How do you define great web content? Good website content has some important factors in common.
By Rieva Lesonsky
Creating web content that attracts eyeballs can seem like an uphill battle, especially if you’re not a born wordsmith. Good news: You don’t have to be a professional writer to create web content that works. Here are the elements the best web content has in common.
1. Goal oriented
What do you want your content to accomplish? Knowing that is the first step in achieving your goal. For example, you might have content to educate readers about what you sell (and why they need it), content to persuade them to buy, content that’s purely product descriptions or content that gets them to follow you on social media.
2. Designed for your target customer
Web content is always more effective if it’s written with a specific person in mind. If you have buyer personas for your customers, imagine those as you write. If you don’t, imagine someone you actually know who fits your target customer profile. If your business target multiple different kinds of customers, that’s OK—just create web content tailored for each of them. For instance, a healthy restaurant might have different content for people following different types of diets. (Learn how to create customer-focused content.)
3. Offers something of value
Good content is useful to the reader. I always tell clients who are trying to think of ideas for web content to start by answering your customers’ and prospects’ most common questions. If you own a dog-walking service, you could create web content such as “How Often Does My Dog Need a Walk?” or “Why Skipping Walks Can Hurt Your Dog’s Health.”
You’ve got to catch people’s eye before they’ll read your content. Write headlines, subheads and captions that convey what your online content is about and what value readers will get from it. Will they learn something, laugh, save money, etc.? Incorporate images and design elements that draw the eye.
5. Uses SEO to get more hits
Search engine optimization (SEO) is key to getting people to your website. Incorporate the keywords people use when searching for companies like yours. You can find keywords using the Google Keyword Planner or the Bing Keyword Research Tool. Long-tail keywords (which have three or more words) can be better for a small business since there’s less competition for them.
Place keywords in your body copy, headlines, subheads, meta descriptions and tags—but don’t go crazy. Stuffing your site with keywords will backfire by hurting your SEO. Read Google’s SEO Starter Guide to learn more.
6. Easy to read
Who’s got time to wade through long, drawn-out content online? Not me—and not your customers, either. Convey the key points quickly with short paragraphs, plenty of subheads, and bulleted or numbered lists so people can get the gist at a glance.
To maximize your audience, your content should be at or below a sixth-grade reading level. Try using Hemingway Editor—it helps you improve readability and assess your writing’s grade level.
A dog-walking website and a law firm will have very different “tones of voice” in their content. Make sure all of the content on your website supports your business brand. Consistency is important to build brand awareness.
All of your online content should include a call to action of some kind. In most cases, this will be something that moves readers closer to buying from you. For instance, your blog post on “How Often Does My Dog Need a Walk?” could end with “Schedule your first dog walk by September 30 and get 20% off your first month.” You can also encourage readers to take more general actions aligned with your business values, such as playing with their dog more often or scheduling regular vet appointments.
9. Supported by your website
Your website can make or break your web content. It’s got to be easy to navigate, attractive to look at, and mobile friendly. Nearly half the time people spend online is on a phone. If prospects are reading your website on a tiny screen, simple text with lots of breaks will help them focus. Mobile-first design ensures your site works on any device. Finally, optimize your site speed—no one’s going to stick around if your site takes forever to load.
Don’t forget to amplify your web content by sharing it (and your URL) everywhere you can, including on social media, in your email marketing, in your email signature line and even on print marketing materials. Put share buttons on your content so customers can easily spread the word. Try these tips to get more results from your content marketing efforts.
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