When watching award shows, we’re accustomed to the rhythm of recipients making a speech when they receive an honor. As we’ve seen, these speeches can veer in any which direction. There are the ones that last only a few seconds and fail to tell enough of a story to the audience, the ones that drag on for too long (cue the music) and cause the audience to lose interest, and the ones that hit the sweet spot of a compelling, to-the-point narrative.
While scenes like these may play out on the actual stage, businesses can undergo a similar experience when it comes to the digital marketing stage — specifically, writing website content. Saying too little on your business website can leave visitors with more questions than answers while saying too much can leave visitors feeling overwhelmed by what they see. In the middle of all this is effective website content writing, where a meaningful yet concise story is told.
Whether you already have plans for a website redesign or are considering one in the future, we encourage you to keep this roadmap for effective website content writing in your back pocket.
1. Conduct Buyer Persona Research
2. Consult Relevant Keyword Research
3. Lead With What Makes You Stand Out
4. Make Your Content Easily Scannable
5. Provide Clear Direction to Visitors
Before you begin to write copy for your website, it’s critical to know who your target audience is, from their titles and responsibilities to their goals and pain points. While you’re likely to have some initial insights on this front, interviews with internal stakeholders, current customers and even lost customers can piece together multiple viewpoints for a more comprehensive outlook.
From there, you can define key marketing messages you want to deliver to your audience on your website — ones that connect with the challenges they face and what they want to achieve.
Consider a telehealth service provider whose target audience includes physicians, employers and medical device companies. While the lead-in on the website homepage — in other words, the value proposition — may be centered around clinical outcomes in preventing and reversing chronic disease (a shared interest point for all personas), subsections could be added to showcase persona-specific benefits. This could be increased profitability for providers, reduced healthcare costs for employers and higher patient engagement for medical device companies.
While search engines may not be one of your personas, they are just as important to think about in the context of effective website content writing. In order for prospects to find your website organically in search results, content must be optimized for keywords that are relevant to your products/services, and have monthly search volume around them. This step is essential for any homepage, and also individual products/services webpages, depending on the business model.
In this case, let’s use the example of an IT consulting company with multiple areas of expertise. While a keyword like IT consulting services would be ideal to target on the homepage, the company could optimize a series of service line pages for terms like operating system migration and upgrades or Office 365 services, to name a few examples.
The exact keyword terms you opt to target should come from two avenues: an SEO assessment of your current website and a competitor keyword analysis (or keyword gap analysis). That way, you’ll know the terms you and your competitors are ranking for, and you can pinpoint which ones are worthwhile to pursue — taking keyword difficulty into consideration (a keyword difficulty score of less than 80 is recommended for targeted keywords).
When prospects land on your website, they shouldn’t have to dig around to determine what makes your solution unique — it should be spelled out right away. While we used positive clinical outcomes in the telehealth example, a unique value proposition is what businesses should communicate first on their website. Crafted to be meaningful and concise, this statement (or statements) highlights the added value of your products/services, versus the competition.
Let’s say you're a manufacturer of custom cases for products. While other competitors in the market only help with the manufacturing portion and lean on external design and supply chain services, you are able to assist with the design, manufacturing and delivery of the end-product. Your value proposition is an ideal opportunity to present yourself as a turnkey solution for custom case needs.
Attention spans are short in the digital world, so it’s important to grab the interest of website visitors fast. While buyer persona insights and a unique value proposition contribute to these efforts, it’s important to think about how information is presented to the audience as a whole. In other words, if readers were to scan a website page — something they are often inclined to do — would they be able to get the gist of your business’s story, and be enticed to keep reading?
One easy way to make your content more scannable is through descriptive headlines. Consider the case where a lab temperature monitoring provider wants to discuss features of their system. Rather than a generic subhead like System Features, it’s a lot more powerful to say What Sets Our Solution Apart from Others in the Market, as it brings key differentiators to the forefront.
It’s also valuable to look for opportunities to break apart your website content, whether that’s in the form of bulleted lists or visual callouts, for instance. The variance in these formats can help draw attention to important information that might otherwise be overlooked by website visitors.
When a prospect comes to your website, you’ve gotten them to their first destination — but is it clear to them where to go next? While a big part of this ties back to the navigation included in a website redesign, it’s just as critical to think about this from the standpoint of on-page content. Knowing the webpages you want to include on your site and the resources you have available (e.g. case studies, videos, blog posts), your web copy should account for these various touchpoints and build connections where applicable.
Let’s circle back to our lab temperature monitoring provider example. With plans to include a How It Works page as part of the new website, the company could add a section to the homepage that briefly introduces the system and then links out to this subpage for an in-depth overview. They could also include a call-to-action further down the page to promote an eBook as a potential conversion point. Collectively, these on-page elements provide more pathways for prospects to follow in their research, with more opportunities for businesses to generate leads.
Every layer of a website redesign plays an integral role in the end result. Quality content, from the perspective of your target audience and search engines, can be thought of as that first layer. Following these guidelines for effective website content writing sets the ideal framework for a fresh design that will get your new website noticed for all the right reasons.