How to write content for engaging your website visitors?
When making changes to your website, embrace the principle “content before design”. Remember your website is like a book with the exception that your visitors don’t all start on page one or even get to see the title. Every page you publish has to have its own compelling title and the ability to direct visitors to other pages that make sense and continue to tell the story. In most cases less than 25% of website visitors actually read all the words on a webpage – most of them will inadvertently scan your content. If someone is seriously researching your business’s products and services – they will want to find and read the most pertinent information within the first 30 seconds. Make sure every page communicates pertinent information” quickly and clearly. Also, each piece of content on your site should fulfill a call-to-action. For example, your “About Us” page should compel visitors to move deeper into the website (such as a “Contact Us” or “Products/Services” page).
One thing that search engines have made very clear recently is that good content is most often written by an expert. Be sure to let search engines and your visitors know why you are an expert. For a dentist this may be having your name and credentials at the bottom of each article as well as a link to your LinkedIn account that provides further information on your background, associations you are a member of, and any articles published. If you are a comedian you can still be an expert. Add links to any significant YouTube videos you’ve been a part of. Link to articles or your tour schedule. Most people are an expert in some way even if it is not as formal as a dentist. Think about what makes you an expert and how you can effectively communicate that across your content.
Follow these best practices for web copy:
- Create concise, grammatically correct sentences and paragraphs.
- Avoid passive tense and repetition.
- Address your web visitors directly with the word “you”.
- Break content up into bullet points and ordered lists to help mobile visitors get the main points quickly.
- Use catchy headers and titles to capture and sustain your visitors’ attention.
- Don’t stuff keywords. If you are not an expert on SEO, just write naturally but be sure to include keywords at least twice on every page.
- Content should be long enough to convey real information and not just designed to get a page up with some keywords on it (blog posts should be at least 800-1000 words, website articles should be at least 400 words).
- Use real data in your content and site it when possible.
- Convey why you are an expert in your industry on every page your write.
Test the readability of your website at www.read-able.com. If your website has a “Flesch Kincaid Grade Level” of 8 to 12, most people will be able to read the content on your website and the search engines will regard it more highly than lower level writing.
Steps to complete this task
Think of your website as a book. When organizing content think of the main topics and sections and sketch out how it all ties together before you even begin to add pages. This will create a cohesive framework from the beginning.
When making a sitemap or sketching out the design for your website, write one sentence that describes the purpose of each page and make this your H1 tag.
Be sure to communicate why you are qualified to write the content you are writing (expert voice). More on this topic is presented in this task’s message.
Be reassuring and helpful with the content of each page on your site – try to give your visitors more than you take. Remember, your content is a product. If you have ads on every page or are asking them to fill out a form, be sure the content is valuable and worth requesting their email in exchange for them reading your content.
Content on most pages should be skimmable (read in 30 seconds or less) in order to sustain your visitors’ interest. Use bullet points to summarize key points, this is especially helpful for mobile visitors.
A good article or blog post should always end with next steps (i.e. related articles or a “contact us for more information” form).
Check out high-ranking content that your competitors are writing. What makes it special? How is it formulated? Every industry is different and you can learn a lot about yours by examining the content strategies of other similar “high-ranking” websites.
Use titles that reinforce the purpose of the page and people will want to click on. A high-ranking page with an unappealing title will not get many clicks.
Use social proof in your titles and headers (i.e. use a header that says something like “Over 50,000 businesses use…”). One good way to find which titles are working best is to search for the term you are trying to rank for. For instance, search for “raw honey” in Google and you will notice the majority of the titles of pages in the top 10 spots also include the word “benefits”.
Mobile users like quick answers to their questions. Write titles that make it clear your content is succinct (“Top Ten Ways to…” “Five Tips on…” “How to Prevent…in 60 seconds”).
- Make your website load faster.
- Make your website navigation simple and intuitive.
- Write web content that your visitors love.
- Identify pages with high exit rates and improve them.
- Create a funnel to improve goal completions.
- Embed social media functionality within your website.
- Use pop-ups and forms correctly.