When it comes to writing content for your website, or anything written for that matter, we tend to freeze and go into a state of panic. Words don’t come quick enough, if at all. And when they do come, they’re just not quite right.
So, you put it in the too hard basket and run away.
I know how you feel. Surprisingly, it’s easier to write content for someone else than it is for yourself. I can write a blog on almost any topic, but ask me to write my about me page and crickets! It took months to write my current one and it’s horrid! 😱
Even though you know you better than anyone else, the writer’s block hits hard. I don’t know if it’s because of perfectionism, not wanting to talk about ourselves or simply thinking why would anyone want to read about me. (Don’t take that literally… they really do want to read about you because they’re there!)
The truth is when it comes to writing content for your website, sometimes less is more. Now I know there are SEO algo’s that we need to keep happy, but they don’t need an essay to rank you and neither does your audience.
Let’s make writing content for your website a little easier by breaking it down into manageable tips.
Write in your voice
This is probably one of the biggest ones for me. I always relate to a website when I read copy that I feel has been written by the person themselves. If you’re a service-based business especially, relating to your audience is half the battle. You can do this by talking to them in your voice. Don’t be afraid to show them some personality. In a world where competition is so strong, you have to stand out and connect with your audience. Almost write as you would speak. (Although, maybe consider leaving out the expletives if you’re French is better than it should be!).
Consider telling a story or sharing a few little details about yourself. You might like to mention that you like sport, coffee or a glass of wine. These things help people relate to you. They’re simple, but they work. A top copywriter I know always mentions Hoola-Hooping – it’s so random but if you know her, it really fits in with who she is and her brand.
You are your brand and your customer will get to know you through your website voice. Sometimes this is the only contact you will have with them before they make their decision to contact you!
Focus on your customer
Make sure your content focuses on your customer not on selling. After all, they are the ones who need your service, so tell them why and how you will help them!
One of the key ways you can do that is solve their problem. With so much competition out there, you need to speak directly to your customer and tell them how you will solve their problem. How does your product or service make their life easier. Think about it as an elevator pitch. A 1 -2 sentence paragraph that explains what you do, who you do it for and why they need you to solve their problem.
I love a good elevator pitch or introductory paragraph. It gets straight to the point and gives you a good base to elaborate on through your site. It doesn’t have to be long, just enough to speak to your target audience.
For example, this is my elevator pitch:
I help service-based business owners build an online presence through WordPress without the scary overwhelm that owning a website can bring. I do this through easy to navigate website designs, website management and training that allows business owners to take back control so they can focus their time and energy on their own business rather than their website.
The problem I solve is allowing business owners to take back control of their website so it doesn’t dominate their business. Whether that be designing their site so they don’t have to spend hours on Google or managing updates so they don’t have to waste their precious time. Most business owners I work with are not web designers, so the last thing they want to be doing is updating their website when they could be working on their own business. I also solve the problem of learning how to use a website through training, so business owners who do have the time to spend on their site can do so with confidence.
Tip: I love adding the elevator pitch or an intro paragraph to the home page just under the main header so it’s front and centre. It’s important for people to see what you do from the get-go so they know to keep scrolling for more.
Keep your sentences short and readable
If you’re using the SEO Yoast plugin – you will most certainly be shown this if you’re doing my DIY Website Workshop – then it provides an awesome ‘traffic light’ system for readability. Readability is how easy your blog or page is to read for the average user. It takes into account sentence length, words used, the tone and how it’s set out.
Most people skim when they read, so making something easy to skim is the key. This means using headings to break up content and having shorter paragraphs and sentences. Think of it as pretty much throwing everything you learnt in English class out the window. There’s no room for essays here. It’s simple, short, sweet content.
- Keep your paragraphs to a few sentences at most. The less wordy something looks the easier it is to read.
- Keep most of your sentences to less than 20 words.
- Use transition words to link it all up. Words like so, but, however etc.
- Write in an active voice rather than a passive voice.
- Use bold or italics to highlight certain key areas.
As I just mentioned above, the use of headings and sub-headings helps break up content and highlight key points. You can use them when you’ve changed a subject or to simply highlight key words and break up long blocks of text. It draws the eye to the next section.
You can see through this blog, that even though it is text heavy, it’s broken up with headings to define topics and key points. If you skim this blog then you can get the general idea simply by reading the headings. Although you may not understand its context!
For SEO purposes, the use of headings is also really important. It helps Google to identify key words or relevant information on your site. Adding keywords into your headings is a big tick for SEO.
Headings come in a hierarchy. H1 is the top heading (usually your page name in WordPress) and you will only have one H1 per page. It tells Google the main topic of the page. Having any more is bad for SEO and confuses Google as to what your page is about. H6 is the lowest heading and not used as much. I tend to use H2, H3 and H4 headings a lot in my copy – I use H2 on my header images or the first visible heading on my page.
As you can see, when it comes to writing content for your website, there are easy changes you can do to open the communication lines with your audience. It’s not about dumbing it down or making it so a 5 year old can read it. It’s about speaking to your audience in a voice that resonates with them and shares your message clearly and concisely.