There is much debate within the industry about what the word ‘content’ really means. In reality, content is any information you provide to customers, clients or stakeholders in the form of writing, video or audio. This can be online and offline marketing collateral, such as leaflets and brochures, or news stories and blog posts. In this blog we focus on website content and how to ensure it works for you.
Everyone wants quality website content; it’s what pushes you up the search engine rankings and allows people to Google your site with ease. Your news, blog posts and all general prattle needs to be original, up-to-date and relevant to achieve this.
Yet, even when you hit these three fundamentals and the Google spiders index your site, the job isn’t over. All you’ve done is appease the machines so the humans can find your content. Now your content needs to be accurate, grammatically correct and well-written on top of original, up-to-date and relevant.
Our Writers Inc. survey found 42 percent of respondents would be put off from buying a company’s products or services if the content on its site failed to meet these requirements. This means something as little as a spelling mistake could cost you more than two-fifths of your customers. At that price, can you really afford lazy or incompetent writing on your website?
At Writers Inc. we’ve pulled together five of our top tips to ensuring website content engages with your audience:
- Check, check and check again! Poor spelling and grammar can be damaging. To avoid any nasty mistakes, we recommend using Word to draft any copy for your site – this makes it easier to spot any errors – and using the invaluable spelling check tool. Then, print your document out and read it thoroughly. Finally, get someone else to read through your work – you’ll be surprised at what you may have missed.
- Write for your audience. If you’re writing only for Google spiders then your content will not appeal to a human reader. Know who you’re writing for and write specifically for them.
- Make it personal. Consider the line ‘some of you may be aware…’ When you read this in a letter, do you imagine yourself stood beside all the other recipients, deciding who was aware and who wasn’t? Of course not! It’s a daft phrase that signals to your reader you’re not focused on them and leaves them asking why they should focus on you.
- Cut, cut and cut! So much writing is filled with unnecessary fluff that makes it all the more difficult for your audience to penetrate and take in the key messages. If you can cut out a sentence and the piece still makes sense, cut it!
- Hyperlink. Being able to link to relevant pages and supporting information is a very powerful tool that isn’t used nearly enough in website copy. And it links nicely to point four: sometimes more information would be useful but isn’t entirely necessary; so link to it! A great use of hyperlinks can be directing your customers from one part of a site to another; for example getting them to move from a blog post to the area of a site where a sale can be made.
In this age of digital and mobile communications, 88 percent of people believe the ability to write well is still important. Yet, with communications becoming ever faster, shorter and more immediate, the opportunity for mistakes is wider than ever. Follow these five tips and make sure your content is working to captivate its target audience, or else run the risk of falling into the surrounding white noise.
Writers Inc. is the newly launched department at Acceleris which is dedicated to the production of quality content. It comprises a select team of skilled writers and former journalists who have many years of experience in generating content across a wide variety of sectors.
Also, check out some of the website projects Acceleris has managed in recent years.
By Jack Williams | Google+