Writing Compelling Website Content for People (then Search Engines)
When I speak to a client about their website one of the things that inevitably crops up is website content. Usually there is a real question mark here. Where does the content come from? (asks the client) from you (I explain). Website content is important, good quality website content is crucial. What I mean by this is informative, well written copy that viewers will find useful and informative will turn them from a casual viewer into potential customers and finally a customer. And be picked up by the Search Engines (namely Google). It has to be remembered when writing website content - people first then search engines. Never write with the focus on the search engine, stuffing copy with keywords - this rarely reads well to the human eye.
The Best Person to Write the Content is...You
When I initially talk to a client I try to glean as much information as possible regarding their business, however when it come down to knowing your business and what you want to achieve with the website there is only one person in the best position for this...YOU. You know your business, you know what your customers want, you know your unique selling point(s), you know what you want to sell and how to do it.
I don’t know your business like you do.
Writing any content is daunting to many clients and I’m sure sounds like homework from the school teacher. Understandable. But is, none the less, so important.
Become the Customer
On top of this I often find myself saying 'put yourself in your customers shoes'. What would a potential customer be searching for in Google, what keywords, phrases would they use. By all means include these keywords and phrases but sparingly. Don't stuff copy with them, this looks like spam to the search engine. Write in an informative manner almost conversational, if you like. Or think of it another way. What solutions are you providing to the customers questions. These keywords, phrases, solutions should of course appear in the website but in a natural way. This is basic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and an important part of the SEO jigsaw. Google is all about helping provide solutions to queries, you should be as well.
Update Website Content
Website content should never remain static. Content should always be updated. Google loves websites that are continually updated. This is why blogs are so popular. A blog that is continually updated with useful and informative information will keep people/customers coming back to your site and help raise your profile within the Google search. If a customer likes what they’re reading they will return for more.
A website built within a good content managed system, like WordPress, allows for easy content updates with new and useful articles.
As mentioned above a blog is an ideal way to continually update a website with useful information calculated to keep readers returning to your website. A blog is part of the website that is basically an online journal. Blog articles can be about anything but if written with the customer in mind will, overtiem, become a great updated resource of information. I encourage clients to start blogging, on a regular basis, as this continual fresh content will help with serach engine optimisation. More information on blogging can be found here.
- Never focus on the search engine when writing copy. Stuffing content with keywords and repeating phrases over and over again is no go. Write in a natural way calculated to be informative and engaging.
- Understand and identify with who you are speaking to. This will help provide clarity as you write the copy.
- Avoid going on and on about how wonderful your business is. Instead, provide evidence or results. Use language that is familiar to your target audience, not industry-specific terminology.
- Answer their problems by explaining your product or service as a solution. Provide clear benefits in easy-to-read bullets instead of long-winded paragraphs. Making your content user-centered meets users’ needs helps the customer identify with your content.
- With so many people viewing on mobile devices forcing them to scroll through endless paragraphs is a bad idea.
- For those of you who know the importance of writing your copy for SEO, don’t become too obsessed with littering your key search terms in the copy so many times that the content becomes unreadable. By naturally including your keywords and terms throughout the copy on the site, you ensure genuinely informative yet readable text.
- Think about headers. Important information should be contained within headers and be nearer the top of the page. Remember headers help section pages and break up longer paragraphs.
- Break up the copy with some eyecatching graphics (thats maybe where I come in!)
- Might be worth considering video content. It's now widely accepted video content will be favourable looked upon by Google in 2016.