Your website is an extension of your business. It works for you 24/7 and often provides the first impression of your business to your many prospects. If you’ve hired a professional web development team to craft a website design that stands out among the competitors in your market, you’re to be applauded. But remember this: websites are more than color, line, shape and navigation. These aspects are merely the shell, the container for your message.
The Importance of Quality Website Content
The message (or content) of your website is your key to maximizing the overall effectiveness of your complete website design and leveraging the power of the web to turn casual site visitors into paying customers.
As web designers, developers and marketers, we speak with business owners about their website development and e-marketing every day. Like you, they are busy individuals. We know that writing effective content can be a chore. Even if you are blessed with a command of grammar, sentence structure and composition, it may be difficult to find the time to hammer out clear, concise content for the web (a unique medium, to say the least).
Of all of the components of a web project, the most burdensome is often the written content. And those who insist on developing and managing their own content sometimes run into cost overruns due to delays or required re-writes. The following is a list of ten ways to wreck your web content and create a result that does not engage your prospects or encourage them to pick up the phone.
In all of their infamy, here are the Top 10 Ways to Wreck Your Website Content:
1. Don’t Research
We see this all the time. Clients don’t bother to scour the web and see what their competitors are doing right and wrong for their own prospects and clients. Make lists of their website pages and identify the content that appears convincing.
2. Fail to Identify Your Target Audience
It would be wrong to assume that your content speaks to anyone and everyone equally. Your core audience may have questions about your specific type of product or service, so it would benefit you to assume they need that useful information. Design a path for them to get to it.
3. Hire a Relative or Friend to Write Your Content
While they have more time than you to sit and type the words that come to their head, don’t assume that what they put together is perfect or even good enough for your clients and prospects without applying any critical thinking first.
4. Duplicate Content from a Competitor Website
Disregard, at your own peril, that search engines know every word on the web and know who wrote it first. Your domain will be penalized by search engines for stealing content from another site. Your competitor is watching you and can easily detect their own content around the web and may sue you for infringement.
5. Don’t use the Google Keyword Tool to Research Keywords
This is classic failure of non-professional web publishers. I can’t believe I am writing this down. If the top keyword search phrases for your Mobile Pet Grooming business are “at home pet grooming” and “pet grooming services,” be sure to use them in your site content.
6. Write Long Complex Passages of Text
Anything that drones on and on without coming to a clear point, makes the failed assumption that people who are quickly searching for something specific actually enjoy reading pages and pages of text. They don’t. No one wants to read your exquisite, long-winded copy.
7. Don’t Include Images
Humans feast with the eyes. It’s a better read when text content is occasionally broken up by related imagery.
8. Don’t Establish Your Credibility
This is a key principle of influence. If you don’t clearly state who you are or speak about your business purpose and intentions, you are forgetting to tell your readers about the benefits you will provide to them over the competition.
9. Don’t Include a Call to Action
Now that your prospects have managed to find your website, ask them to pick up the phone and call or fill out a form, send an e-mail, tell a friend, etc. You have them. Sell!
10. Don’t Bother to Include a Blog
Blogging is an easy way to reach out to your prospects and increase your page rankings, consider a couple of blog articles a month. It’s three or four hours of work a month, not too much effort.
In closing, I’d like to remind all of our blog readers and clients that – although it seems astonishing – there are website owners who have gone to great lengths to follow each and every one of these 10 Ways to Wreck Your Website Content to the letter. Let’s hope it’s your competitor.