5 ways to immediately improve your writing for the web

Ideas on how to write better website content by Rachel Hodges

Every time you sit at your computer to add a new page to your website or create a fresh product description there is one key question you must ask yourself first. It isn’t ‘How long should I make the page content?’ (although that can be part of your on-page SEO strategy), or ‘Do I have a good image to go on the page?’ (although that can really boost your reader engagement), or even ‘Am I writing in a style that is right for my business (although selecting a suitable Tone of Voice can be so important for creating the right first impression with your site). Read on for the answer and four other inspiring ways you can immediately improve your writing for the web.

#1 Ask the right question

Just before you create any new page you must ask yourself, “What does my client or customer want to know?” Answer this and you’ll be creating essential content that not only want but need to read. You’ll need to be transparent about what you’re offering and thinking about the areas of your business others will be interested in.

For example, you might want to add a staff page to your About section to make your company more accessible. A good idea, but you don’t want to fill it with details of only your very senior staff. They probably don’t deal directly with external queries. Instead, mention how their experience shapes the whole company and give photos and details of more junior, client-facing staff who can actually be contacted with queries and requests.

#2 Carry out my “Easy Test”

Remember, a website only works if its visitors can quickly and easily find the information they’re looking for or complete a task and leave without having to think too much. Decide what are the main tasks or major decisions visitors need to complete while on your site. This might be getting them to understand you’re a specialist at what you do or that you offer something truly unique. You might want them to book a consultation, sign up for a newsletter or buy a product. To work out just how simply you’re making this for them carry out my “Easy Test”.

  1. Think of a question/decision you want to have answered by the website.
  2. Can you find the page with the answer easily?
  3. Do you understood the information and has it given you the answer you were looking for?
  4. Do you trust the information?
  5. Do you know what to do next or need anything else?

#3 Put yourselves in their shoes

It can be challenging looking at your website with fresh eyes as other people see it. So, before carrying out the “Easy Test” on your own site look at your competitors’ or at a site you often use and is great at giving you all the information you need. Remember, everything on your website is a showcase that will be compared by your customers to your competitors so you want to make sure your information always counts and is easily found.

 #4 Answer the common questions clients ask

If clients call you and repeat the same questions you’ve often been asked before they are giving you important insight and first-hand feedback about what they are interested in. Don’t just ignore it and wait for the next call. Instead, think of ways to prominently display the answers on your website. Could you use them as part of a social media campaign and draw readers back to your website for more information?

It may be that the details they’re searching for aren’t relevant or important enough to your business to splash all over the Home page. What you need to do is create a work around. The Home page, or perhaps the Footer, need to be the place you signpost them to. This way they can find exactly what they need, even if it lives a lot deeper in the website.

The reality is, that for every query about missing information you get there are many more people who won’t contact you, assume you don’t have it and move on to see if your competitor does. Keep them on your website and tell them what they need to know.

#5 The who, what, whys and wherefores

The very talented Rudyard Kipling was around long before the web came along but he was absolutely right when he jotted down the poem that starts:

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

What, why, when, how, where and who are your go-to ideas when creating content for your website. These will help you trigger the kinds of questions clients have or resolve the problems they want your help with.

Don’t overload your visitors with detail but layer it on like a cake, so you keep their interest in what you are sharing. Read more about how to do this in my blog post that reveals you how to write for the web using the Inverted Pyramid.

 So, now you know how to tackle that new page, go and get writing!!

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