A well developed website is as good as an extra employee. A lot of thought needs to go into its design and content.
Let’s just consider website content in this article.
What is content?
Content encompasses all the text and multimedia on a site. In simple terms this means all the words, images, infographics, videos and podcasts, in fact anything you can see, read or hear on a website. There is an estimated Ideal Length for all types of Content.
Content includes legal, policy and translation.
The purpose of this content is to enhance the user experience and to drive your website towards achieving your business goals.
Content is the reason your visitor will come back to your website.
Understand your Visitor
Understanding your visitor is singularly the most important step you can take towards developing or expanding your brand online.
You need to know what visitors are going to come to your website for and what you can provide to solve whatever problem they may have. So if they are looking for a product show it to them, tell them what it can do for them and maybe compare it to its market competitors. Show reviews and testimonials and demonstrate that you and your products are respected and valued.
Who are your Visitors?
Who are your site visitors?
Your most important visitors are your potential customers and readers.
Search engines like Google and Bing are also visitors to your site but you should write primarily for your human readers. Use keywords and key phrases enough that the search engines recognise that you are writing about the topic but not so much that your reader notices.
You can accommodate search engines by following SEO tips with regard to keyword density and identifying images,
Assuming that you know why your visitors come to your website you need to develop content that will add value to it.
Keyword research will show you what is of interest to visitors and what terms they are using to search the Internet and look for products like yours. This will indicate what you should write about.
Where do you get your content?
Your website is not a dumping ground for old brochures and copy/paste of old documents describing your offering. You have to write for the web rather than using print copy. We interact and read websites in a different way than we read print material. We read print in a linear fashion but we use websites by skimming and scanning pages in an ‘F’ format looking down along the left side and across the top of a website.
We hop from headline to headline looking for something to satisfy meet our mission goals.
There is no other way around it for you, you have to work on producing your own content. Brainstorming and asking/surveying potential users what they are looking for is a good way to decide what you need to write about.
So make a list and move on to actually doing some writing,
Writing website content is easy if you know what you are talking about! Research your topic, write, proofread it, rewrite and you have an article in draft mode already.
You are the best person to write the content for your website, you know your business and your customer. Maybe you do not like writing? Well if this is the case dictate what you want to say and pass it on to whoever is developing your website. The technicalities of keyword density, font size and format of the text is their job.
Website Content – Some General Tips
When writing articles write about the broader topic first then get more specific as you proceeds. This is the Inverted Pyramid in Cyberspace style of writing for the web.
Do not be tempted to keep what you think the person wants to read until last as they are unlikely to still be on the page.
Our fingers constantly hover over the Back button on our browsers and we leave at the first indication of boredom.
Here are the tips I have for you after doing my research, writing, proofreading and rewriting.
Must haves on your website
The website content you produce depends on your business, however the following are must-haves for any site:
- Make it clear what your website is about on the homepage
- Tell you visitor who you are in an About Us page
- Make it easy for visitors to contact you, contact information should be on every page of your site
The Words and Style
You need to write in a simple clear style in a language people understand.
“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.”
― Stephen King
- One idea per paragraph
- Use bullet points rather than paragraphs and keep them short
- Stay focused and on topic
- Go easy on the marketing jargon
- Try to make it personal by including your opinion and adding value
There are standards and guideline available that make it easier for you to develop and plan your web design and content. Here are some general principles you should adhere to:
- Keep your pages to less than 50kb, and that includes images. Divide your topic into subsections if they are bigger than that, give subsections a page of their own and link to them.
- Interlink the pages on your site. Pages without links are totally boring.
- Only use images if they are relevant and not just to decorate your text.
- Highlight keywords and hyperlink to other content on your site or other websites.
- Make a word or series of words link to new content rather than saying things like ‘Please click here to go to whatever’.
- Make content large enough to see! That might seem an obvious thing to say but a lot of sites use text that is too small and too light in colour. Make text at least 16 pixels and use a good contrast between text and background colours.
- Validate your html to allow all web browsers to render (show) your site the way you want users to see it.
- Make sure your site is accessible. Use Guidelines to help you.
- Manage your content. A content management system (CMS) like WordPress allows you to easily draft, change, archive and delete content.
Your website user should be at the centre of your content development process at all times.
- Use a good navigation system to allow your visitor to move around your website reading bits from different pages
- Remember that people skim pages rather than reading them. Make them skimmable!
- Headings and subheadings are important. Make them meaningful and do not try to be too clever
- Make text dynamic by including an opportunity for your visitor to interact with you. Ask for their opinion on an on page survey or for a contribution of some sort. An easy way to do this is to ask them to comment in the comments section of your blog. Leaving the comments section enabled on your blog is a good way to get new content and opinions on your website.
- Use call to action buttons like ‘Download our Report’, ‘Read More’ or ‘Buy Now’ to direct your user to achieve their goal on your site.
Content on a website needs to be fresh giving the visitor a sense that you are present and that your website is kept up to date. Put a content schedule in place. Plan your content taking major events, holidays and seasons into account. This will help you connect with your customers and maintain relevance in their lives. Decide what you are going to write, when you are going to do it and why. This will help you collect images to support your text and list keywords to support your SEO efforts.
Planning how you manage content will prevent your website from being difficult to navigate and from looking out of date. Articles or Blog posts you write may need to be archived or updated for different reasons. Put a process in place to guide you with regard to concept, publishing, archiving and possibly deleting information.
Using your Content
Use your website content as part of your Social Media Strategy to drive traffic to your website. You can link blog posts from Twitter and Facebook, upload them to Tumblr, pin Infographics to Pinterest and upload photos to Instagram. There’s an Infographic I made to display some if the content in this article at the end of the page..
I hope you found this article useful. Please give me a comment or a like if you did.