Content is one of the most vital pieces of a website project. To be honest, it is also one of the biggest delays to many website projects as well. Why? Because it isn't as easy as it sounds. When you are thinking about the content on your website there is probably a ton of ideas going through your head...but then you sit down to write it and it usually doesn't go as smoothly as you would expect. Many times this is the result of content writing not being your only job. During a website project you still are doing your normal job, you've just been put in charge of writing. Here are 5 tips to get you on the right track with the content for your website project so it turns out great and you avoid delays.
- Forget about the content on your old site. Unless it is really awesome, you can do better. The content was probably written when content wasn't so important. Sure, you can pull pieces here and there, but if it is exactly the same you did not put the right amount of effort into your new website. The most common excuse is "not much has changed with our business". This may be true, but a lot has changed with what people expect on a website and how search engines use content for ranking.
- Plan before you start. If you know what pages will be on your new website before it's even built, you will be ahead of the game. Try to avoid only writing content for About Us, Capabilities, Services, Products, and Frequently Asked Questions. Think about your website as a valuable marketing tool and a way to capture your website visitor's attention. Try to step outside of the box and think about the pages that will be valuable to your readers, not just having 5 website pages just to have them.
- Don't expect people to already know about the details. Write for the dumbest people that you would expect to be visiting your site. This will vary from industry to industry and be much different for B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer). You can use slightly more technical jargon in the B2B route, but don't go crazy. If you have a consumer based product or service, write so EVERYONE can understand it. Bonus tip: make your content less boring by using humor, real life situations, using impressive market data, or providing incredibly useful information.
- Write for users first, search engines second, sales third. The website visitors are the most important! If you are writing for search engines and try to fill your content with keywords in an effort to rank in search engines, it will turn out to be garbage content that no one can read. Search engines are smart these days...they know if you are keyword stuffing even if it is written in semi-legible paragraphs.If you write to sell, you'll sound like that annoying used car salesman (no offense). But honestly, people avoid that person. Don't make your website something that people avoid. If you write content for the visitor, the others will fall in place.
- Proofread. Unless you have hired your website developer to also be your copy editor, they won't catch everything. Have at least 1 other person inside your business and 1 outsider read the content before sending it.
If you are planning your website project for the next couple months, start thinking about your content. If you can avoid waiting until you are being pressured for it you might even enjoy writing. Also keep in mind that once you see it on the test website, it can be adjusted, just keep in mind things will go smoother if you send it in almost final format.
Thinking about a website project now and have more questions? Get in touch to see if we'd be a good partner on your project.