MP910216414When beginning a web project, often coming up with the written copy is one of the hardest parts. Clients often tell me “I know what I want to say, but am not sure where to begin”. I often feel the same way. Here are 10 tips to crafting better website content.

  1. Begin with a content outline. Decide what the main elements of your copy are, what info goes where.  Then get word counts from your web designer and be sure to use them.
  2. Start with the big questions. For a bio, tell readers who you are, what brought you to where you are now, what are your passions. Do share quirky and pertinent details that are memorable. Don’t share quirky not pertinent details that will only distract.
  3. Answer the searches. How will people ask Google for your product or services? Convey the information you want to share by answering the searches made to find you. Do some searches yourself to see how results vary by framing the question differently.
  4. Do include details. Instead of saying “We sell widgets”, try “We carry wooden wide load widgets for on greased gizmos and green gadgets”. Every detail provides more clues to lead the web visitor through your website. And it also provides more ‘Google juice‘ to enhance your site ranking.
  5. Use the active voice. Imagine yourself in a conversation with the web visitor. Be engaging, answer questions you know they’ll ask, and invite exploration by cross-linking to other content within your website.
  6. Break it up — Readers scan quickly when reading online. It’s actually good to use sentence fragment subheads, bulleted lists and one-sentence paragraphs. Sprinkled liberally with calls to action. (See what I did there?)
  7. Headlines and subheads must use descriptive keywords. Web readers scan quickly, so need to know exactly what you’re talking about before they’ll actually read your content. As Jakob Nielsen advises, use “links and category descriptions that explicitly describe” your products.
  8. Don’t use made up words or jargon. Remember search engines don’t understand clever innuendo or elegant wordplay. Do use terms likely to be used by your audience for searching.
  9. Have somebody else proofread all content. Do it before posting, then again after it’s on the website. Seeing content in action can change context, but always be sure copy is polished before giving it to your web designer. Edits take time, which costs money.
  10. Find a photo. Copy gets more attention if it has a photo or illustration to catch the eye and illustrate the concept. Use stock houses, your own photos, or public domain images to be sure you have legal copyright to use it. Do not just save images you like off the web. That is illegal and reputable web designers will not use them.

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