While you might not see yourself as a natural-born writer, there’s nothing stopping you from creating compelling website content that puts your company on the map.
At its best, great website content can inform, entertain, delight, and most importantly, sell your product or service.
The best content is written with three things: a plan, a purpose, and a point of view. In this article, I’ll introduce you to tips that will help you write with all three.
1. Always plan for SEO
For most websites, search engines (primarily Google) will be how new eyeballs discover your content. Unfortunately, this means that to some extent, you need to write for the Google algorithm, as well as for your readers.
You can turn this into an advantage, though. By conducting a little keyword research before you start writing your content, you can learn what kind of topics to cover, what terms users are searching for, and ultimately make your content more useful for readers.
Before you go plowing in to write, consider following these steps:
- Conduct keyword research around the topics you want to cover
- See what high-ranking content others have produced on the topic
- Identify less competitive keywords where you might be able to create some niche content
- Plan how to make each page optimized for search
Zyro has easy-to-use tools that will help you plan and execute effective SEO, including integration with Google Analytics.
2. Identify each page’s purpose
Not all web pages are created equal. While some are designed as click-through pages for signposting users to other content, others will try to collect user information for marketing, and still others will try to close deals.
The purpose of your page is going to decide its structure, and how you lay out its content.
For instance, if you’re designing a landing page aimed at making a sale, your focus will be on providing compelling details about your product or service, and your page will prominently feature calls to action (CTAs).
On the other hand, if a page is designed to give users contact information for your company, you’ll design the page a lot simpler, with few distractions.
This is a key element of your planning process.
3. Write on topics you can add to
Once you’ve done your research, you should be able to identify gaps in the generally available content which you can fill. In other words, you’ll be able to identify content topics that you can add value to.
The reason you should start with thinking about SEO is that it tells you what users want to know. You can then plan your content around answering their queries.
The most eye-catching and attractive content is that which offers information or a point of view that users can’t find anywhere else.
Obviously, if you’re writing sales copy, the topic of your content will be around your own company, but even so, you should do your best to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
4. Write for your intended audience
Ideally, your company should already have a set of tone and voice guidelines that it applies to all website copy and marketing messaging. This is not what you’re saying, but how you’re saying it.
At the core of any tone and voice planning is an understanding of who your audience is, and what kind of voice will resonate most with them.
- What demographic is interested in your business?
- How familiar are they with your product or service?
- What level of technical language will they understand?
- Will everyone have a good grasp of English (or the language you’re writing in)?
Even if the answers are vague and your audience broad, this exercise will help work out how your brand should speak.
5. Structure your content logically
When you’re writing anything, your aim is to carry the mind of the reader in the direction you want to take them.
With web content, you can help guide your readers both with your words and by carefully laying out your content in such a way that they click the right links and buy the right products.
To structure your content in the most effective way, you should:
- Choosing a headline that clearly establishes the focus of your content
- Including the most important information in the introduction or high on the page
- Using subheadings to identify new ideas and split up the content
- Move from one topic to another in a logical manner
- Make more information easy to find
- Add links and CTAs in appropriate places to lead readers in new directions
- Keep paragraphs short and easy to read on mobile devices
Remember, each page on your website should have its own purpose and focus. the topic gets too broad, start a new page.
6. Be clear and clean in your copy
Remember, you’re trying to share your company’s message with readers at all times, which means that the way you write needs to clearly communicate that message.
As well as having a clear tone and voice, your copy should be easy to read and comprehend. Every time a visitor has to reread a sentence or goes away having not understood what you’re saying, you may have lost a potential customer.
The only way you’ll really get good at writing clear, clean copy is by practicing, but there are also a number of best practices that you can keep in mind to help:
- Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Try and only explore one idea per paragraph.
- Use common words. Be sure to use language that your readers are likely to be familiar with.
- Keep your ideas straightforward. If you’re trying to explain something complicated, break it up into its constituent parts.
- Break up your copy. Look, I’m using a bullet-pointed list to share a list of ideas. See how it visually and mentally breaks up the copy?
- Assume nothing. It’s best to treat your readers like they know nothing about a topic, rather than assume they know something they don’t.
7. Think visually
Mostly in this post, I’ve focused on the written content you’re creating for your website, but don’t lose sight of the fact that your visitor’s experience of your website is largely visual.
This means that creating suitable images, videos, charts, or other visual content is just as important as the words you write on the page.
Your images should not just be stock photos but should add some value to your piece. Everything on the page should match with the rest of the content, so the reader can easily make sense of what they’re looking at.
8. Create an editing process
Take it from someone who had written literally millions of words of website content over the years: even the most careful writers make mistakes.
When you’re writing content for your website, it’s pretty much inevitable that at some point you’ll miss a typo or put a word out of place. This is where an editing process comes in handy.
Getting a second (or third) set of eyes on your content is a must to make sure it’s high quality. Ask someone you trust to proofread everything you write.
If you’ve got the resources, it’s helpful to have two review stages: one for proofreading the copy when it’s ready, and another for checking your page is correctly formatted and ready to publish.