Today we’re finishing up our guest post from Karen Marcus of Final Draft Communications.
In Part 1 of this post, I listed the four primary elements of website development, and observed that many business owners attempt to create the content (also known as copy) piece themselves. I noted the importance of content, and offered a couple of tips for writing content for your own website. Here are a few more:
Offer a Call to Action
Different customers will be at different points in the sales cycle. This means some visitors to your website may be just lookie loos, while others may be ready to purchase. At every opportunity, offer customers a way to move from the step they’re at when they come to your site to the next one. Direct them on what to do next, whether it’s reading more information, engaging with you on Facebook, setting up an appointment for a free consultation, or placing an order. (This type of direction is known as a call to action.)
Make Your Content Web-Friendly
People reading online have different needs than those reading a book or a newspaper. Web users want to get the information they need quickly, and easily take action. So, you should write content for your own website with this in mind.
There are many formatting options to use for making your web writing readable and scannable:
- Brief paragraphs
- Bulleted and numbered lists
- Bold and italic text
- White space
When writing website content, get to the point. Remember, you have people’s attention for just a few seconds before they decide to read more, or move on. Once you have established the main point, follow up with details, and use hyperlinks to point to additional sources and lend credibility to your copy.
See Effective Web Writing for more on this topic.
Stick to the Basics
A website doesn’t have to be complicated to be helpful to customers. If you’re not used to writing, or not used to writing for the Web, start with just a few pages. But, make sure your site is complete; your website should have at least the following pages (you can always add more content later):
- Home – an introduction to your company
- About – who runs your company, how it got started, your philosophy, etc.
- Products or Services – what you have to offer
- Contact – how to get in touch with you
If all of this seems overwhelming, don’t worry; it is a lot to think about. There are people who do it for a living and still find it challenging. But, those people, called copywriters, are available to help if you need it. Think about hiring a copywriter if:
- You are struggling to get the words out
- You are taking time away from other important matters to try and write content for your website
- You run the content by friends, family, customers, or coworkers and get only a lukewarm response
- Your process is holding up the launch of your website
A good copywriter will be familiar with all of the elements mentioned above and in Part 1, and will make it easy for you by interviewing you about your business and your offerings, then creating web-friendly copy to promote them. Though hiring a copywriter does increase the cost of your website, it may be worth it to get this task off your plate and quickly get your information on out into the world where it can do what you need it to do: bring you more business!
About the Author: Karen Marcus, M.A. is a Northern Colorado copywriter who has been helping clients in a wide range of industries to put their best word forward for 13 years. Karen is Owner and Senior Copywriter at Final Draft Communications, LLC.
© 2011 Karen Marcus & Final Draft Communications, LLC