7 Guides for Writing Powerful Web Content
Published on May 21, 2012, by Emily Golightly
Before visitors to your website call to make an appointment or add a product into their shopping cart, they will most likely look around your site and read through the content on your pages to learn more about your company. They will get a sense for what you have to offer and estimate the quality of your service. Most internet users will only spend between 20-30 seconds on a page when they are looking to buy a product or find a service.
So it goes without saying: first impressions are important.This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have banners, buttons, and bright colors bedecking your homepage, but it does mean that whatever content you have should engage your customer’s attention enough to prompt them to take the next action towards a conversion. By employing the right content your website can become more successful– even without videos, animations, or neat photographs. Don’t get me wrong, these elements will certainly help your page look more professional, but much of your website’s success will be determined by the quality of your
written content. The right words can do wonders for your site.
This post will explore a few ways you can successfully write your website’s content (homepages, FAQs, About Us pages, etc.) to be powerful and effective– in the eyes of both visitors and search engines.
So the question is: What makes great content?
- Contains keywords– but not an overload of them. Search engines look at your keywords and keyword densities not only as they are found in links on the web, but also in the text on your actual website. The best written content on the web integrates keywords seamlessly into informative, easy-to-read blocks of text.
- Speaks to customers. When you write content for your website, you are writing for human eyes. While search engines will probably read what you post more often than humans will, search engines will not be making purchases from your website or calling your office. Think of your typical customer. What are their concerns and their problems? What do they want to know about your product that you could tell them? As much as possible, write in the same way as you would speak during your best conversation over the phone with a customer.
- Establishes a consistent and appropriate tone. One of the reasons computers cannot speak like humans can is because of the nuances of human tones. Even when in writing, we impart a sense of who we are to our audience. Your opportunity to begin building a rapport with your visitors begins as soon as they visit your page. Keep your tone consistent with the product you want to sell. For example, does your product or service require a more professional tone (such as a third person “Hansen and Co. has been in business since 1994) or do you want to be able to be casual (“I’ve been crocheting my own bags for five years now,” is written in a more informal first person). This will depend partly on the nature of your product and partly on your own personality and the personality of your company.
- Is informed by expertise: One of the biggest advantages you have when you write your own content is that you are an expert in your particular good or service (If you’re not the expert, start becoming one). You know your products and services inside and out and can provide your reader with information that will help them make the best choice for their needs. Share what you know. Now, this does not mean that you should overdo it and flood listening ears with too much of your expertise. Always remember to sell the benefits, not the features, of your items and services. If you talk above reader’s heads and are either overly specific or overly vague, you may lose a reader’s interest. They will leave your site to look elsewhere, which is not what you want. This is one of the reasons why the best content…
- Is easy to read and easy to understand. Good content “slips” down the page and does not require that the reader put too much effort into reading. The eyes and mind do not trip over too many typos, weird wordings, or unclear meanings. Pictures are painted by the words. The flow of ideas is logical and non-problematic. When you have a draft for a good portion of your text, have some honest friends read aloud over what you’ve written. Pay attention to how they read and ask them if they can understand what it is trying to say. If they stumble over words or stop multiple times during reading, you might want to revise your content.
- Is updated as necessary. Be prompt in posting new information, especially if you tell people you are posting it. If you have a blog, post frequently and consistently. This is something that is not only important to customers, but to search engines as well. If you have a new product, make sure to include a new product description at the same time you add the product so people don’t have to guess about it. Making sure your website is updated demonstrates that your company takes a high level of care, attention, and dedication towards its online presence. It suggests that your company will take the same level of care when handling a customer order.
- Is open to conversation. Many people aren’t just looking for a product; they are constantly looking out for resources and communities that they can trust, that are consistent, and that they will be able to recommend to their friends. Good content will make visitors to the site feel like they can ask questions, make requests, and get recommendations. This is why company blogs have been so successful– the presence of a “comments” section is an excellent way for businesses to get feedback and customers to be part of the conversation– all in one place. Love your customers, and chances are they will love you back.
Whether you write your own content or outsource it, make sure that you are always sincere, helpful, and honest (your mom asked me to say that).
Your website can become be a field of dreams ripe and ready to harvest. If you build it –and build it right– they will come! Good luck writing!
Emily Golightly has been a copywriter and editor with Boostability for nine months. Before working at Boostability, she graduated with a degree in English from BYU, and she enjoys promoting the use of good grammar. In her spare time, Emily loves to read, write, paint, and play music. Someday, she hopes to become more proficient in managing her own blog, mebackwards.blogspot.com.
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