But first… Why is content important to you, the website owner?
How does Google get to know about your website? By reading the words on your pages! This is a critical element to your search engine ranking, so it pays to do a good job.
In case Google’s search robot wasn’t a good enough reason to write well; the more articulate you are online, the better your human visitors will engage with you too. That’s a proven fact.
Ok. So how do I “do a good job” of my content?
Start by sketching out a Sitemap so you get a feel for what you need to cover within your website. Arrange this so that the most important information comes first.
Before you begin writing, set your head space to that of your average customer. It’s really important that you’re talking to them on their level using the terminology that they use.
Brainstorm everything that you want to write about. You may find that you’ve mapped out a series of headings and subheadings – a great way to break down content into bite-sized pieces.
Google reads your content in a hierarchical fashion. Keep this in mind as you write, so that the most important details come first. The finer detail can come later in the piece.
Write a descriptive heading, e.g. “I.T. Services” is more meaningful that simply “Services”. And follow that up with a descriptive introduction. See the next page for further guidance.
How much is too much? Target about 300 words for each of your services, or other important info. Less will mean lower impact with Google. Write too much and your readers switch off.
Remember to write using your customer’s language.
If your customers are technical people, stick with the tech-speak. If your customers are laypeople, use first the terminology that they would use, saving the jargon for further down the page.
Take this document as an example
The title “How to Write Content for Your Website“ is descriptive; it leaves the reader in no doubt WHAT we’re talking about. The following subheading broaches the WHY (it’s “important”) and says WHO this is for (“website owners”).
Next we elaborate on the WHY, before delving into the HOW. Note our conversational tone. If we were writing this for our website, we would have worked “Auckland” (because that’s our main target market) into the copy, near the top.
Finished? Proofread your work and remove any waffle; a concise read is a good read. Bullet points can be useful. Check spelling (use UK English unless your main audience is North American) and grammar.
Provide an introduction to WHAT you do, for WHOM and WHERE you do this, and WHY people should care. Further down the page you could include snippets (brief introductions) promoting your core products or services. Followed by a snippet introducing who you are.
Products / Service
Detailed pages describing each product and service. This information is of primary concern to your customers; its more important to them than who you are, so we present this info first.
Real-world examples which champion your successes offer compelling and meaningful insights into your products/services. Potential customers relate well to your existing customers.
Technical Resources / FAQs
Providing useful online resources or answers to common questions helps to build credibility and strengthens values which potential customers can warm to.
Use a blog to talk about the challenges and solutions to everyday problems in your industry. As you build this up over time, it builds upon that credibility and those values we’ve just mentioned.
Provide information about your company and its key personnel. While this is important, in your customer’s eyes this is secondary to the WHAT, WHY and HOW.
This detail needs to be found very easily. It’s customary to have this at the end of your navigation. Typically we would include an enquiry form and a Google map of your location(s).
So how does it all come together?
While you’re writing, don’t get bogged down in how this is all going to look on your website; that’s our job as website designers. We’ll take your content and work a contemporary design around it, breaking it down and building it back up to a finished product.
That’s the secret to successful website design: rather than writing content to fit a design, we design to fit the content. The former is equivalent to forcing square pegs into round holes. The latter is efficient.