It may seem like people would rather look at your website’s images and read a few excerpts here and there, but that is generally not the case. Think back to the last great book you read. It probably had a writing style that really drew you in, from catchy phrases to concise details. Your website content needs to accomplish the same goals in order to draw readers in, and keep them entertained; in turn, this will help them learn more about your company, and what you have to offer.
Quality vs. Quantity
You might feel like you need to write a lot to explain what your company is all about. Just as you probably dread the thought of typing out long sentences for each page, think about how a visitor to your site will feel when he or she tries to read through the content. It is almost guaranteed that visitors would quickly lose interest in the text, and may even stop coming to your site altogether.
The goal is to create content that emphasizes quality rather than quantity.
Bigger is not always better, especially when website content is involved.
Content should be the most engaging part of your website, so it is time to figure out how you can make your content sparkle. Whether it is headings for video clips, paragraphs on your “about us” page, staff bios, or something else, you should create content that is concise and fresh.
Catchphrases – or even single words – are useful, along with keeping the content brief. Many visitors want to see quality content, especially when they are researching a service or product. If your website content is riddled with typos and grammatical errors, it is likely that it will not be taken very seriously.
Creating unique and fun visuals can catch the reader’s attention sure, but more importantly, content posts with images are 90-120% more likely to be clicked on than posts without images. If you scroll back through some of our previous blog posts, you’ll notice that we have an image attached to nearly all of them.
You can take your own photos, or download stock images from istockphoto.com, shutterstock.com and similar services. Then using a service like canva.com or picmonkey.com, you can add effects and text to really make your photo standout.
From books to research papers, everything is easier to read when the font is larger. For websites, having a larger font means less space to use when creating content. In other words, large font forces you to focus on precisely what you want to say. A large font is also more enticing to readers, as they feel like they can browse through the content much more quickly and efficiently.
Focus on the Audience
In order to come up with content that will really wow visitors, you need to consider who the majority of your audience really is. Then, with this target audience in mind, it becomes much easier to give your content a tone and purpose. Even certain words or phrases may be more easily understood by a specific audience, so go ahead and use those as well, if they apply.
Break the Monotony
Large or even medium-sized paragraphs of text can seem daunting, particularly when there are several on a page. Instead of writing paragraphs, try just a sentence or a few sentences at a time to shake things up and keep readers engaged.
Links and photos can help to brighten up a page. Just be sure not to make your page too busy, or you run the risk of discouraging readers.
These are really simple ways to make your content stand out; ones you can start implementing today. Go look through your site and pick one page to improve the content on. You won’t be sorry.
Yesterday I had a meeting with a corporation located in Charlotte. Most of our clients are located around the world, so it’s not often we get to meet them face to face and I get to wear something other than my pajamas.
I started to get ready for the meeting and I hunted down my one pair of dress pants and I grabbed a pretty blouse. As I stood in the mirror, making sure everything looked as it should, I realized how uncomfortable I felt.
Not because the clothes didn’t fit, but because the person I saw in the mirror wasn’t me.
I was pretending to be someone else, someone who wore dress slacks and blouses. It wasn’t intentional, I wasn’t trying to be misleading or fake. But for some insane reason, I was equating “professional” with my attire, instead of my attitude…instead of the service we provide and the expertise, we bring to the table.
We talk a lot about brand messages with our clients, and here I was, being completely untrue to our own brand.
- We are not corporate.
- We are not an agency.
- We are not suits and ties and dress pants and blouses.
- And we love that we are none of those things.
So I tore off that ridiculous outfit and grabbed a nice pair of jeans and a shirt, along with my fluffy comfy clogs and I was all set. When I checked myself out in the mirror, I felt completely comfortable, confident, and professional.
I’m not saying you need to go out there in cutoffs and a wife beater – but be real. Don’t be afraid of who you are or try to fit into a mold of what you think something should be.
Have you ever caught yourself trying to be someone you think other people want you to be or expect you to be?
If so, STOP IT THAT SHIT NOW!
People will either love you or hate you and it’s far better to be hated for being who you are than be loved for someone you’re not. The latter is much too exhausting to maintain anyway.
No one else can be who you are, so take advantage of that.
It’s life lessons people, even in branding. Go figure.
It gets better from there.
As small business owners ourselves, we often struggle with what to blog about. Maybe that's not the greatest thing to admit, since we do consult with other small businesses on what they should be blogging about…however it's not always easy to see the answer for your own business. Just as it's far easier for us to design for others than it is to design for ourselves.
If there's on thing that's true about blogging it's that blogs help businesses. How do they do that?
Blogs help build your credibility by being transparent; being you
Blogs show your expertise by giving your clients things they need to know
Blogs allow your clients (and potential clients) to get to know you by being more than a voice on the other end of the line or an email address
Blogs deliver a platform for instant feedback
Blogs can also significantly effect your google ranking (who doesn't want a little piece of that pie?)
Now that we know why you should blog, we need to know what the hell to actually blog about?
The quick and fast rule
Blog about topics that your target audience is interested in or needs help with
How do you know the answer to that?
Surveys – you can actually go out and ASK them what they need help with. This is a very straightforward and often underrated way to get feedback from your customers. (check out surveymonkey.com) You can also use twitter and facebook for this.
Emails – review client emails. What are their biggest frustrations? What are their most common questions? Chances are these same topics will be useful to other clients as well.
Google suggestions – we all use google so you have probably seen google give you suggestion based on what you type into the search box. These come from real searches from other people and you can use them to narrow in on what your niche is searching for. For example, our client Heather Jarvis might look up “student loan” and see this:
Then based on this information, she could write blog posts about any or all of those topics.
Ask in your newsletter – you have a newsletter right? Good! (if you don't we can help you set one up) The best newsletters engage your readers. A perfect way to do that is to ask them what they need help with. You might think they'll get annoyed but in reality, they'll be happy that you actually care about them enough to ask. Trust me.
Hang out with them – if your business is local, you could become a member of your local chamber of commerce or networking groups (check out meetup.com) or for online businesses visit forums and message boards, social media sites and blogs.
These are just a few simple and easy suggestions on honing in to your target market. What's your biggest challenge when it comes to blogging for your business? (see what I just did there? I'm sneaky!)