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How to Write Great Content for Your Website

What Is Great Con­tent?

In the con­text of ser­vice in­dustry web­sites (which is our fo­cus), great con­tent gives the vis­it­or ex­actly what they want from your web­site: in­form­a­tion. A web­site with great con­tent will also be­come more at­tract­ive to search en­gines like Google; boost­ing you high­er to the first page.

People Don’t Read.

Ac­cord­ing to us­ab­il­ity stud­ies by Dr. Jakob Nielsen, the “guru of webpage us­ab­il­ity” said The New York Times, few people read everything on a web page. Why? Be­cause people’s at­ten­tion spans are lower these days and so is their pa­tience. Users want to find what they’re look­ing for as quickly as pos­sible. So in­stead of read­ing an en­tire webpage they scan the page look­ing for whatever stands out. If what they’re look­ing for isn’t found quickly, the vis­it­or will move to the next site.

Here’s what to do about it:

Struc­ture Your Con­tent

The main goal is to find in­form­a­tion, so it’s im­port­ant to place im­port­ant in­form­a­tion first, at the top of the page; make it stand out; use lar­ger head­ings. Sum­mar­ize your in­form­a­tion in a short para­graph at the very top. A sum­mary helps users de­term­ine if the page, is in­deed, what they are look­ing for.

In­stead of writ­ing a big para­graph, break up the para­graphs in­to smal­ler ones, per­haps no more than four lines per block. Use bold sub-head­ings to start off the new para­graphs. Use bul­lets and numbered lists when stat­ing facts. This sets up your con­tent to be scanned by users first, and then read in its en­tirely, when ready.

Para­graph Struc­ture

Start the para­graph with the most im­port­ant point and then ex­pand on this for the rest of the para­graph. If the first line doesn’t in­terest the read­er, they may skip the rest of the para­graph.

Give an­swers be­fore ex­plan­a­tions, give sum­mar­ies be­fore de­tails and give con­clu­sions be­fore dis­cus­sions. Al­ways keep your in­form­a­tion short and to the point.

Note: Spa­cing the lines with­in large amounts of con­tent makes it more read­er-friendly; this is called line-height and it’s a CSS styl­ing tech­nique we em­ploy in many of our web­sites.

Writ­ing In­form­at­ive Con­tent

When vis­it­ors search for ser­vices like yours, they will need clear, to-the-point in­form­a­tion; an­swers to the ques­tions they may have about what you do; give it to them.

This helps your po­ten­tial cli­ents make an in­formed buy­ing de­cision. Know­ledge is power and giv­ing your users in­form­a­tion that helps them make a bet­ter buy­ing de­cision em­powers them. And who do you think an em­powered cli­ent will buy from?

Here’s how to em­power your users: Think about the in­form­a­tion your po­ten­tial cli­ents would want to know and then write about it. Vis­it­ors will want an­swers to ques­tions like these:

  1. What does your com­pany do?
    Make it plain and simple. It shouldn’t take no more than a few lines of text to ex­plain this. Next is the more im­port­ant part:
  2. What will your com­pany do for me?
    List the be­ne­fits from the greatest to the least. Make it plain and simple. This is what every­one wants to know.
  3. How are you bet­ter than your com­pet­it­ors?
    Why should I choose you? How are your dif­fer­ent? List some of reas­ons or even do a com­par­is­on chart.
  4. What are your ser­vices?
    Give a brief de­scrip­tion for each ser­vice you provide. As said be­fore: keep the in­form­a­tion plain and simple – in a short para­graph. Af­ter­ward, you can ex­pound in­to fur­ther de­tail.
  5. Can I trust you?
    This is one of the biggest ques­tions when deal­ing with ser­vices found on the In­ter­net – add some cli­ent testi­mon­ies, BBB rat­ings and oth­er in­form­a­tion that builds cred­ib­il­ity. When re­ceiv­ing So­cial Se­cur­ity and Cred­it Card in­form­a­tion through your web­site, you will need to pur­chase a SSL cer­ti­fic­ate. A cer­ti­fic­ate se­cures your site from any data that could be stolen dur­ing a form trans­fer. When deal­ing with sens­it­ive in­form­a­tion, that little lock icon and the “ht­tps” in the ad­dress bar brings a sense of re­lief as the vis­it­or knows their in­form­a­tion is safe.
  6. How do I reach you?
    List an e-mail, your loc­a­tion (if only the city and state) and es­pe­cially a phone num­ber. People need to know they can reach a live per­son if they need too.
  7. How much does it cost?
    You do not have to list your prices all the time, but if this is a fre­quent ques­tion, list some ex­amples and the gen­er­al cost for each.
  8. Cre­ate a FAQ page:
    A Fre­quently Asked Ques­tion page helps cut down on phone time – an­swer­ing the same ques­tions over-and-over again.
  9. Write art­icles about the stuff you know.
    This is al­ways help­ful for users look­ing for a ser­vice pro­vider, this shows them – you know your stuff.

Early users don’t care too much about your com­pany’s vis­ion or mis­sion state­ment or even its his­tory. While this in­form­a­tion is im­port­ant, this shouldn’t be the first thing the vis­it­or sees. The po­ten­tial buy­er is more con­cerned about their own needs, tell them how you can sat­is­fy their needs.

Fol­low­ing these steps will make your web­site easi­er to read and will def­in­itely help your vis­it­ors make an in­formed buy­ing de­cision. Most web­sites don’t do this and so you’ll be one step ahead of the game.

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