Four things to consider before writing web content

Having a website is important. I’m sure you know this already. To me, not having a website is much like not appearing in the Yellow Pages 20 years ago — it’s expected.  The steps you must take before writing web content.

Without a website you are invisible to many potential clients and, quite frankly, you can seem a bit behind the times to your clients.

However, before you rush in feet first to join the 21st century, there are a few things to think about — you must make a plan.

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1: What do you want to achieve?

When I worked in sales, my manager taught me to be clear about my objectives before visiting clients. There were several possibilities, like getting a sale, finding out information or, perhaps, solving a problem for a client. I’d very rarely drop in to chat about the weather (unless relationship building was my objective).  After all, with their salaries, company cars and cell phones, etc., sales people are expensive. They need results to justify their existence.

Your website should function as a ‘silent sales person’ and support your objectives — it must pay its way.

So, what objectives might your website have? You may want it to:

  • build brand recognition
  • build a data base (get people to sign up to your newsletter)
  • get direct sales (add to the basket)
  • get people to contact you.

 

Whatever your objectives, you should determine what they are first.

2: What do your clients want?

It’s not about you, it’s about your clients — a cliche, I know, but true none the less. So, your content must be based around your clients.

When someone visits your website, they will be looking for answers. They may want to know:

  • Can you solve their problem?
  • What do they need to know that they’re not aware of?
  • Are you stable and trustworthy?
  • Do you understand their needs?
  • What are your values?

 

You should ask these questions before writing your copy. Rule of thumb: Everything you write should have a purpose. If it doesn’t, leave it out.

3: Tone of voice

Your tone of voice expresses your brand and personality. In an over-crowded market, it’s an effective way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. The structure of your sentences determines your tone of voice. For example, an accountant may want to portray a serious image and use formal language in the third person. A cafe owner, on the other hand, may want to portray a fun and creative image and use casual language in the first person.

Whatever you decide, it is important to set some guidelines and be consistent.

4: Search engine optimisation (SEO)

SEO is the process of preparing content for search engines, like Google. There are many elements to SEO and the rules often change. However, if you focus on well-written content that answers your clients’ questions you can’t go far wrong. One key element that is still important is the use of keywords in your content and title tags.  As a web copywriter, I spend several hours researching keywords before I write anything.

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What is a keyword? 

Keywords are the words or phrases that people use when searching online. It is important to know what keywords your clients are using in order to incorporate them in your copy.

They fall into two categories: Short-tail and long-tail. A short-tail keyword contains one to three words (web copywriter); a long-tail keyword is longer (How to write content for a website). Though long-tail keywords are searched for less, they are generally more valuable  because they are more specific.  If someone finds your page using a long-tail keyword they are much more likely to be interested in what you offer.

How to find keywords

Think about the questions your clients may ask. That is a good place to start. You can also study the keywords your competitors use by visiting their websites. All you do is right click on the text and then click ‘view page source.’

Once you have compiled a list of keywords, you can use tools like Google keyword planner to gauge how much competition there is for a keyword and how often it is searched for. To be honest, Google keyword planner isn’t particularly accurate as it only relates to keywords people use in Google Adwords. However, it still provides a guide.

Too many businesses seem to think that just having a website is enough. This might have been the case 10 years ago. However, today it is an on-going challenge to compete against the multitude of other websites in you niche. If you take these four steps before you start, though, you will certainly be on the right track.

What do you think? If you found this post useful please share. What steps do you go through before you write web content?

  1. Hi Andrew
    Thinking before you write, what a great concept :> But people do need reminding that planning makes all the difference in anything that we do.
    I must admit that perhaps I do not do enough of this. I do not consider myself a skilled writer (unlike yourself, who is doing it as a pro I see), but I like to think I do a reasonable job.

    Don’t meet many kiwis on the blogging circuit, so nice to meet you! I am living in Switzerland at the moment, and from Melbourne originally

    have a good one
    ashley
    BTW your captcha is killing me – 4th try, perhaps rethink that for more comments :>

    1. Hi Ashley, thanks for your feedback. Are you a Kiwi originally? As for the Captcha, I have disabled it. I would hate to think people were having difficulty commenting. If they’re anything like me, they wouldn’t bother if it was a hassle. Thanks for your perseverance and for letting me know.

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