How To Write Website Content: Top 20 Do’s And Don’ts
If you’re in the process of creating a website, one of your top priorities is to write attractive and compelling content for your site. If this is the first time (or second or third – it takes a while to learn the skill of quality content writing!) you might be a bit unsure of what you should and should not be writing. Successful website content appeals to both your internet viewers and search engines, but catering to both can be intimidating.
Don’t panic! We’ve compiled the top 20 do’s and don’ts to show you how to write website content that enhances the appearance, readability, and SEO effectiveness of your new site. Follow these tips when you’re composing and compiling your website content and you’ll be able to reap the rewards of quality content writing when your new site is live!
20 Quality Content Writing Tips For Web Pages
- Please, please, please, DON’T plagiarize.
Copying content from other sites, no matter how tempting, will result in your site getting penalized, or even removed, from search engines. Maintain your copy/pasting self-control and just spend a few extra minutes coming up with your own original content. After all, your company is original, right? It deserves original content.
TOP DUPLICATE CONTENT CHECKERS
Make sure your content is original
- Don’t use run-on sentences.
Short and sweet appeals to both humans and search engines and you’ll be rewarded. If you have a lot to say, make sure to break it up into easily scannable chunks.
- Don’t write content that is too complicated.
It might make you feel smarter to use 4 syllable words 18 times in a paragraph, but most people won’t appreciate your language prowess. Keep the text understandable to the average person.
- Don’t write long walls of text.
If possible, try to keep paragraph length to 80 words or 4-5 lines. Bullet points, lists and visuals can help break up the text and make it more skim-friendly.
- Don’t repeat yourself ad nauseam.
Your site visitors are coming to learn about the subject your website covers, and they don’t want to have the same concepts or keywords bombarding them when they want to learn something new.
- Don’t oversell your product or service.
Quality content writing involves a careful balance of promotional and non-promotional content. Sure, the website’s purpose is to promote what you’re offering, but that doesn’t mean you should bombard readers with invitations to buy or sign up. Provide them with valuable, informative content that they can appreciate before asking them if they’re interested in becoming a consumer.
- Don’t forget your target audience.
You might know a lot about the topics your website content covers, but you need to keep in mind that your customers might be far less informed. Make sure to write content that meets your site visitors at their level.
5 simple steps to create effective personas
- Don’t use images that you don’t have a legal right to use.
Finding random images on the internet and sticking them up on your site without permission or purchase can result in you getting sued. So unless getting hit with a lawsuit sounds fun to you, don’t use images that aren’t yours.
- Don’t use bad anchor text.
If you want your website viewers to click on a link in your content, don’t just insert a link with the text “Click here!”. Be creative and use anchor text that is descriptive and inviting.
- DON’T PLAGIARIZE!
Write your own content and avoid seeing your website tank because you couldn’t take the time to be original. Use a duplicate content checker tool to make sure your content is original.
- Know what the goal is for each page.
Do you want a customer to purchase a product on a specific web page? Then make sure the content on that page is written to helpfully point them in the right direction and convince them the product is worth buying.
- Use Calls-To-Action (CTAs).
A CTA is an inviting button, link, image, or some other sort of graphic that encourages a site visitor to become a participant or customer. If you write great content but don’t have a call-to-action, your content will be far less effective at converting visitors to consumers.
- Use an outline.
Or at the very least have a strong, organized idea as to what you’ll be writing for each web page.
- Sound like a human!
No one likes content that sounds like it was copied from a dictionary or narrated by a robot. Be down-to-earth and friendly, as much as your style allows. Your site visitors will appreciate the personal connection with you and be more likely to engage with your calls-to-action.
- Use bullet points, numbered lists, headers, etc.
These will help break up the text and make it look more interesting and readable.
CONTENT WRITING TOOLS
6 writing tools you should use
- Provide the answers your target market needs.
How can your services or products help a consumer? Why are they the best on the market? How can a visitor find exactly the item or information they’re looking for? You’re the expert so your website visitors expect to find some answers!
- Make sure your paragraphs are organized.
There should only be one idea per paragraph. Each paragraph should start off with the subject, and then stick to that subject without rambling or providing unnecessary information.
- Make sure the content on your web pages can be scanned quickly.
While still getting the message across. Display important information first and prominently. Most site visitors only take a few seconds before leaving a page, so you want to make sure they see what they’re looking for without feeling like they have to read everything.
- Once you’ve written a page of content, review it.
Look for any errors or missing information you want to correct. Better still, read the page content out loud, a practice that will help you assess if the text sounds the way you wish and if there are any mistakes that your brain keeps missing.
- Meet the content deadlines!
In order for content and web design to blend cohesively, it’s always good to make sure your web design team knows what type of content you’re providing. Providing your content punctually means your website will look better and be launched in a timely manner.
A Beginner’s Guide to Content Strategy for the Web: 10 Things You Need to Know
Content strategy is a relatively new niche discipline in the digital space. It shares common ground with user experience (UX), interface design, web development, SEO, content marketing, public relations and traditional “offline” marketing.
This article highlights some of the leading concepts of content strategy for the web, how it fits in with its neighbouring disciplines, and shares some practical guidelines that anyone in the digital space – especially those new to content strategy – should consider before embarking on their own content strategy.
These findings were inspired by industry experts who presented at the Content Strategy Forum 2012 in Cape Town.
Below are 10 things you need to know to meet a content strategy’s ultimate goal of (1) fulfilling users’ expectations and (2) meeting business objectives.
- Content strategy requires teamwork
We’ve all heard the maxim “content is king” over and over. But content alone cannot bring a digital project to life. Content has to work closely with its peer-disciplines.
According to Kristina Halvorson, CEO of BrainTraffic and founder of ConFab, teamwork is essential when it comes to content strategy. The peer-disciplines that should crucially be consulted during the content strategy phase are:
- User Experience
- Information Architecture
- Search Engine Optimization
- Public Relations and Brand Building
- Business stakeholders
As with most things in life, this egalitarian approach can lead to the “too many cooks” problem.
Rachel Lovinger from Razorfish described how their digital agency addresses this problem: “For digital projects, we first assemble a ‘CRUX team.’ We assign one, or more, senior person from Creative and one, or more, senior person from UX. They work with the Strategy group to lay the foundation for the overall digital concept, including the content strategy. Once that’s defined, we broaden our focus and bring on specialists from various peer-disciplines.”
Whether you’re a large or small team, it is essential that a holistic view of content creation and implementation is taken.
Bottom line: Good content strategy requires team effort from all peer-disciplines.
- Consider content AND the people that create your content
As mentioned, the main objective of an effective content strategy is to meet users’ expectations and fulfil business goals.
Halvorson, co-author of Content Strategy for the Web and one of the web’s first content strategists, developed a framework that not only focuses on the actual content, but also the people that create the content.
Her belief is that by keeping the workflow and governance factors in mind when developing a content strategy, we can deliver more useful and more usable content to online audiences, whilst meeting business objectives.
Halvorson’s content strategy framework “The Quad” includes Content Components and People Components.
- Substance – topics, tone, style, what message we need to communicate
- Structure – how we prioritize and break up the content into building blocks
- Workflow – the process, tools and resources we need to create and maintain content
- Governance – consistency, integrity and quality of the content
Bottom line: Considering content AND the people that create the content will help in meeting users’ expectations and achieving business objectives.
- Match your writing to your audience’s literacy level
Angela Colter from Electronic Ink did a series of user tests with people of varying literacy levels. The results of her research shows that users with low literacy levels struggle to complete basic tasks on websites that have content written for people with high literacy levels.
When using websites that require a low literacy level, lower literacy users completed their tasks faster and with less frustration. That seems fairly obvious, right?
One incidental discovery from this research, however, was that users with high literacy levels also scored much better when the language on the website was of a lower level.
Bottom line: Keep your language simple and clear. Your low and high literacy users will thank you for it.
- The Five W’s (and H) of content marketing strategy
Anyone schooled in journalism will be familiar with the Five W’s and H of journalism: Who, What, Why, When, Where and How.
Purists argue that a story isn’t complete unless all six questions are answered. It’s certainly valid in a journalism sense, since omission of any of these questions will leave a hole in your story.
So how does this relate to content strategy for the web? Rick Yagodich of Think Info has reshuffled the sequence of the Five W’s (and H) to provide a checklist that online content strategists can use to ensure their content strategy is watertight:
- Why – Know the business case and objectives. Why are you embarking on this project?
- What – What is the message?
- Who – Who is the audience?
- Where – Where will the message be read (location, device, context)?
- How – How should we present/structure the content?
- When – Timing of the process to create and publish the content.
Bottom line: The Five W’s (and H) provide a checklist to ensure your content strategy covers all bases.
- Voice and tone matter
Voice and tone are extremely powerful “front line” tools in the content strategist’s toolkit.
A brand’s voice reflects its personality and identity. It should be consistent across all content. Tone on the other hand, can, and should, adapt according to the context of the content.
According to Kate Kiefer Lee, content curator at MailChimp, a brand’s tone should vary depending on the emotional state of readers. For example, humour on a welcome page can build likability and loyalty. But in a warning message, it can result in exactly the opposite.
MailChimp is so passionate about voice and tone that they have created a website called www.voiceandtone.com. The website shows their writers how to use the MailChimp voice for the brand’s various content types (blog posts, tweets, “compliance alert messages” and even their mascot’s jokes). It’s a great resource for their team and very useful for anyone who wants to create a voice and tone guide for their own brand.
1000 points to you, MailChimp. Oook oook.
MailChimp’s voice is consistent, while its tone varies according to the user’s emotions in different contexts.
Bottom line: Creating a style guide that defines your brand’s voice and tone will enhance your users’ experience and strengthen your brand image.
- SEO is not dead
With recent Google algorithm updates like Panda and Penguin, people from various digital genres have been claiming that SEO is dead. The general consensus is that it’s getting harder and harder to game your way to the top of page 1.
This is mostly true. Google has managed to mitigate, penalize and in some cases even blacklist websites that implement “Black Hat” SEO tactics. Techniques like “hidden text” (white text on white background), “cloaking” (showing different content to Googlebot vs. real users) and “link spam” (buying hundreds of links from low-quality websites) all used to work, to some extent. Not so much anymore.
So does this all mean that SEO is dead? “Unfortunately, I can’t say that Black Hat SEO is dead or even dying.” says Jonathon Colman, in-house SEO for REI, an online retailer of outdoor clothing and gear. “Perhaps a better way of putting it is that White Hat SEO and inbound marketing – genuinely earning attention and positive recognition by helping users to meet their goals (both online and off) – is rewarded more than ever by search engines nowadays.”
He goes on to say that “SEO is, or should be, a core part of every content strategy. Content strategists are well-positioned not only to govern content so that it follows webmaster guidelines from the search engines, but also to plan and create content that builds brands instead of just using keywords.”
It is more important than ever to follow Google’s quality guidelines for success in the search results, and to avoid any known SEO tricks. Google even provides a checklist of SEO tactics to avoid.
Bottom line: Every content strategy needs to incorporate SEO best practice to be effective; every SEO needs to embrace SEO content marketing in order to remain on Google’s good list.
- Break your content into chunks
When it comes to implementing content into a content management system (CMS), it is vital to break large pieces of content into smaller “chunks.”
For any given piece of content, if your CMS only has a single massive WYSIWYG field to enter content into, it would be very difficult to separate that content out into smaller pieces later on, should the need arise.
The right approach, according to Lovinger, is to get your web developers (or whoever is responsible for setting up the CMS) to have separate fields for the chunks that make up your content piece.
By breaking your content into chunks, it can flow into different presentations and be used in flexible ways.
- The desktop version of a web page might show all “chunks” – e.g. the headline, summary, 4 x images, a video, 800 words of copy, 3 quotations, a few reviews, a list of recommended further reading and a “book now” button.
- Whereas the mobile version of that same web page might only have room on the tiny screen for the most important (or mobile-relevant) “chunks” – e.g. the headline, summary, 1 x image, 200 words of copy and a “book now” button.
- Many mobile sites only display a portion of the content that their desktop counterparts display.
Bottom line: Structure content into its smallest building blocks in your CMS so that content can be re-assembled flexibly for use in different contexts and on different devices.
- Get your developers to wrap your content in metadata
Metadata, in a web development context, is a set of programming guidelines that web developers can use to help search engines (and other applications) better understand content on a webpage.
For example, if you were to write on your blog that you refuse to buy apples, you could use metadata to tell search engines whether you’re talking about <fruit>apples</fruit> or <computer>apples</computer>.
(Please note that neither <fruit> nor <computer> are valid metadata formats. I’ve just used them to illustrate the point.)
Here is a valid metadata example however:
The difference in HTML markup for the movie “Ice Age 2”, without and with metadata using the microdata format.
So in the above example, Google (or any application that is able to read metadata), can identify that “Ice Age 2” refers to a movie (not the actual second ice age). So, if someone searches for “Ice Age 2” in a search engine, the search engine could display additional information about the movie in the search results (e.g. the movie poster, the trailer, reviews, actors, etc), as seen in Google Knowledge Graph results. Google and Yahoo! have been doing this for a while already and we can be sure that they’ll be expanding this technology into all spheres of life, for all sorts of search terms.
Metadata enables search engines like Google and Yahoo! to fetch rich content relating to a search query.
Bruce Lawson is a web standards evangelist for Opera Software and a major pusher for the adoption of metadata. He points out that, although there are quite a few different metadata standards that have emerged over the years, he recommends microdata as the standard to choose, primarily because it has the backing of all the big search engine adoption (Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Yandex).
So why should online content strategists be concerned with metadata, when it sounds like something developers get excited about?
- Metadata can help your content stand out from the crowd in the search results.
- Metadata can give more meaning to your content if viewed in unexpected contexts (e.g. TripAdvisor reviews that appear on other websites).
- Metadata can give more meaning to your content if viewed on different devices (e.g. mobile, tablet, TV, etc).
Bottom line: Get your developers to wrap your content with metadata to achieve a greater visibility in search results and a richer user experience when browsing.
- Get your developers to embrace web standards (and HTML5)
Web standards are a set of standardized best practices that developers can, and should, use when building websites. The standards have been written by a group consisting of all major browser manufacturers and the big search engines.
To help non-developers understand web standards, we can think about newspapers: the front page of a newspaper is typically reserved for breaking news, the back page is typically reserved for sports news. There is no law or governing body that says it has to be this way. Rather, it is a commonly accepted convention amongst newspaper publishers, and something that newspaper readers have become accustomed to.
The main reasons for getting your developers to build websites with web standards are so that the content on our websites:
- Displays consistently across all browsers (old and new, desktop and mobile)
- Can be thoroughly crawled and indexed by search engines (resulting in better rankings)
- Can take advantage of the new features that are being introduced into the web’s most comprehensive web standard, HTLM5
HTML5 is effectively a superset of web standards. It incorporates many new features like <video>, <audio> and <canvas> elements, as well as the integration of scalable vector graphics (SVG) content (images that can scale beautifully no matter what the browsing device’s screen size is).
There are dozens of HTML5 features which will enrich users’ experience in the years to come. If your developers aren’t talking about HTML5 already, it’s time to buy them a t-shirt.
Bottom line: Web standards and HTML5 are important for better visibility in search engines, a consistent message across all browsers and a richer experience for users.
- Build platforms that allow users to tell their stories
Perhaps the most important, and humbling, aspect of any content strategy is the realization that the content you create is not the most important content on your website.
The most important content on your website should be your users’ content.
Luke Wroblewski is the author of three popular web design books. He has held senior product positions at Silicon Valley giants eBay and Yahoo! and is one of the most respected evangelists for what he refers to as the “read/write web.”
He points out that the most visited websites nowadays exist purely because of their read/write nature. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube allow users to add their own content, as well as view and engage with other users’ content. Blogging and CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, ExpressionEngine, Tumblr, Weebly and Yola empower millions of people every day to create and share their content with relative ease.
7 Factors You Need to Create Great Website Content Readers Will Love
If you Google pretty much any phrase in the world right now, a seemingly endless number of highly relevant search results that will pop up immediately. Millions of articles and blog posts are ready to answer any question you could ever imagine having.
This is great for readers, but it’s not always great for businesses and brands who are trying to create great website content that will stand out amongst the competition.
There is some good news, though.
There is no quality control when it comes to what people are allowed to publish online, so while there’s millions of articles, maybe only three or four are actually any good on a single subject. As a result, there is a lot more bad content than good content, so if you’re producing high quality work and distributing it correctly, you’ll grow a readership over time.
But what exactly is great website content? What makes it great?
Fortunately, it’s not as much of a secret as some of the self-proclaimed gurus might want you to think. Instead, there are seven key factors that can determine whether or not readers want to stay on your page and we’re going to go over all of them right now.
- It’s Actionable
Have you ever read an article promising you to teach you how to do something and once it was over, you were still left in the dark? Maybe you understood the importance of using Bing Ads, but you didn’t actually know how to even get started creating them.
This type of content leaves you hanging because it isn’t actionable and it won’t keep readers on your site long.
Actionable website content, on the other hand, will be highly valued by readers. It doesn’t just tell them why, it shows them how. You can use step-by-step tutorials, videos, images, and detailed descriptions to walk users through an idea.
If you need examples, take a look at Social Media Examiner—all of their content is always action-driven.
Don’t just tell users to drink apple cider vinegar for their health—tell them to mix a single teaspoon in four ounces of water twice a day, and to drink it before eating a meal. Tell them exactly what type of apple cider vinegar to get and maybe even include a few links on where to buy it. This will ultimately set you apart, and it will keep readers coming back to you again and again.
- It’s Credible
Have you ever read a blog post making really big claims about some astonishing new technique or theory and didn’t quite believe it? There’s a good chance that you feel this way because the article or the author didn’t come across as credible. That may have happened because they didn’t link to reputable sources or statistics to back up their claims.
Which sounds better:
By installing solar panels on your roof, you can save a big chunk of cash on your energy bills every year.
By installing solar panels on your roof, you can reduce your energy bill by as much as 76%, with a 58% savings being the national average. This translates to an average of about $83 per month—that’s a big chunk of cash.
The second is obviously much more convincing and persuasive (although, those statistics are all made up, which would actually undermine my credibility if I was trying to sell solar panels…but it makes my point here).
Lots of data, stats and research-backed evidence will be your salvation here, even if the data is coming from your own case studies.
Don’t make this mistake. Don’t rob yourself of credibility or the impact that your article could have had just by thinking that something is common knowledge, or that your expertise is enough for people to trust you. Many people, after all, may be coming to you for the first time.
- It’s Original
There’s a lot of website content out there and there’s guaranteed to be some overlap, but you still never want to put out something that feels like it’s been done a million times before. You need to put your own unique spin on it.
If you don’t, customers are going to get really bored because they’re tired of seeing the same content rehashed again and again on different sites with nothing new to offer.
For example, let’s say that I’m a blogger who wants to write about the clothing subscription box Stitch Fix so I can drop my affiliate link and get some referral cash.
The only problem is, there are a million Stitch Fix reviews out there—some women even blog about their box every month.
To stand out, I can’t just write a generic review. Instead, I need to write one about how as a thin, petite women, this company has given me many more clothing options that actually fit without me needing to get them tailored.
This will appeal to a smaller section of the audience, but it would also speak to that niche audience in a much stronger way. Because it’s original, it will also serve a unique purpose online, fulfilling a need that hasn’t been filled yet.
To help create website content that feels original, I’ll sometimes actually go check out what’s already been written. I’ll look for holes in the story, or try to imagine other questions that users might ask that this post hasn’t answered. Examine the content as a reader, and create the posts that you want to see, but haven’t been able to find.
- It’s Thought-Provoking
While your website content absolutely needs to be original, well-written and actionable, it will get the best results if it’s thought-provoking.
If you’re able to keep people thinking about your post instead of just skimming through to look for quick data, readers will keep checking in to see what you have to say next.
Thought-provoking content will keep people thinking about you long after they leave your site. It’s interesting and it’s memorable. This is also what people love to engage with and share on their own social media, carrying the conversations with them there.
Not sure where to get started? You can offer an insider’s take on something like a trending topic, you could bust a myth, or you could write about something a little controversial (as long as you don’t risk isolating your audience).
- It’s Easy to Read
This one should be a no-brainer. Your website content should be easy and enjoyable to read, or readers are going to click away fast. This means that it should be:
- Well-written. We don’t need the grammar nazis knocking down your door.
- Easy to read quickly. Use relatively short sentences and keep the esoteric jargon for behind-the-scenes talk. Most readers will only consume content if it’s below a tenth grade reading level, with a sixth or seventh grade reading level coming in at the sweet spot (I’m not kidding.). You can install Yoast’s SEO plugin to evaluate your content’s readability level.
- Easy to scan. Partially because of the massive amounts of content out there, sometimes people will scan website content for highlights before reading. Use subheads, bullet lists and short paragraphs to make it easier for users to do this.
- Broken up into sections. Visually, break up the big chunks of text of users will run away faster than a child confronted with Brussel sprouts. Again, use those subheads, but also add plenty of images to help do this.
Think about the content that you love. There’s a good chance that it doesn’t resemble a book, but instead is incredibly concise and accessible for a large number of readers. That’s what you want.
- It Provides Value
If you want readers to keep coming back to your site and to truly love your blog, you need to provide them with content that offers value. That value can be in entertainment, education, or solving one of their problems. It doesn’t matter which, as long as you’re giving them something that they want or need.
Creating valuable website content often closely ties in with blog posts are are original and actionable. If you can offer a solution, for example, for how to wash and peel vegetables 3x faster and eliminating all bacteria instead of 98%, people are going to pay attention.
Similarly, a step-by-step tutorial of how to set up Bing Ads with lots of screen shots or a video will be more useful to readers than an article just saying why you should use Bing Ads.
Keep the value in mind when you’re creating each blog post, eBook, and video, knowing exactly what you’re going to offer users and why they’ll be invested.
- It Has a Purpose
All website content needs to be focused so that you don’t go on a big, long rant that just leaves readers confused about what you were even talking about (we’ve all read content like this and it’s frustrating).
Everything you write and create needs to have a purpose for what you want to accomplish.
Unlike all the other criteria on this list, you don’t necessarily need to think about the audience first when you’re deciding what you want the purpose of each blog post or infographic or video to be.
Sometimes, it’s easier to start in reverse, asking yourself what your goals are and what you want to accomplish. Do you want to raise brand awareness, or generate leads?
Consider how different types of content could help with those specific goals, and then utilize your knowledge of your audience to create something they’d love to read and act on.
What good is your website content, after all, if it does nothing to serve your brand?
We’re living in an over-saturated online environment, where every other person you meet has a blog and is trying to grow a readership.
By creating great content that offers value to your readers in a number of different ways, you’ll be able to grow your subscriber base on your blog and social channels.
As a result, you’ll also be able to use this website content more successfully for lead generation efforts, giving you an edge over our competition and providing you with a cost-efficient marketing strategy.
How to Create Great Content for Your Website
In their book, “Million Dollar Web Presence,” authors Chad Barr and Alan Weiss lay out tactical strategies for building a brand and business by leveraging the Internet. In the following excerpt, the authors describe tried-and-true methods to develop provocative, engaging content, as well as the essential elements of a successful website.
Content may be king, but provocative content is the ace.
Your website has only seconds to capture interest. Think about articles you’ve read, speeches you’ve heard, books you’ve begun. The initial exposure helps people determine whether they want to spend more time reading, listening or viewing. There is simply too much competition for time to expect that people will invest too much of theirs in trying to overcome a tepid introduction.
Provocative content for an accounting firm may include six reasons you’re paying too much in tax; why the top line is more important than the bottom line; and how to get your clients to offer to pay you more than you ask.
You have to be edgy, but not poke someone in the eye. You have to be willing to challenge and amuse, while not bragging or boasting. Your site, and particularly your homepage, should be provocative enough to be memorable and cause others to tell colleagues, “You ought to visit this site.”
Let’s explore some of the best ways to get the provocative ideas you need:
- Read books and relevant publications and summarize your reading and document your ideas.
- Brainstorm with others. Engage a team of trusted advisors. Being a part of a powerful mastermind group and trusted advisors is a great way to improve your ideas and creativity.
- Invest in self-development. A Japanese proverb says: “I will master something, then the creativity will come.”
- Question basic assumptions. This applies not just to your own assumptions, but also to those of your advisers and clients. You gain new insights to arrive at the proper solution.
- Take a contrarian view. Discuss a concept’s pros and cons. Clients hire us not necessarily to agree with them, but to question their views and basic premises in order to improve their business.
- Create a story. Using a story to convey a particular concept forces us to develop ideas to make it more effective.
- Interview others. This is a terrific way to learn, gain new ideas and leverage effective marketing while developing new audio and video content for your website and that of the person you are interviewing.
- Social networking. When joining effective and smart online communities, you may quickly gain knowledge of what is being asked and discussed, and how you may be of help to others.
Among our own content “musts” for your website are a homepage that includes typical client results, at least one video testimonial plus revolving text testimonials (at about seven-second intervals) and a dramatic and attractive value. Menus should include case studies, client list, position papers, biography, contact information, product and service offerings and video explanations of various offerings. Give every page a different look.
Upon review of probably thousands of websites over the years, we have come to the conclusion that in order for your organization to be successful on the Internet, three key elements must be accomplished:
- Design. Your site should be professionally designed, attractive and engaging, and be easy to navigate in order to quickly gain the visitors’ attention and interest. Good use of images is important as well as the use of action shots of you with your clients.
- Content. Your site must focus on your visitors’ interests and address the question of what’s in it for them and how to improve their businesses and lives. To accomplish this, strong content must be developed in the form of products, services and intellectual property, while constantly evolving.
- Strategy and tactics. Determine what the business should look like, how it should position itself online and what Internet components are critical to making the business a success. Decide how you should reach and communicate with customers: will they purchase products, read articles, subscribe to newsletters, communicate through blogs and online communities?
Without all three, your site’s effectiveness is greatly diminished. For example, a site that is well-designed with great content but has no defined strategy and tactics is like driving a great car without a GPS system or an effective map. You’ll be wondering why you are not reaching your destination. If you’ve got great content and effective strategies and tactics, yet poor design and navigation, visitors will either close their browsers or press the back button to go to their previous site.
Don’t attempt to tag, label, and identify every single item. Focus on those things that are most important for your credibility. If leadership is your strong suit, don’t worry about highlighting blog entries on your movie reviews. Use a device such as Google Alerts to let you know how you’re being perceived and detected. If your positioning is for issues that are only peripheral to your real value, then change what you’re emphasizing.