Writing Effective Website ContentA website works in three simple steps. Visual, context, and contact. That’s generally the order it goes in as well, so you need to ensure your website has these three things, and that these things are loud and clear.
Visual. This is the look of your website, the feel you want to convey about who you are and what you do. At Activate Design, this is what we do best. We develop the look and feel of your website to best portray what you have to offer. Through both visual images and the graphic design and layout of the site, we aim to show your potential or existing clients the products and services they can benefit from by choosing to do business with you.
Context. Once you’ve got their attention through the look of the site, the ease-of-use and the images portrayed, you need to give them the information – right then, quick and clear so they will stay on your website to find out more.
Contact. People have seen your site, liked it enough to read your context, and now they will contact you. Three easy steps, but not easy to get right. The way in which you portray your website will mean the difference between having a website working for you, or being a drain on your time and energy.
What is important for you when having a website created, is passing on the information that will become context on your website. This is the challenge because, though our designers here at Activate can create a graphically stunning site, we don’t know your business the way you do, and we never could. Your knowledge of your own business and the industry you work in is the way to sell yourself, and you are the best person for the job. So as follows we have given some notes for you on how to get that information onto paper so we can put it out there for the world to see how valuable your knowledge, time and effort truly is.
Context – the trick of it.Headings need to be clear and meaningful. Most people browsing your website will only read the headings. Make headings the highlight of the products/services you offer.
Paragraphs must be clear and informative. Web information is less about concentrated reading and more about scanning for the kind of information that is required. Don’t worry about not giving enough information; it’s more about giving the right information in short bursts. With the right style, your future client will contact you personally for extended information and you will then have a chance to show your full knowledge and capability in your industry. Short to medium length sentences work best. Lists work well and are a good way to start noting down your information. List the benefits of choosing your products and/or services. Use highlighted or bold text to pinpoint your important features.
Keywords are essential. These are the words people will type into a search engine to find your type of business. Note down these important words and include them in your context.
Be The Client. When writing, think of the client and what they may need to know. They are looking for proof that you know the industry you work in, that they can trust in your knowledge and capability enough to do business with you. They are looking for the variety you offer, the level of quality and service, and in most cases the time frames you can work within. Any of this information you are not prepared to layout online you can simply mention, so they client knows you have the foresight to work it out with them if a business relationship commences.
Website Layout – building the labyrinthHomepage is your first and best chance of catching attention. Shout out what you do – scream it! But clearly and informatively please. The homepage of your site should be straightforward and punchy, with links to other pages easily located, and written information consisting of cleverly chosen headings and clear ‘skimmable’ text.
The website visitor wants to know in about 3 seconds whether they should be on your site or not. A few glimpses at your images and headings should tease them to read more, or will send them on their way.
Products. These may need to be broken up into categories or pages for easy understanding.
Any pictures included will benefit from having captions for brief explanations - the visitor doesn’t want to be left to guess what it is you’re trying to convey.
Services. Your first goal is to state the benefit of your service to your visitor. Your potential client wants brief information, then more detail, information and options. If they only want the basics they will skim your headings and that will be the decider. The best way to show your services is to list them clearly, rather than have longer sentences. Bullet points or lists for the keyword points are a good idea, with more detailed information underneath or through a link to a more in-depth page.
Company Information. This is a trust-gaining page. You are proving your own credibility. The visitor may wish to know when the business started, what achievements or awards your company has gained, and how many staff your team consists of. They may wish to know your business goals such as a “mission statement”. It may be of benefit to briefly state any evolution your business has undertaken to show growth in your industry. Any photos you choose to include in this section may assist the client in feeling they know you, such as images of friendly staff, or a photo of your location from the road so they can find you better. A map is a great idea. Your contact information must be easy to spot, as this is of greatest importance on the page.
Testimonials - again about credibility. Prove you’ve done it before and can do it again. But more than that – prove you’ve outdone yourself so well that previous clients have wanted to tell the world how wonderful you are. Websites with testimonials will facilitate trust far more than those without.
Gallery. This is an essential attention-grabbing tool for websites in any industry. Even if it’s a photo of your staff at work or your tools of the trade, go to the effort of having some images available to assist in portraying what you offer. If you can have a lot of photos even better, your website visitors may wish to skim through your images rather than read your context so ensure you display a range of quality photos highlighting what you have to offer. Again, having a caption under photos will add emphasis and clarity to what you are portraying.
SummaryHave a home page that is inviting and clear, with links and pages which are simple to traverse.
Establish credibility for yourself by portraying your knowledge, backed up by testimonials and photographs.
Put yourself in the shoes of your potential client and try to fulfill their immediate knowledge requirements about your company, products and services. Include clear contact information.
Include a call to action such as “contact us now!” - something that pushes them to act immediately rather than continue searching online. You are selling yourself as the best in the biz.
Have headings that are main points of your products/services, and context that is informative, ‘skimmable’ and simple enough to convey what is special about what you offer.
Make your information valuable and keep it up to date.
Let the visitor gain familiarity with your company and/or brand.
Most of all, allow your enthusiasm for what you do come through in your website, which is your most accessible and versatile medium. State why you should be the first choice, and your unique angle in the products and services that you offer.
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