Content can often be an afterthought when it comes to web. However, websites with good content attract better traffic; have higher search engine rankings and generally more conversions.
Keep in mind that users’ satisfaction is formed by comparing your website to your competitors’ website. Understanding and adhering to web conventions will help your site conform to user expectations, and good online content can be made more engaging and more attractive by following these simple steps.
Step one: Define your audience
This first step is crucial as it helps you to set the tone of your website content. It is important to be specific about your demographic; consider age, gender and social factors. If you’re site is targeting school-age youth, the tone of your content will be less formal than if you’re targeting large, corporate organisations. Once the tone of voice has been determined, find out where your target audience hangs out online. Visit established sites that have successfully captured your audience and reflect on the tone and structural cues.
Step two: Utilise the inverted pyramid style
This metaphor is used by journalists and writers alike to help them accurately structure important information. In a nutshell, all important information should be front and centre. To determine this, consider why you have a website in the first place. This content should make up the widest part of the pyramid, as most of your information will fall into the base. This means that users can stop reading at any time, without missing out on anything significant that the writer wishes to convey.
Pages should be structured like this:
- Pyramid base - Summary of the most important content.
- Centre of the pyramid - Add in more detail based on the summary in the content base.
- Top of pyramid - This covers generic information that may span a number of pages. On a website, it is best presented in PDF form.
Step three: Ensure users can find what they are looking for
Users who come to your website are there because your product or service appeals to them, so this is the information you want to display most prominently. E-commerce sites need to focus on easy access to the shopping cart, and well-labelled categories and products.
Menu items such as About us, Contact us and News & media, should always be secondary to what you are actually offering. If you have a large amount of written content on your site, ensure that you have an adequate left/right internal navigation structure to make it easier to find certain pages. Talk to your web development company about this when you are in the site planning phase of your website.
Step four: Write web content succinctly
Long pages of straight content will put users off. Try to use layering and page breaks to accommodate sections with a large amount of text. Try to encourage the reader to delve deeper into the website but don't drown them in superfluous content. After the heading and introduction, further paragraphs should be used to go into greater detail and add all necessary, associated information. This could be further down the page or on a linked page. Sub-headings will help to make text more scannable. Your readers can then move to the section of the document that is most useful by following internal prompts.
Step five: Use plain English
Use jargon sparingly. Most users will find too many specialist terms intimidating and will be turned off instantly. Instead, use plain English, but leave out the patronising tone. Not only is this easier to write, maintain and edit, but it makes it accessible to a wider audience. Try to keep parts of your site as separate as possible. This will help users to find what they need, and extract the necessary information without prior knowledge. Avoid using phrases such as, ‘as we saw above’, or ‘as mentioned earlier’.
Step six: Hire a professional writer
Don’t leave it up to your marketing department to get the job done, hire a professional. Comparative to a website build, you may be surprised at how much a copywriter can produce and edit in just a few hours. If you do choose to write your own content, get it edited. Don’t let down your brand with poor punctuation, grammar and intrusive errors. Prior to visiting your website, it is likely that your user has already had countless website experiences such as checking their bank balance, reading the news, booking a movie, and purchasing a product from an e-commerce site. They will naturally compare their experience on those sites with yours. Therefore, your content needs to be as convincing, professional and dynamic as the competition.
Call Butterfly today to see what our in-house copywriting services can do for your brand: (03) 9009 9601