When websites aren’t performing as they should, it seems that people gravitate more to the analytic and technical factors to fix their problems. Many don’t pay enough attention to the clarity, ease of use, and how compelling their site content is – they really don’t treat their content as if it were king.
In this post, you won’t see the words “page speed”, “rich text snippets”, meta tags”, “schema”, “citations”, and other SEO technical terms. Don’t get me wrong, these things are both necessary and important, but this post will focus on building a website’s underlying foundation – its content.
On-page and off-page SEO elements must be optimized to create website traffic. But once a visitor arrives at the site, it’s the content that keeps them from leaving. Its purpose is to keep them motivated to move along towards achieving the site’s objective. It’s in this area that applying basic copywriting practices is more valuable than charts and graphs of website metrics.
When building a new website or troubleshooting an existing one, keep these broad questions in mind. They lead to several effective page content practices:
What’s The Purpose of Your Site?
Millions of websites exist only because a legitimate business has to have one. Sadly, many of the authors haven’t taken the time to figure out what is the real mission of the site. Is it for information? selling a product or service? getting subscribers? establishing authority? or something else? This question also leads to other important related questions: Who is the target audience? and what kind of writing tone to use? (formal, fun, aspirational, etc.). With these questions answered, it is much easier to write compelling content.
Can Your Site Visitors Instantly “Get It”?
Visitors to the home page should be able to understand what your site is about and what value you bring within 5 – 10 seconds. Realistically, that’s all the time you’re likely to have to get them interested in what you have to say. There are a variety of good techniques in creating and structuring content to accomplish this staring with a clean, uncluttered home page with simple, clear messages.
Do They Know That You “Feel Their Pain”?
Focus on the customer – making sure that your page copy speaks to the customer’s wants, needs, and desires. Another reason for doing a thorough job of #1 above. Web visitors will engage more with your site if you are showing them that you understand their problem, that you see what they see, and are a solution to their problems. It’s not all about your products and services – it’s about them.
Does Your Content Lead to Conversions?
A conversion is whatever action you want your visitors to take while on your site. Whatever your goal for the site is, when a visitor is guided smoothly through links and offers that generate action, the site will perform well. Make sure that conversion intent is subtly included in webpage copy. Interesting content of value to your target audience always helps build trust and later, conversions. Regular useful, entertaining or enlightening blog posts build authority and generate a following.
How Consistent Is Your Voice?
In tone and substance, a website should present a voice that is consistent with the most important brand messaging of the business. People feel more confident that they know and trust who you are. The most important keywords for your business woven into the copy help in reinforcing brand messages as well as having SEO benefits. The site should never seem like it was written by different people with different agendas.
Can You Channel Your Inner Copywriter?
Write site content using proven copywriting principles. The “4P’s” of Promise, Picture, Proof, and Push is one to keep in mind
- Promise – What value specifically does the business bring to help solve the visitor’s problem?
- Picture – Help them see vividly how life will be with your solution
- Proof – Show them proof of all kinds that your solution works
- Push – Use calls to action to help them know what to do next.
How about Your Content/Structural Elements?
Pay attention to the important page elements to make it easy to read and attractive to the search engines:
- Keyworded Page titles and descriptions
- Text broken into headlines and sub-headings for easy reading – use H1 and H2 tags (OK, I know I said “tags”)
- Short paragraphs with lots of white space around – it’s easier on the eye of the reader
- Simple, easy to understand site navigation
- Videos expected more every day. Include videos in places like the product and “About Us” pages and blog posts
- Images – Relevant images spice up content but avoid large images and flash elements that slow page loading
Another helpful strategy is to research popular competitor’s sites. You don’t want to copy them, but this is excellent for triggering ideas for your site. Keep in mind that no site is perfect, and you may not be adopting the best practice.
This post is meant to be an overview reminder of how to get website content to work well. There’s much more detail involved – building a solid content foundation can be an involved project. As an example, we typically evaluate 35 different factors in assessing how well a client’s site content is working.
Using the questions and practices above as a checklist can get you a good start in treating your content as the royalty it really is.
What Grows Business is a marketing and advertising blog owned by the B2B Resource Team LLC, dedicated to helping clients achieve an online presence that fits their goals. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your online presence challenges at 941 256 2468