You‘ve bought the advertising and made sure your web address features prominently. You’ve spent long days and longer nights making sure all of your links link and your pop-ups pop.
But how can you make sure that once you lure people to your site, those people stay and actually read what you have to say?
“You can have the most beautiful website in the world, but without the right content it’s like having a shop with a sign on the door saying ‘closed’,” says Sue Blatchford, head of the search at search engine marketing company payperclick.net.au.
“I’m afraid that many small businesses make diabolical mistakes in this area.”
Blatchford says that small businesses should start thinking about the content of the website before anything else.
While graphic design goes some way to giving customers an impression of your business, the content of a website is what is going to get you noticed by customers (if they find you) and, possibly more importantly, by search engines like Google.
“If you don’t have good content, Google can’t find you,” says Blatchford.
Don’t forget the content
Longtime web designer and developer Joseph Stab Darling of MondoWeb agrees. He says content should be planned at the very earliest stages of a website design, and well-planned content should be incorporated into the design.
“Websites are an interactive thing, so I have content in mind when I start planning a site for a client,” says Darling.
“That human communication element needs to be incorporated into the structure of the site.”
Darling says business owners should know their audience, and the type of message the business wants to communicate. The way the words on the webpage are written will depend on those two elements.
” … website content should be clearly set out and broken up into digestible chunks … using bullet points and checklists …”
“The style of writing on a website should be based on the type of company you are and also the audience you want to reach,” says Darling.
“We had a client recently that is an Australian food company and it wanted to keep its Australian personality. But it also has a small export market and wanted to reach out to customers overseas who might not know the products. So it’s a balance between the company’s style and the audience’s.”
Blatchford agrees that balance is important, knowing the audience is important; it is essential to understand why customers come to your website.
“Reading a website is not like curling up with a magazine,” says Blatchford. “The writing shouldn’t be too artsy or clever. When users come to your site, they want information and they want it now.”
Blatchford says that website content should be clearly set out and broken up into digestible chunks. She advises using bullet points and checklists that put useful information into a form that readers can grasp quickly. She also suggests clear and simple headings, with text that answers a potential customer’s questions, allays any fears they might have, and then gives them a strong call-to-action at the bottom of each page.
“It’s really simple but most people don’t do it,” says Blatchford.
“It is absolutely vital to have a call-to-action at the end of the page. Websites are not brochureware – if you’ve got a customer to your page, you have to tell them how to contact you.” #You can find the full article here.