Quality content is an absolute necessity for a successful website. Any web-savvy person could tell you that without decent content, a website will actually hurt your business, driving customers away. We’ve written about the importance of writing quality content before on this blog, but what does that mean? What qualifies as “Quality Content”? There is no simple answer, but there are a few basic things you can do to make the whole process run more smoothly and result in higher quality content…
For all website content, there are a few basic guidelines to follow. Whether it is a product description or a news article, all of your content should:
- Be directly relevant to your website.
- Be keyword rich.
- Be direct and concise
- Be closely proofread and edited
- Offer useful information. Web users are looking to be informed and to learn about their options, and they can tell the difference between an honest product description and a blatant sales pitch. You should let your products or services sell themselves by providing specific, honest information. Accuracy in the product or service descriptions will ensure customer satisfaction and encourage return business.
While there is a great deal of flexibility about the organization of the key elements of a website, there are a few things that all small business websites should have:
Home Page – This should be a concise and fairly general description of your business. Think of this as the elevator pitch of your website. You want a brand new visitor to be able to tell the point of your business and website within a few seconds. Below this very basic introduction you can go into more detailed information if you’d like, such as…
About Us – This could be a page all about the employees at your business, just about the owner, or a general company history. Either way, this should give the viewer an idea of the ‘culture’ of your business. Give them a hint of your businesses’ personality (just try to make sure that it’s a nice one). When in doubt, a touch of humor can work wonders.
Products/Services – Now you must get into the nitty gritty of the website. You must answer the viewer’s question “What do you have to offer me?” Chances are that, if the viewer has bothered to navigate past the home page, they are already interested in finding out more about what you offer, and possibly looking to buy. As long as your home page gives an accurate idea of what your site provides, the viewer should find what they’re looking for here.
Contact Us – This page should have all appropriate contact info for your business. For a restaurant site, this should include driving directions or a good map, and a phone number. If applicable, include business hours, reservations, etc. Essentially this page should include everything that a customer looking to buy might need in order to make that purchase.
Even if you don’t have a physical location, you need to be accessible for questions or comments from potential customers. This can be as simple as a comment submission form or as elaborate as a detailed quote estimate. You don’t want to miss out on business simply because you didn’t have a way of answering a customer’s questions and your competitor did.
Last but most certainly not least is the early preparation and careful organization of your content:
For the sake of clarity, consistency, and lack of duplication, all of the content for a site should be written and organized outside of the website before you even complete the design. If you put off creating your content until the last second, you may realize that you need to make major changes such as creating new images or completely reorganizing your navigation, and that you’ve just wasted hours of someone else’s time and your own money. This becomes more important and potentially expensive if the site requires special modifications.
Beyond preventing the hassle of having to redo completed work, writing your websites’ content beforehand allows you to organize exactly what your business and your website is about. This will help you to balance the content between pages or by subject, get rid of any unnecessary or weak content, and make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything important. This also means that you will have the time to have another person edit your work or to put the content away for a while – ideally a few days to a week – and return to it later for editing with fresh eyes.
Last, but possibly most importantly, you absolutely need to have all of your content organized beforehand if you’re not going to be populating your site yourself. While you might know exactly where you intend to go with half-written content, and vague instructions, it can be very difficult to translate those intentions to the person who will be wresting with your content, and this can lead to misinterpretations, frustrations, and delays.
You’re going to write the content anyway, aren’t you? So, save yourself a few headaches and complete it all beforehand. In the end, the time and planning you put into it will be reflected in the quality of your content and the speed with which your site can be taken live.