For many business owners, writing website content is a sticking point in the website project. Sometimes a beautiful new responsive website will sit dormant for months (or more) waiting for content so it can be launched for potential customers to see.
There is no doubt that for many, writing content ranks right along with doing taxes or having a root canal. After all, you are a business owner, not a writer. And you have a business to run and not enough hours in the day to get it all done.
But the one advantage you have is that you know your products/services better than anyone else, and you can leverage your knowledge to create great written content that your website visitors will benefit from.
To help expedite the website content writing process, we thought it would be helpful to provide some tips and best practices to help you streamline the process and write great content that future customers will love.
How to Write for the Web
Writing for the web is nothing like writing a book or magazine article. Think of it as an online brochure, but with more space. When you grab a brochure for a product or service you are interested in, you notice that it has a clean design with lots of white space, relevant high-quality images, and chunks of text.
You expect it to tell you the highlights of the product or service and why it might benefit you, but not to be so text-heavy that you lose interest. It is easy to digest the information and make a decision on whether you want to move forward to the next step of the sales funnel or not.
In addition to providing visually appealing text and images, you want your content to be search engine friendly to help your website rank higher in search results. With these things in mind, here are some tips to help you provide amazing, optimized content for your business website.
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Content Writing Tips for Business Owners
1. Perform Basic Keyword Research
Before you begin tapping away on that keyboard, spend some time searching out great keyword phrases to infuse into your headings, paragraphs, title tags, and image tags. Rather than focusing on one keyword (which is a no-no by search engine standards), come up with a keyword list for each page.
Once you have your list, spread your keywords out within your content headings and paragraph text. Add them to metadata, URLs, image alt text, and other areas of the website where relevant.
2. Check Out the Competition for Ideas
When searching the websites of your competitors, which ones show up on the first page of Google search results? Take note of the keywords they may be using and how they present their content. Get a feel for the type of writing and presentation you like by searching their content.
3. Write Casually
Write as though you are having a face-to-face conversation with a customer or client. Avoid dry business content, jargon, or overly "heady" language. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the reading level for the average American is at the 7th-8th-grade level, so keep that in mind when crafting your content. Let your personality come through and appeal to your audience in a way that tells what you have to offer and helps solve a common problem or alleviate a pain point.
Automatic Readability Checker - This tool allows you to paste in your text which is then scanned across seven different readability formulas to help you determine the reading level and grade level of your text.
4. Write Clearly and Concisely
Avoid "filler" text or excessive use of the same keyword phrase for SEO. Search engines don't like it and humans like it even less. Just write enough to get your message across clearly and concisely. To make your content even easier to digest, use shorter paragraphs with ample white space between them and bulleted or numbered lists when you have the opportunity.
5. Include Enough Content to Make the Page Valuable and Search Engine Friendly
As mentioned earlier, clear and concise writing is key to the stickiness of your web pages. An overwhelming amount of text, especially if it is irrelevant, repetitive, or "filler," will turn off readers. That said, shoot for at least 300 words or so for a content page. If you are blogging, aim for at least 500-600 words minimum. This is not a hard-and-fast rule-- just a guideline. Always choose quality over quantity. You want to give humans enough information on a page to answer their questions and guide them in the right direction while giving search engines enough content to index.
6. Include Citations
Do you have sources that you are citing? Great! Adding credible statistics or facts solidifies your point and shows that you know your stuff. When you include citations, make sure that:
a) the statistics or data cited are accurate, and
b) you mention and link to the source cited
7. Check for Grammar and Spelling Errors
It happens to all of us from time to time. You work on a piece of content for so long that you gloss over errors. Or maybe the spell checker missed something glaring. Whatever the case, readers will quickly bolt from your website if it is full of errors.
One way to avoid this is to walk away from your content when you have finished writing it and come back to review it the next day with fresh eyes. Or, if you have a trusty friend or co-worker handy, have them take a look at the text to make sure it is error-free.
Grammarly - Grammarly has a free option that catches many spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. The paid plan is much more robust, catching more advanced errors and even flagging plagiarism.
8. Add High-Quality Images
Yes, a picture really is worth a thousand words when it comes to web content. And no, that doesn't give you the green light to skip the text and front-load your site with images. Great, high-quality images of your products, services, team, facility, events and other relevant images can greatly complement your message, balance out page content, and add visual appeal to your page.
For example, check out the home page for our client, Scali Café in Boston. Hungry yet?
Hopefully the tips above will help you develop amazing content for your business website.
Don't feel like writing your own website content? We get it. Our professional copywriters are standing by to help you craft the perfect text for your web pages or blog. Get a free quote or contact us online today for more information.