I recently had the pleasure of writing a guest blog post for the Red Kite Creative blog. Red Kite Creative is a Northern Colorado web design agency that creates custom websites for small businesses. Owner Debbie Campbell asked me to put together a piece to help her clients and readers who want to write their own website content. The result was a two-part post, titled How to Write Content for Your Own Website. I’d love for you to click over and read both Part I and Part II, but I’ve included the highlights here:
When you develop a website for your business, there are four essential elements:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Most people do not have experience with the first three, so will typically hire someone else to do it. But, most people do have experience with writing, so may try to write content (otherwise known as copy, or text) themselves. While this can work well, there are some pitfalls to be aware of: You may be too close to your subject to write about it objectively, and you may be tempted to write in terms of features, rather than benefits, a common error for those writing their own content. But, there are some strategies professional writers use that you can too:
Understand the Difference Between Features and Benefits
A feature is something about your business, products, or services. A benefit is how that feature helps your customers. To turn a feature into a benefit, try the “so what” trick. Say your feature is “My toaster oven has three different settings.” Now, ask, “So what?” Your answer might be, “Food is cooked perfectly every time.” There’s your benefit! For best results, present a balanced mix of features and benefits.
See Features and Benefits 101 for more on this topic.
Gain Audience Awareness
When you write content for your own website, be sure you know who you’re “talking” to. See if you can come up with a composite description of your typical customer. The more specific you can be, the better. If you don’t know much about your customers, try offering a free product or service if they fill out a questionnaire asking about their interests.
Now that you’ve identified your target customers, focus on their concerns. Think about what they want to know, and provide that information. Promote your services in a way that responds to their needs.
See Get in Tune With Your Readers for more on this topic.
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.
Make Your Content Web-Friendly
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
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
Know When You Need Help
Think about hiring a professional 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, 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!
For more information, read the entire post! Feel free to share your comments there or below!
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.
Need help with your website copywriting? Karen can help! Click here for contact info.