Writing content is usually the most time consuming process in developing a website. This is a surprise to most people, and what is even more surprising to others is that a lot of times your web developer doesn’t write your content for you.
The fact is that you know your business the best, and while it may be helpful to hire outside help, that can get expensive. Below is a helpful guide to know how to write content for your website.
What are your Objectives ?
The first step of the writing process is determining the objectives of your website. This is so easy to overlook but is very important. What is the purpose of the website? What are your objectives? More specifically, "What action do you want visitors to your website to take?" This may seem obvious at first but websites can specialize in many different things. Some common goals are listed below:
- "I want people visiting to my website to..."
- Get information about me, and call me
- Get information about me, and fill out an online form which will come to me in an email.
- Buy my products.
- View upcoming events with my online calendar
- Download my brochure so I don’t have to mail it to them
- Find directions to my store
- Make an online donation
- Stay updated on what’s new with my company.
- Register for upcoming events.
- View my portfolio
As you can see, you can have multiple goals for your website. When you write your content, remember to constantly drive people to take these actions.
Who is my audience?
Think about who your typical customer is. How old are they? How computer savvy are they? What is their education level? These are good questions to ask. Remember that web users do not read words on a website, they scan them. Therefore you will want to write your content in a style somewhat similar to a newspaper. Short paragraphs, headlines and lists are the best way to allow your user to easily scan your pages.
A very common mistake made in content writing for websites is to make it too informal. While you don’t want to sound like a college textbook, you also want to sound professional. If you are a small business you want your website to appear "top of the line" to compete with the larger companies. A website is a way to enhance your image. Take advantage of that and make your web content as professional as you can without being stuffy.
What information do I want on my website?
The next step of the writing process is creating a site map. A site map is simply an outline of what the information on your website will look like. Each item on a site map represents a single webpage. It usually consists of 5-7 main categories, with sub-categories falling underneath. The reason for sub-categories is to organize the content in a way that is easy for the web user to quickly glance over and comprehend.
Example Site Map:
Some sections such as "Events" may not have sub-categories under them. Whatever makes the most logical, intuitive sense to your web users is what you will want to do. You should do your best in creating an easy to follow site map, but keep in mind that a good web design firm will also guide you in creating the best possible solution for your sitemap and website.
There are three different, unique ways to write your content for your website. Usually you will want a balance between the three. If you focus too much on one you will neglect the others, so do your best to keep all three in mind once you start your actual writing.
1. Write Briefly for Web Users – In web development, we have a motto when creating websites. It goes like this: "Give me what I want, and don’t make me think". When writing web content, make sure that you are not long winded. Make things as easy and simple as possible. Use lists and short paragraphs, and occasionally use bolded text. Too much bold and it doesn’t stand out anymore, it’s just a distraction.
2. Write Professionally to Build up Your Image – One of the great things about the internet is that it can make a very small business appear to be quite large and accomplished. So give the readers some good facts, figures, and data that will keep them impressed with your organization. Remind them of your accolades. Keep this balanced of course with writing succinctly…while you want to be somewhat brief you don’t want to leave out important details.
3. Write Sneaky for Search Engines – I say sneaky because you don't want to make it too obvious to the person reading your website that you're writing specifically for the search engines. This is probably the hardest thing to keep in mind when writing because we are not used to writing with a Search Engine as our audience. But in reality, writing for search engines will go a very long way in your search engine rankings, and ultimately your website popularity.
How do you write for search engines?
Search engines scan all the text on a website on a regular basis. You want any word that people may search for in a search engine to appear in your web content. These words are called "Keywords".
For example, Fresh Look Web Design has the following keywords (among others) on our website:
These words appear on our website very frequently. If we wanted to promote our e-commerce grant on our website we could say:
"Many of our clients take advantage of our grant."
...but this is too general. There are no specific keywords. The user gets the idea, but there's nothing for search engines to pick up on.
Instead, we should say:
"Our Hampton small business owners take advantage of our e-commerce grant."
See the difference? It's not as succinct, but the user still gets the message, and the keywords are much more present in the second example.
Keep in mind that there's a trade-off involved with the other two writing styles. You don't want to focus too much on search engines, because then your text might be too wordy for users. But you also don't want to be too succinct because you won't rank as well with the search engines. The best thing to do is keep a balance.
We hope this helps you in writing your website content. If you're interested in getting assistance with your content writing, don't hesitate to let us know and we'll be happy to help. Content writing can be a daunting task at times but once you get started you'll find that a lot of it comes naturally.
Google Panda is a series of on-going algorithm updates and data refreshes for the Google search engine that the company rolls out to help refine its search algorithm to improve the value of search query results for users.
The Google Panda updates specifically tweak the algorithm as part of Google's continual efforts to elevate high-quality sites and web pages to the top of the organic search results while lowering, or penalizing, the rank of lower-quality or "thin' web sites and pages, particularly those sites that display a large amount of advertising without much in terms of high-quality content.
The Google Panda affected roughly 12% of searches, therefore beginning the major shift in the search engine landscape. Google was focusing on quality and user experience, so it naturally cracked down on tinny content sites, content farms, site with too many advertisements in amount to the amount of content, and so on.
Since google was concerned with a superiority UX, this was the natural step in its all-out assault on web content across the spectrum. It determined an algorithm for evaluating the quality of a site, and it did so with a high degree of precision.
As an example, one of the determining factors that the Google Panda looked for was for the amount and quality of content that appeared above the fold. The fold, for those of you who don’t know, I is the part where browser screen initially cut-off a site when first loaded.
The Google Panda should also send another very strong message to you by conveying that Google’s focus has increasingly become a value oriented approach. IT wants to showcase the website at the top of its SERP a that are not only the most relevant, but that also provide the most value.