You know your business needs a website. After all, everyone you meet asks for its address. It’s the easiest way to legitimize and explain your business to people who don’t know you. And it’s one of the best ways to attract new customers.
But what should your website include? What should you say? And how should you say it?
I recently had an opportunity to participate in a forum discussion in Orlando, Florida with several well-respected website copywriters and marketing professionals. We discussed what was important in creating good website content.
Here are some of the key thoughts that emerged in that Florida meeting to help you maximize your website’s effectiveness:
Invest the time and effort in doing it right. Creating a good website is a smart decision that will help your business. Don’t slap together a cheap one; you’ll only end up hurting your company’s image. Hire an experienced web designer if that’s within your budget. It will be money well spent.
Your pages should be full of good information and advice. Leave out the fluff and the flowery language. Get right to the facts. The quality of the information is directly reflective of the quality of your company.
Sloppy copy suggests that your company does shoddy work. The details matter. That means not only should you write engaging copy, you should pay attention to punctuation, grammar and spelling. Hire a professional website copywriter if you want it done right.
Yes, it’s your website, but your visitor really isn’t so much interested in you as he is in what you can do for him. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Explain what problem you can solve for him, and what benefits he’ll receive, and he’ll be a lot more receptive to your sales pitch.
Make your site easy to navigate. Think of your menu as a table of contents. Don’t force your visitors to go searching for information; make it easy for them to find what they need by organizing your data in a logical, well-titled manner.
Big chunks of text are hard on the eyes, and attention spans today are limited. Keep paragraphs and sentences short. Simple is best. Add headlines, subheads, bullets, numbered lists, charts and graphics to help improve the readability of your text.
Make your website look as nice as it sounds. A professional website designer can create a layout and color scheme that supports your brand. Graphics, borders, fonts, photos and artwork can greatly boost the visual appeal of your pages.
By the way, you’re best avoiding the use of Flash. It’s slow to load and most people want information not a little movie showing off your logo or slogan.
If you want Google, Bing and the other search engines to rank your site, you’ll need to optimize your copy by strategically placing keywords in your copy and by writing good meta-tags. An SEO copywriter or website copywriter can be of great value in meeting this objective.
The whole purpose of your website is to get business. So make sure you ask for the sale, whether it’s encouraging the visitor to contact you, subscribe, become a member or buy something. Clearly state what steps you hope the visitor will take. Otherwise, he’s likely to read your website and then just move on, without you ever even knowing he was there.
Some people like to send an e-mail. Others prefer to pick up the phone and call. But almost no one likes to fill out a form. Make it super-easy for visitors to contact you by placing your e-mail address, phone number and also mailing address where they can quickly find it.
Finally, here’s a bonus tip that emerged from my meeting with other website copywriters. Get started on your website today. Don’t wait until you have every piece of your business in place and every loose end tied up. That day may never arrive. Instead, begin the process with what you have now and make a commitment to always be improving.