Your website isn’t about you; it’s about your customer. If it doesn’t quickly and clearly appeal to them, they won’t even get a chance to read about how wonderful you are – they’ll bounce.
Your content, more than your design or even your product or service, will determine the actions that visitors will take. Here are 10 steps that will help you write the best possible website content to increase sales and connect deeply with your target market.
1. Get to know your audience
To serve your audience, you have to really know them. While your product or service is likely in tune with what your audience wants, content is a little different. You have to know what attracts your target market – what feelings and emotions you can tap into to get them to pay attention to what you have to say and what product or service you have to offer.
- Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups that are filled with your target market to learn how they talk and what they’re talking about.
- Go to in-person and online events geared towards them.
- Interview customers to learn what they want to know and hear. Use these keywords and phrases that resonate with them when building out your copy.
2. Put your customer’s shoes on
When writing website content for a business, I immediately put myself into the shoes of their customer and start asking business questions. “Why should I buy from you instead of your competitors?” “How do you make my life better?” I then ask follow-up questions to get to the root of why they provide the products and services they do, and why customers keep on coming back.
There is a difference between knowing your audience and being able to put yourself in their shoes. After you get to know the target market you’re selling to, you need to act like they would to understand how and why they buy, and how to serve that to them on a silver platter.
3. Know what you’re “selling”
The biggest mistake every business makes when writing their website content is talking too much about themselves or their products. As Story Brand’s Donald Miller explains, you need to make your customer the hero. They only want to know how their lives will be better off because of your business.
When you know what your target market wants and needs and how to showcase your business filling those wants and needs, you can play off of each while writing content for your website. This is where you turn what your customers want into leads and sales.
4. Craft your CTA’s
Each page should be centered around getting the visitor to take a single action. This doesn’t mean you can’t place several links that help your audience find different pages within your site, but it does mean that you should have a clear ask. They need to know what to do next, and you need to tell them what to do. If you have more than one call to action on one page, a customer won’t be as likely to buy from you. Create a single call to action for each page you create.
Example: Let’s get started! Fill out the quick contact form here.
5. Create your Site map
Before you take the bold step of writing content for your website, you need to finalize your site map. I create a bullet-point list of each page and make two - three notes on what will be on the page. Start with the homepage and outline what sections you need to include.
- Homepage: Introduction, Call to Action to About Page
- About: Why Us, Mission Statement, About the Founders, Call to Action to Contact Page
- (About) Employee List
- Services: Overview, Who We Serve
- (Services) Catalog
- (Services) Our Guarantee
- (Services) Testimonials
- Contact Us
6. Write your copy
You now should have everything you need to start writing the content for your pages. To avoid hitting a wall, I recommend planning a specific amount of time you want to spend writing for a specific page, ideally 15-30 minutes. Write everything that comes to mind without worrying about structure, grammar, or length. This is the best way to get all of your thoughts out instead of getting stuck on one idea for too long.
When going through your content, edit to make sure it speaks to your target market and is about them instead of just talking about you and your business. Be sure to read what you write out loud. If it doesn’t sound natural your audience won’t think so either. You’re finished with this step when you can’t think of anything else you need to say or any message to get across.
You’ve built your content up; now it’s time to cut it down. The main pages and sections of your website are not places you want to get too wordy. While blog posts, your FAQ, and about pages can benefit from being written long-form (1000+ words), your goal on your homepage and other frequently visited pages is to get your visitor to make a desired action (purchase a product, submit for a quote, etc.) in the quickest and simplest way possible.
When I go through the content that I’ve written, I take out every word possible that doesn’t change the meaning of what’s written. The longer your copy is, the more likely someone is going to leave before getting to the end of it.
8. Add pictures and design
Trust me; your copy will look completely different after you've adjusted to fit your design with pictures. When I deliver website content to a client, it looks like a text-heavy blog post. Visually-oriented people will rip this content apart because it’s difficult to imagine this text as a part of their new website. Putting your writing into your design and structuring it around pictures will give you a full view, and help you make additional edits so it best fits your design.
Tip: It feels counterintuitive, but never finalize your website design before preparing your copy for the site. Your visitors care about what you have to tell them more than how fancy your design is. By structuring around your content, you make sure you’re getting the right messages across.
9. Test and edit
Testing and editing your content for grammar and effectiveness happen in the same step. Use a grammar tool (I use Grammarly) to check for errors and put this content in front of people who you’ll be selling to. Ask them for their thoughts, what they would change, and if they feel like this content speaks to them.
Tip: Test with people who aren’t close to you and people who are willing to give you brutally honest feedback.
Treat the writing on your website like you do an online advertising campaign. Find what works and adjust as needed. To gauge what’s working and what’s not, keep a close eye on your site’s analytics.
What I find helpful is to track the flow of traffic. If visitors are coming to your homepage and leaving before going to where you want them to visit next, your content can be improved. By tracking how users are coming to and leaving each page, you can constantly tweak and improve your content, specifically the calls to action that lead your visitors to the next page, to find the perfect copy.