Your Web content is your portal to your customers. It’s how you will build interest in your business, tell them about yourself, and put them on the right path for whatever your end goal is. So when you’re writing it, what should you be keeping in mind? How do you make sure your Web content accomplishes everything that you need it to?
Here are four things to consider when writing Web content. Just a little something to get you started.
The main goal of your content is to attract your customers. That’s whose attention and interest you’re vying for. But just because you’re on the Web in front of a global audience doesn’t mean that EVERYONE has now become your customer. They haven’t. Your customers are only the people in your area who would benefit from the product you sell or the service that you provide. When you write your content, you want to be creating information that will specifically benefit them. In order to do that you.
- Who are your customers?
- Why are they on your site?
- What natural questions will they have?
- What are their needs
- What type of language will they understand?
- What will they respond to?
The more you can get your content to resemble your audience, the better you’ll reach them.
What is the goal of your Web site? Is it to build interest in a product that you’re selling? Is it to become the ultimate resource on lawn care so that when someone needs a landscaper, you’re the person they call? Is it to confuse people about the intricacies of search engine optimization so that they just give up and call you when they need help? However you’re defining the goal or conversion point of your site, you want to create content that will put people on that path. If you’re trying to become a resource then you’ll need to produce lots of beginner and tutorial-type content to help people learn about your subject area. If you’re trying to sell a service then you want to populate your Web site with loads of information about what you do and how you’re different from your competitors. Knowing the goal of the site will help you identify the direction of your content.
The Search Engines
You don’t want to write for the search engines, but you do want to keep them in mind, as most of your customers will use a search engine to find you. They’ll type in the keywords they’re interested in and will rely on Google to tell them who is relevant to their query. That means you want to make the most out of your keywords so that you’re coming up for relevant searches. The search engines will use your keywords to get an idea of what your site is about so that they can display it to users when relevant. For them to get the right picture, you have to be feeding them with lots of hints by using your keywords in smart ways.
Where should you use them?
- In your Title Tag
- Meta Description
- Internal Links
- Alt text
And anywhere else that makes sense on your site!
Many times small business owners “write” their Web content by copying and pasting the print brochures they’ve been handing out for years. On some level, this makes sense. After all, it’s content and you already have it! However, Web reading habits greatly different from print reading habits and this should be reflected in how you put together your site.
Some guidelines for writing Web copy:
- Use bullets or lists (keep lists between 7-10 items long)
- Use links
- Keep lots of white space
- Write in short paragraphs
- Use headers and subheaders
- Use bold and italics
- Write like you speak
Keeping your medium in mind will allow you to create content that “works” for your customer. It doesn’t matter how great or informative your content is if someone landing on your Web site can’t great through it.
Those are the four biggest considerations I keep in mind when writing site content. What works for you?
More in: Content Marketing
Thank you, Lisa,
There’s such a difference between writing copy for brochures, (are they still being used?)and writing punchy copy for a website or blog.
It takes a while to learn how to do it right. I’m still learning.
The Franchise King
I love the questions that you suggest for knowing your customers. I’m constantly surprised by companies that can’t answer those basic questions. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you’re probably not communicating very well.
Nice article Lisa. Leaving white space, and bolding appropriate text makes such a difference. Users don’t read website text the same way they read magazines. They scan through it. Your website needs to accommodate this by bolding/spacing.
Short but very informative. Indeed, knowing your costumers is the most important thing in writing. Love the questions in knowing the costumer. Thanks! Helps alot.
Thanks for this. This is really useful. I’ve been writing for print ever since I can remember and content writing is such an unfamiliar territory for me, but I’m learning. I know that I need to upgrade my skills as the trend is also changing. I have to keep up. =)
Allow me to share with you another useful article on Content Writing that Make a Difference.
One point that i liked was leaving plenty white space.
Dont be scared to use too many paragraphs rather than few large ones.
Thanks for this. This is really useful. I
You always have a hip image in all your posts, too. Adding color to those boring bullets.
Another great write. In your last line you have a typo: “bigges”.
But, on to the good stuff. I think the most important thing to remember here is not to write for the search engines, and break up the text (so as not to read like a book or brochure). Bravo, for reiterating these things and adding some solid SEO principles.
Keep up the good work. As a content writer myself, I appreciate a lot of your posts.
I am still trying to understand the four commandments. Lisa has done it so well on this page.
You have to know your customer and you have to be able to answer to your “why” question as described in Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why.
Lisa: Did you forget “w” in “EVERYONE has “no” become your customer.”?
Thank you Lisa. This is a very useful article.
Nice post, its good to read helpful blogs. Thanks Lisa. More blogs please =) really learning a lot from your posts. =)
I was researching something online today and ran across your article. I like most of what you had to say, but you are badly mistaken about one point. Please take this for what it was meant – not as “throwing you under the bus” but to help you in what you do. What you said about lists is not a good idea at all.
Lists should be severely limited! You will find if you research that human brain cognition studies have empirically proven that short term memory will allow us to recall only the first three items on any list. Occasionally, it will be two, and on rare occasions four. If they are necessarily longer (and I understand that there are reasons) then make sure the most important items are in descending order of importance.
You are far better off taking the time to answer the WIIFM question for your readers – “What’s In It For Me” which you have indicated.
Good luck to you.
Accurate Business Communications, Virginia
Very true. A business’ main goal shouldn’t be geared towards attracting any possible person, but instead anybody who is in need or is attracted to your business’ services. A company’s main goal should really be the impact in which the service and/or product will give to the customers.