A speedy website with flashy images is nothing without solid content…
When creating a new website, it can be easy to get lost in showbiz, focusing solely on the aesthetics and foregoing the importance of content. While dynamic images and Flash transitions can momentarily pique a visitor’s interest, nothing will engage them as effectively as well-written concise content. Unfortunately, this is often too far down the list of priorities.
The content on your website doesn’t just provide information that will encourage visitors to make a purchase, get in touch or think more highly of your brand. It’s also a cornerstone of how search engine results are collated, having a large impact on where your site appears within results pages. Effective use of search engine optimization and regularly updated content can help to achieve the dream scenario of a first-page ranking, while plagiarism or keyword stuffing could actually lead to your site being blacklisted. Keyword stuffing involves using keywords too frequently throughout the site in an attempt to top the search results pages. It’s an unsubtle technique, and one that Google now penalizes.
Although entrepreneurs and marketing managers often decide to save money by producing their own written content, it’s often a counterproductive move. A company director may be an authority on their firm’s products and services, but they might not have the articulacy to make the points that entice potential clients. An entrepreneur might demonstrate their passion for their chosen industry by making their web content unnecessarily gushing, while engineers often struggle to use layman’s terms when describing technical topics.
This is where a professional writer can be of great value. An external copywriter can quickly identify the key messages that need to be presented, as well as using written techniques that combine authority with simplicity. A good freelance writer knows that keeping content short and to the point is more effective than producing lengthy swathes of text, and only an expert will be able to achieve the optimal balance between readability and SEO effectiveness. On top of all that, copywriters know the right places to use an apostrophe, and whether to deploy an Oxford comma. Consumer perceptions of a company can change hugely based on the professionalism (and relevance) of online content, so there’s no room for being amateurish.
The golden rule for web content is to keep things as simple as possible. Not everyone looking for a second-hand car will understand the difference between torque and BHP, and a cookery website certainly doesn’t need a 500-word diatribe about the rival merits of spelt flour and plain flour. The internet is a vast resource whose sheer size is often daunting, and people flit between articles, pages and websites far more rapidly than they would when browsing a newspaper or physical media. Bullet points and short paragraphs are always advisable.
Majoring on the key points is as vital as trimming away unnecessary sentences, particularly for people reading on mobile devices. As reported last month, Google is already looking at whether sites are mobile-friendly or not, and favoring those that are in their ranking results. There are even rumors that Google rankings may be affected by truthfulness – worth bearing in mind before making extravagant claims or being economical with the actualité.
Finally, whether you’ve produced your own content or employed a professional, ask as many people as you can to read it before the website goes live. Each new pair of eyes may identify different issues or areas for improvement, from ambiguous phraseology through to inaccurate facts and figures. If your friends and neighbors spot these errors, it’ll prevent customers and rivals from ever seeing them…