If you’re having a new website built, are adding pages to your existing website or just updating the content on the site, you need to think carefully about the approach you take to writing the content. Before you get started, take a step back and make sure that you’ve thought about these basics.
So, probably not want you want to hear when you’re setting out to write your website content, but you need to accept the fact that most users will not actually read your content. The way that people view content on web pages is very different to how they would do in traditional print media. On the web, users don’t read content but scan it. So bear this in mind when you structure your content – keep to short paragraphs, use subheadings and use lists or bullet points – these all help readers to scan through the content easily.
What is the purpose of the page or the website? Is it to:
It’s important that you think about what you’re trying to get the user to do on the page and structure and write your content to help lead people towards these actions.
Do you know who your typical customer or potential customer is? How old are they? Are they more likely to be male or female? What level of education do they have? You need to make sure that you’ve thought about the typical reader of your content and tailor your writing style to suit them. The most difficult part of this is determining how formal or informal your content style needs to be – it’s a careful balance between remaining professional and not coming across as stuffy or boring. This will obviously depend on the content itself too – for example, it wouldn’t be appropriate to use an informal writing style when discussing highly technical products.
We all want our websites to rank well in search engines don’t we? A common misconception is that including keywords that you want to rank for within your content will help it to do just that – this might have been the case a few years ago, but it certainly is no longer appropriate. Google and the other search engines are much more focused on providing good quality content for searchers – content that is interesting, easy to read and that they would want to recommend to others. If you stuff your content full of keywords, it certainly won’t end up being useful to the end user, and will most definitely not be beneficial to your site’s search engine optimisation.