So, you’vecreated a website design you’rehappy with – at least for now.
Now it’s time to start thinking about your site content – what you’ll say, and how you’ll say it!
I’ve broken up this post into the following 4 parts:
- COPY – The Words on the Page
- IMAGES – Bring Your Page to Life
- VIDEO – Increase Engagement and Build Trust
- BLOG – Educate and Inform
Let’s start with #1…
#1: COPY – The Words on the Page
Despite the prolific use of images and video online, the words weuse are crucial in how we communicate and connectwith our intended audience. If you’re wondering, “copy” is the term used to describe thewords used on a page – online or offline. A “copywriter” is someone who, not surprisingly, is paid to write the words you read on websites, magazine ads,flyers, catalogues and so on.
We’re talking here about the copy you use on your website pages, such as your Home Page, About Us, Contact Us, Services etc.
But what sort of copy should you usefor your website?
Be Yourself – Be Real
As a small businessowner, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to “look like the big boys”. To portray a “bigger image” so your prospects think you’re “bigger” than you really are.
Personally, I think this is a mistake – many people today want to connect with smaller, less complicated, less bureaucratic businesses if given the choice. “Big business” has in many ways lost its attraction.
Your customers want to do business with YOU and your PEOPLE – not some large faceless, soul-less organisation.
General rule of thumb: write your copy as if you weretalking face to face with the reader. One on one. Think “personal chat” vs “public lecture”.
Beyond this, my recommendation is to give your reader as much information as they need to make an informed decision about your products or services. Normally, this can’t be accomplished in a one sentence description of site content.
Quick Tips for Copywriting Content
Here’s a summary of what I’ve found works well with online copy:
- VARIETY: Mix up your sentence length. Try 4 word sentences. Sometimes, 3 words. Or two. One! You get the idea…
- UNIQUE:Sometimes, cliche’s work… because they’re cliche’s for a reason, right? But most of the time, they’re redundant and meaningless. Replace tired phrases with fresh descriptive sentences that relate specifically to your business
- DESCRIPTIVE:Without being “hypey”, tell your prospects as much as you can about your products or services. Describe the weight, the smell, the colours, the results they’ll enjoy, your processes for doing business & how they’ll be taken care of as a customer or client
- “YOU”-FOCUSED:Your website content is being read by one person at a time. So as mentioned before, write your copy as if you’re writing to thatone person! For example:
“Now you can get a high quality <service> at a rate much lower than you thought possible.” “The experienced ABC Services team will help you with any questions you have along the way.”“You don’t need to put up with<the problem you solve> any more. With just one call, you can take the first step to solve <the problem> forever.”
- BREAK-IT-UP: Use headings & sub-headings to divide your copy. Breaking up your copy makes it easier to read because it looks less like “hard work”. Sprinkling your copy with images (discussed later) can also help with this
- KEYWORDS: Without overdoing it, you should include your preferred keywords and related keywords in your page & post titles, your headings and your body copy. This helps Google (and your reader) know that your site content relates to the search phrases you wish to rank for
#2: IMAGES – Bring Your Page to Life
I love reading books, especially books about business, marketing, self-improvementor the lives of successful people. A well-read book can conjure up powerful images in the mind, using words alone.
But if there are photos included in those books, I still find myself drawn to those first.
And that’s because we are visual creatures – in any test I’ve seen, the human eye is naturally drawn to images first,text second.
It’s no different with your website. To keep your page content pleasing to the eye, improve reader engagement and provide a better user experience, you will want to include quality images throughout your site.
Here are a few quick tips for using images on your website:
- UNIQUE:Stock photos (royalty free images used in marketing materials) are readily available at sites likeShutterstock and iStockPhoto. These sites and many others offer high quality professional photos, ranging from free to several hundreds of dollars. The problem is, everyone has access to these same photos for THEIR website! This can result in the same tired “Happy posing family” photo appearing on your site & all of your competitors (I’ve seen it happen!). Wherever possible, avoid using the image “as is”. Use Photoshop (or the free alternative, GIMP) to apply a colour change, a watermark or some other adjustment to make the image unique for your site
- LEGAL:This point may seem obvious, but it’s not. It’s too easy tofind an image via (say) Google Images, downloadit & use it on your own site.Unfortunately this can – and frequently does – result in copyright infringements. Be sure you have the rights to display any image you use, before including it on your website
- QUALITY:Small, low quality images can do more damage than good. Always start with the highest-quality images you can source, then scale them to a web-friendly size using a software tool such as Photoshop or GIMP. Use photos or vector graphics wherever possible
- SIZE:Large photos look great, but can result in long loading times for your visitors… which can also impact your Google rankings (Google don’t want their users waiting a long time for website pages to load). In general, use the JPG (“j-peg”) format for photos with around 30%-60% compression
#3: VIDEOS – Increase Engagement and Build Trust
Many people don’t realise that YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world. And guess who owns YouTube? That’s right – Google!
When society looks for answers online then,the chances are high that a YouTube video (or three) will appear in Google’s search results. So as a small business owner, it makes sense to create videos which not only introduce you, your business and your team, but also provide video answers to your customer’s biggest questions.
The details of how to createonline marketing videos is another post seriesfor another day (give me time!), but for now let’s focus on the intent of this blog series – to provide you with the basics you need to get started on your own website!
There are fourmain reasons why you want to consider using video on your website:
- Theyincrease visitor engagement, which increases the average amount of time spent on your pages – a criteria for Google’s rankingcalculations
- They educate your customers, reducing the number of questions your team receive
- They build belief and credibility – it’s one thing to say how great your services or products are, it’s another thing altogether to demonstrate those same services or products in action
- They enhance reputationwhen you use them to video testimonials ofhappy clients
Video recording – it may surprise you, but an iPhone or equivalent smartphone which records HD video is a great place to start! Either that or a regular HD video camera. Don’t forget the tripod to avoid shaky-cam!
Video editing – I use & recommendSony Vegas Home Studio (Windows).You may choose to start for free, withWindows Move Maker (Windows) or iMovie (Mac) – Final Cut (Mac) is the preferred “paid” option, but it may be overkill when you start out. Using the software, you’ll want to create a standard branded title & intro which you can use across all your videos for consistency.
Video embedding – once you’ve created your video, if your site is built on WordPress, it’s very simple to insert your video via the built-in tools. You can also choose third-party plugins for extra functionality if you want to get fancy.
Onlinevideo tools – sites such as Animoto andPowtooncan allow you to create different styles of videos for a monthly fee. We use premium editions of both these services for ourselves and our clients, and love the results they produce.
What to Record
There are so many options for what you can record, you’re going to be limited by your imagination (and time!) more than anything.Here’s some ideas to consider:
- Introductions – of yourself, your team, your premises
- Product overviews – review related products for your customers, or demonstrate your own products in use
- Testimonials – having your customerssaying great things about your business is very powerful! It’s something we’reworking on doing for our own site, and will be encouraging our customers to do likewise
- How-To’s – educate your client in how to use your products, or how to fix a common problem you see them facing. Turn it into a series to build momentum & awareness
#4: BLOG – Educate and Inform
Regular site updates are an excellent way to keep your site ranking (it shows Google you’re still active), attract more web leads (by syndicating the content through your social media platforms) and educate your clients.
Just like this blog series is aiming to do!
How to Start Blogging
If your site is built on WordPress, then you can practically start any time you like. You’ll need to give some thought toyour blog Categories, and how you want to layout your blog – butyour WordPress theme should have options to assist with this.
On the other hand, if your websiteisn’t built on WordPress, the good news is you can still install an instance of WordPress under a sub-directory (such as www.YourSite.com.au/blog). You can ask your website administrator / IT guy to do this for you. Or you can use an online guide to help you do this yourself. Check out the excellent guides onWPBeginner(no affiliation) to get started.
What to Blog
One great way tokeep yourself focusedon regular blog posts is to create blog series (like this one) to help your prospects solve problems they’re facing. Of course, it helps if you also providepaid solutions tothose problems!
Youmay also choose to write aboutcompany updates (staff movements, new product launches,media attention and so on).
For great blogging ideas, it’s hard to go past the brilliant Darren Rowse from ProBlogger.com – one of the leading blogging experts today. Check out hisLinkedIn post for some inspiration.
Quick Blogging Tips
- For best results, you’ll want to keep your blog posts “chatty”. Business-boring has no place here!
- Keep your content interesting and on topic with your business
- Use at least 300 words in each post
- Make good use of your blog Categories to maintain a logical structure and help your readers find relevant content
- Include original, unique images
- Add a video from time to time for more variety!
- Don’t use the hard-sell in your blog – educate, inform and share. You can link to your services or products, or mention how they can help your reader,for sure… but a pitch fest will turn your reader off very quickly
You’ve now discovered – at a high level – the 4 areas of site content to focus on, to help your site attract quality web leads.
If you have any specific questions not covered here, feel free to reach out to me & I’ll answer your questions the best I can.
Keep an eye open for the next blog post in this series, #3: Lead Capture.