by: Daniel Blaho
Planning a website is a long and tedious process. Your content should be the centerpiece in the idealization of your site. So how do you come up with content?
Having solid content projects a positive image to your potential clients and current customers. Writing content for a website can be a daunting task, but not to fear. I'll discuss a few tips and tricks to beef-up your website's verbiage. Writing for the web is not like any other kind of writing. You have to be somewhat conversational, while maintaining professional rhetoric.
Through out your grammar handbook, you don't necessarily need to be a good writer to write content for a website. It is a common myth; most of what is put online is for sales purposes. It is not some grandiose masterpiece that everyone will read for decades to come.
Here are some points that you should consider before writing your website's content.
Why do you do what you do?
More often than not, a company or organization knows what and how they do what they do, but a harder question to answer is why you do what you do. If you focus on that first then it becomes easier to tell your story and develop a unique selling position. I know, that seems like a far-fetched ideal, but it's not. Before you start typing away, develop this idea of "why". Then, your story will be received much easier. It's easy to say, "we sell cars", but if you say, "we care about what you drive, because you do too", then your message will ring true with your constituents.
What are your competitors saying?
You are probably not the only one in your field; if so, good for you - you may stop reading. Dig in deep and do some research on your competition. Then decide how you can improve upon what you market is already doing, but remember to keep it original (google will penalize both sites for any duplicate copy). Once you know what your competitors are doing you should have a good angle to work with.
To truly get a user to read your writing must be thought provoking, and one-of-a-kind. This sounds like a null point because of its simplicity, but it is overlooked way to often.
Who is your audience? Be relevant.
Instead of writing plain, straight-forward, informational content, write something that your users will actually want to read. Include statistics, stories, blogs, pop-culture topics, etc. When doing this, tie it back to your message. Your audience will stop and take note of what you are trying to convey. Then put your more lengthy informational content in some sort of media (videos, graphics, PDFs etc.).
Format your content.
Instead of using big block paragraphs, change it up! Leverage lists, fonts, colors, etc. This makes it way easier on the eye. Keep your paragraphs short, concise and to the point. See, look how short this paragraph is!
Make your call to action prominent.
Most people know exactly what they are looking for when they go to a site. Give the user something to do right when they get to your site. Use phrases like "get started", "learn more", "contact us" when you want then to do something, and make it visually noticeable.
Put the solution to their problem at the top of the page.
I know, I'm breaking this rule, but I have a lot of solutions here! Don't make the user dig for what they are looking for. If you know that there is a common problem that your product/service resolves, then put the answer that they are looking for in big bold letters at the top of the page.
95% of people make up statistics.
Okay, so I made that up. Be sure to use statistics and quotes where applicable, but always state your source. This will add immeasurable credibility to your website. Be careful with your quotes and summaries. Be sure to keep it accurate and concise or you may inadvertently lose some credibility.
Proofread and revise your content.
The last thing that you want is for one of your main pages to have grammatical errors, but it happens. Luckily with the web, you can update verbiage instantaneously. Make it a point to revisit your most viewed pages at least once a month to see what you may update and tweak in order to get your point across.