June 11, 2011

Website Content: A Guide for Small Business Owners Part 1

Written by
content-writing

You have just made the decision to take a digital leap and bring your business online, but how do you represent your product or service clearly and effectively within a website?

In the next two blogs we will offer a few tips on how to generate website content for your new or existing business.

Part I – Written Content

Numerous studies and our own personal experience have shown that people don’t read, they scan websites (and newspapers and magazines for that matter). Most of the time, when people come to a website they are looking for specific information: phone number, hours, location, product information, or availability of services. To make it easy for online clients to get the information they need from your website follow these tips:

1. Write your draft content, then cut it half, then cut in half again. Few people will read more than a few lines so keep it short and to the point.

2. Use phrases that your clients are likely to be looking for. If you are organizing a footrace and people will primarily be using your site to sign up or volunteer for the race the phrases “Sign Up” and “Volunteer” should be prominently featured throughout the site.

3. Keep your key words in mind. You should have met with your web developer before writing your content and decided on the key words that are most important for your site. Key words will be used by search engines to help rank your site and they should be meaningfully used throughout your content in an approximate density of 5%.

4. In the words of a favorite author on web usability, Steve Krug, “keep happy talk to a minimum”. Don’t put meaningless self-promoting content on the site just to fill space. Content should have purpose. When writing your content, ask yourself at each step: “what is the purpose of this statement/paragraph/page?” If you can’t answer right away – cut it.

5. Finally, read your content out loud to a friend(s) and see how it sounds. Does it sound like your business? Does it give the right feel that you are going for (professional, friendly, casual, knowledgeable)? See what your friend or colleague thinks.

We hope that will help you get started on writing your website content. Remember - your web developer has a lot of experience reading websites and can offer you guidance as you bring your business online.

In the next segment, we will offer a few tips on getting great photographs for websites.

Ross McClenahan

Ross McClenahan is co-owner and Lead Developer at Tree Top Web Design, a Santa Cruz Web Design firm.

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