How to Prepare Your Website Content (Whether You Write it or Hire Someone to Do it for You)
As a web designer, I can’t do much work on a website project until I have the content.
Why? Because the entire point of a website is to deliver content–text and images–to visitors who go there to find it.
Preparing website content can baffle professionals who are otherwise highly competent in their business–even if they’re good writers.
It is not unusual for a client to take many months to complete the process of preparing information for their website–even for relatively few pages!
To make things as easy as possible, I have prepared this guide to help you organize and prepare your website content. Much of the information here applies whether you write your own content or have us develop it for you.
Importance of Website Content
Remember, the main reason people come to business websites is to gather information. If they are seeking a solution, their goal is to make an informed decision about which product or service provider is better than the rest.
Your content must position you as better, or you will not get further interest from your prospective customers.
Content–particularly the messaging in your text–should be the primary driver behind developing most websites. Content should inform how you organize your site, and if you are hoping to attract search traffic, it plays a vital role in search engine optimization (SEO).
Tips to Develop Your Message
As you work on your message, here are some ideas that may help:
- Study competitors’ and similar providers’ websites for ideas. But do NOT assume just because your competitors have done something that, it is the right approach for your site!
- Ask clients or customers how they would describe your message content (see 3 Content Basics on this page). They may have views of your business you are too close to see.
- It’s better to have too much content that can be edited down than not enough. Try to anticipate your buyers’ questions and informational needs.
- Don’t settle for generalities and platitudes. Prospective customers are looking for differentiating information about you. It is not enough to say, “We care about you, we’re more personable, and/or we’re more professional.” Generalizations like this won’t cut it. Everyone and anyone can make those claims and does. Dig deeper. Get specific. Provide details, examples, and proof.
- Differentiate so your business stands out. Consider looking at HOW you do business as a differentiator. This can work well for service-based businesses. For example, consider how you go about your work that is better/different than your competitors. Think of the specific steps, processes, guarantees, things you tell or ask your customer, etc.
- Remember search phrases if you hope to rank on Google for these keywords. Work them into your message.
VERY IMPORTANT: Break your content up into small pieces and work each piece one at a time.
3 Content Basics
When developing your content message, be sure to address these three important elements:
1. Your Audience and Informational Needs
Who are you targeting with your site? What do prospective clients/customers need to know in order to do business with you?
2. Business Description
What exactly do you do? Consider the features (what your product or service DOES) as well as benefits (what it does FOR customers).
How is your business or product different/better from your competitors? In other words, what information will support their decision-making and position you as an authoritative source, favored provider, or preferred product?