thorough, up-to-date, expert, relevant content (including visuals and videos) is the most important part of your website. Your website visitors come to your site with a question. Your content should provide a great answer and add additional value -- giving them additional information that makes them want to learn more about you, return to the site later, and become a customer.
But have no fear. A trustworthy website design company will have on-staff a content expert who can help you wade through your content. Some can companies can help you create a website content strategy, teach you best practices, and address your website content needs.
7 Tips for Writing Website Content:
1. Write for Your Customers
Your web pages should not be a replica of your printed brochure. It needs to be focused on your customers/website users: who they are and what they want – and then you can feed them the content they actually want and need while moving them toward the content that results in a purchase.
Essentially, your website content strategy 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. Start With the Core Content.
The "core content" is the content that is absolutely necessary to your site – about, contact, services/products. OK, this content is essentially 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. Once that's in place and easy to find, you can delve into your deeper pages.
3. Check Your Analytics.
Confession time: in a previous position, analytics used to scare me because it was overwhelming and I didn't have the time to learn it or interpret it. Now at LRS, I've developed a love for analytics. It's an indispensable tool to guide your website content strategy.
Work with an SEO analytics analyst who can help you make sense of how people are using your website. (Ideally, one who already knows your website.) 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. Review your users' time on site, pages visited, and referral sources. What are people searching for on your site? Are they finding answers? Monthly and/or quarterly reports can show you what content you need to add, edit or delete to improve your site's value and trustworthiness.
Understanding what people are reading on your site will help you develop your website content strategy.
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? Don't clutter your website with decades of press releases and annual reports. Cut the old content and keep your website fresh and current. (Caveat - if you have older content that ranks well, keep it.) Google has a limited "crawl budget" for your site. Don't spend it crawling worthless content.
5. Keep a list of keywords to optimize website content.
Keywords are the words or phrases your customers type into a search engine to find you. These are the lifeblood of your website's relevance in the digital world. Use these words to enrich your website content and draw people to your website. Write these naturally into your site’s content. (No keyword stuffing). When you're writing for your website, take time to do some keyword research, even if it's just a simple Google search and looking at Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools.
6. Write for your user, not your CEO.
I know – your company loves industry jargon, company acronyms, and self-aggrandizing press releases. But here’s a secret: Your customers don’t understand them. Don’t use jargon or heavy, 50-cent words in your content. Customers are annoyed when you lavish praise on yourselves. They don't care that you're "proud to announce a new partnership." They want to know you care about their problems. Write as if you are talking to your customers. Write simply and briefly. Keep the content relevant, useful and readable. Short paragraphs are good for short attention spans.
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. Understanding your ideal customer is key to creating content that matches their needs.
Not So Scared Any More?
Now that you have some ideas to optimize your website content, That glow from the computer screen isn’t so scary anymore. You can face that website content like a powerful ghostbuster. Schedule time each month – or even each week - to tackle content improvements.
Need Help With Your Content?
Ask LRS Web Solutions’ Content Strategist to lend a helping hand on analytics, strategy, content writing, editing or basic wordsmithing.