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creating effective website content

The site user (customer or potential customer) should always be considered the m
ost important person when creating website content. Whether this is through conv
ersions, sales, sale leads, or simply traffic with a low bounce-rate it's the pe
rson on the other end of the monitor that makes or breaks a website, not the sea
rch engine.
It's important to get your point across and remain precise on each and every pag
e. Remain consistent and treat each page as being of equal value.
Most importantly your homepage should meet the immediate needs of site visitors,
and guide them quickly and easily to the information they need that give them a
sense of trust, show you know what your talking about and that you can get the
job done. It should also encompass an overview of the rest of the website, stati
ng its purpose and the message you're trying to get across. The copy should be p
recise and to the point, so somebody who's arrived at your website will immediat
ely know that this is the place that will best serve their needs.
Copywriters always stress the acronym 'WIIFM' as being the most important factor
when writing sales copy. This means 'What's In It For Me?' and is what any pote
ntial customer or visitor to your website will be thinking when they arrive. The
refore, use the homepage to tell them. If you're providing information, let visi
tors know what they can expect to find and why your website is the place to find
it over anybody else's. If you're selling products or services, ensure user are
made fully aware of how they'll benefit from them.
front load content
Reading from computer screens is not the same and is about 25% slower than readi
ng from printed matter. So, the easier the style of writing the easier it is for
site visitors to absorb your information.
Front-loading content means putting the conclusion first, followed by the what,
how, where, when and why. Ideally, the first line of each paragraph should conta
in the conclusion for that paragraph, so site visitors can:
■Quickly scan through the opening paragraph
■Instantly understand what the paragraph is about
■Decide if they want to read the rest of the page or not
Because each paragraph contains just one idea, users can do all this safe in the
knowledge that if they jump to the next paragraph they won't be missing any new
concepts.
Front-loading also applies to web pages, as well as paragraphs. The opening para
graph on every page should always contain the final message of that page. This w
ay, site visitors can instantly grasp what the page is about and decide whether
they want to read the page or not.
Unfortunately many websites don't adhere to this guideline and end up writing pa
ge content in a story-format. On each page there's an introduction, middle and c
onclusion, in that order. Unfortunately, when scanning through web content we do
n't tend to read all the text. This means, you may easily miss the conclusion if
it's left until the end.
benefits of good content
Good, well written content that's engaging, informative and unique, benefits use
rs.
Obviously, if you're providing a useful resource for user, then you'll inevitabl
y develop a base of regularly returning readers. If you're actually selling some
thing through your website then this increases the opportunities for successful
sales.
But as a side-effect of this, and perhaps most importantly is, improving your se
arch engine rankings.
Links are still gold-dust when looking to rank highly in the search engines and
the naturally formed link will always remain the bedrock that Google was built o
n. If you're providing decent, informative content on your web pages, then peopl
e will naturally link to it. This can be given a boost by promoting your website
around various social networks - the traffic from these sites is notoriously un
qualified and for the most part won't lead to a significant rise in conversions,
but as a way of attracting links into your website, they're invaluable.
tone of content
If your business or brand could talk, it would talk in your tone of voice. It mi
ght say different things or speak in a different style to different audiences, b
ut underlying all those communications there is - or there should be - a single
personality with a distinctive way of saying things.
As the web grows as a publishing medium, online tone of voice is becoming an imp
ortant marketing tool in its own right, providing the benefits of:
■Making your online communications more usable - A clear, informative tone of voic
e helps people navigate your website and get the most from other online communic
ations
■Creating an emotional bond with your brand - A good tone of voice can make intera
cting with your company a really enjoyable experience, making people more likely
to recommend you
■Standing out from the crowd - Having a distinctive way of talking will help users
and customers remember you
■Delivering exceptional service - Making your content informative and helpful can
cut call center traffic, help people get more from your products and enhance you
r reputation for customer service
■Selling more - Focusing on voice can help you use language to engage people about
your products and services

search engines reward good content


Whatever the technical mechanism, Google amongst others, is doing a pretty good
job of identifying websites with good content and rewarding them with high ranki
ngs. Some tips that will see your site rewarded include:
■Updating: Frequent updating of content, at least once every few weeks.
■Spelling and grammar: Few or no errors. No page had more than three misspelled wo
rds or four grammatical errors.
■Paragraphs: Primarily brief (1-4 sentences). Few or no long blocks of text.
■Lists: Both bulleted and numbered form a large part of the text.
■Sentence length: Mostly brief (10 words or fewer). Medium-length and long sentenc
es are sprinkled throughout the text rather than clumped together.
■Contextual relevance: Text contains numerous terms related to the keyword, as wel
l as stem variations of the keyword.