Detailed Tips on Writing Content for Websites
Website content needs to engage and encourage people to explore your website offerings and impress them enough to act on your Call-to-Action.
When people land on a website they should know what that website is about in a couple of seconds. Images with text should convey the message you, as the business owner, desire to communicate.
Presentation of your website, along with the content, can lift your web pages to another level. Having fun rollovers can make it engaging and accentuate the experience (but it shouldn’t be over-done). Good color palettes and fonts can boost readability. Having white space can make reading easier on the eyes. Showing off your knowledge will make you more trustworthy to the viewer. And, of course, good Call-to-Action buttons or text can encourage the reader to take action.
There is a lot involved with writing content. While most people are specialists in the products or services they offer, it may not be as easy for them to write text about their services for their website.
Top Tips for Web Writing
- Know your Keyword Phrases and Use Them
When writing content for the web, remember that you are writing to get found. First and foremost it is essential to know what keywords and phrases you want to target (SEO). Have your keywords on a reference list right next to you when starting to write. Those keywords are the search terms (what people will type into the search bar) that you want to focus on and insert into your content which will help your website get found.
- Know your Audience
Know who your client, customers or patients are and what they want and/or need. Imagine having a conversation with them explaining your products and/or services and use that as your baseline when writing (always incorporating those keywords, of course). Speaking of customers, clients, patients or users – think about how you refer to them. Pick one and stick with it so you have consistency throughout your website. That applies to your services too. If you offer a package or a plan, stick with that terminology.
- Research your Competition
Check out your competitors’ websites. Type your keywords into Google search and see what comes up. See how your competitors phrase things and what keywords they use in their content. Use an Incognito browser window when searching (it’s private browsing that doesn’t interject your browsing history).
Use the following tools to help research your competition:
- Moz – Moz offers the following free tools: Keyword Explorer, Link Explorer, metrics of sites you visit, view your online presence and free domain analysis
- Google Trends – Stay on top of trends in your industry and compare your company to others (easy way to research keywords too)
- Google Alerts – Set alerts to be sent to you. Add an alert for your company name and/or URL to find out who is talking about you. You can also set up alerts on your competitors
- Sign up to get your competitors’ emails and/or newsletter
- Read your competitors social media pages – Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc.
- There are also pay-to-use tools available that can be used to research your competition
- Moz Pro – Moz has a suite of SEO tools to help you out-rank your competitors
- Spyfu – gives you insight into the keywords and AdWords your competitors are using
- Ahrefs – offers tools that will help you analyze your site, keywords, do an audit of your site, track how your site ranks and examine your content for improvements
- Follow the Inverted Pyramid Model
The Inverted Pyramid structure has been the mainstay of traditional mass media writing for decades. Essentially content is written so that the most fundamental information is at the top of the web page, then arranging the remaining information, from the most important to the least important, in the paragraphs that follow.
- Be Organized in your Writing
Being organized in your writing helps your reader to easily grasp your message. Laying out content in the order of importance shows that you can communicate a message using logical steps. View more information on organizing your writing.
- Use an Active Voice
Using an active voice makes your meaning clear for readers and keeps your sentences from becoming too wordy. View the difference between Active and Passive voice.
- Write Short, Simple Sentences
Write simple, short sentences when possible. Watch your punctuation too. Once you have written your content, test it for readability by typing or pasting in your text. This tool will help catch long sentences and some typos you may have missed.
- Vary your Word Choice
If you find yourself running out of ways to describe a certain concept, go to a thesaurus. A Thesaurus can help expand your vocabulary and help to change up your use of words when writing.
- Avoid Jargon
Every industry, without exception, has their jargon, terminology or acronyms. For example, the banking industry often talks about HELOCs which stands for “Home Equity Line of Credit.” In lay terms it’s getting a loan on your home. People are much more apt to search for “home loan” or “borrow money on my home” than they are for the term HELOC as they’re likely to be unfamiliar with that acronym. Try to write without that jargon or if you must use it, hyperlink the term to a definition or define it in context.
- Explain Concepts in Detail and with Real-world Examples
As a business owner you want to “show off” what you know and how you can help your potential clients. Explain (using keywords, of course) how you met the client, what it was like working on the job, how long it took, if there were challenges and how you over came those challenges. You don’t have to put in a ton of details but you do need to “strut your stuff.” If possible, show before and after photos of your work, if appropriate, or images explaining concepts (adding alt text, of course). People love seeing photos that show that you know what you are talking about.
- Use Bulleted Lists
Help the user to read your web pages easier. People don’t read web pages, they scan them. So help them to read faster. Write an introduction to what you want to say and then use bullets, numbered lists or break up short paragraphs with images. Bulleted lists help attract attention and support the scanning that the User is already doing with their eyes. Readers prefer content formatted for easy scanning, so help support it.
- Use Visuals
Images infographics, videos, photos and other visuals help to break up text making your web page easier to read. People “read” photos and images faster than text and it’s important to have your images support the text you have written.
- Stay On Topic
Visitors usually search for very specific information and become frustrated when they land on a page that doesn’t have what they were searching for. If you have a broad topic, break your content down. There is some discussion among SEO people on the merits of having multiple pages. ATC Web Solutions feels that if you are an expert in a certain area and have a lot of content to write on the subject, it is better to have multiple pages. It’s best to segment the content in large subject areas, creating multiple pages and then link them together hopefully in some sequence. This will make your website more user-friendly. On the other hand, if the content can be condensed down to one page, and research has shown that web pages with around 1000 words rank higher, then it’s better to have one focused, concentrated web page on the subject. You, as the expert of your business, need to be the judge.
- Call to Action
After writing all of that content, don’t forget to ASK for what you want. It’s called a call-to-action and is usually an image, a button or a line of text that prompts the visitor to take some “action.”
Types of Calls to Action:
- Pick up the phone and call
- Sign up for a newsletter
- Make an appointment
- Buy something
- Submit a form
- Read more
- Link to social sharing
- Give their email address
- Raise awareness
- Update Your Content
We have heard SO many stories of clients who spend time and money building their website and then never update it again. And then they wonder why they aren’t ranking for anything. Not updating your website is the kiss of death nowadays. A static website without updates of any kind may be viewed by search engines as “dead” – with no life and nothing new to offer. Thankfully, your frequently updated website offers search engines the message that there is fresh content and sources of new information for their search requests. Simply put, if you update your website often with high quality content, search engines will love you for it. Every time you make an update to your website, the search engine takes notice and re-arranges your site’s ranking. Regularly updating your website with fresh content will not only garner appreciation and loyalty from your visitors, but will put you in good standing with Google.
- Testing and Checking What You Have Written
- Once you have written your web page, create your own Word Cloud. It’s really cool. You can copy and paste in your text or add the URL of your web page. Whichever method you select, you will be able to see how well you have done with adding in your keywords, and how much word variety you have written.
- Test the readability of your web pages by entering in the URL (scroll down the page to get all of the information).
- Be sure to Spell Check your website to make sure you didn’t inadvertently misspell something. Nothing says unprofessional like a website full of grammatical and spelling errors. You will be thankful you did! Here are a couple of online spellchecking tools:
All web pages deserve and need good content and there is a lot to consider when writing each and every web page. Unless you are an experienced website content writer, creating high-quality content as Google requires is hard. While most people are specialists in the products or services they offer, it may not be as easy for them to write text about their services for their website. Website content writing can be a challenge.
Let ATC Web Solutions help write your content – we know how to do it right and we enjoy it!