A lot of advice exists about creating blogs, social media posts, and other types of creative content, but one often overlooked skill is designing content for your website. While creative content is fun and exciting to plan and produce, your website will play a crucial role in your business’s overall brand and presence. It’s a business tool that serves multiple purposes:
- A way to be found
- A way to convey who you are and what you do
- A way to market
- A way to generate revenue
When you look at that list, you realize that some serious thought should be placed into your website content development. The question is, how do you do it?
Whether you’re starting from scratch with a business website or overhauling one, you’ll want to do some research before starting your website content development. The overall design is essential to your website’s success. At this juncture, you’re looking at layout, pages, and the information you’ll want to touch on. Research other websites within your industry and find layouts and designs that are functional, user friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and serve multiple purposes; in particular, how the content will drive the consumer through the lifecycle. When you begin to design or refresh your own website, you’ll want to incorporate these elements and list where content will go and what it’s about. You’ll also want to focus on infusing your own brand and voice into the process—the website should become something that is uniquely your business, and highly recognizable.
Although tastes vary, in general there are stylistic characteristics most top-rated websites include:
- Good use of color
- Clean layout (avoid clutter)
- Pictures and graphics
The next step in website content development is to evaluate a few things. Looking at other sites or your own, ask what’s missing from the content. What could you improve on? Is the content current? Is it useful? This is where you’ll begin the actual website content development process. Start determining what needs to be written, rewritten, or revised. Look at the scope of each section; what length will each component need to be? Also, make a plan to create all of the essential content, from a home page to the FAQs. Use your sitemap as your guide. Once you have a handle on what needs to be done, you can move onto the next phase: creation.
A few key aspects should be considered when approaching website content development. It will help you write content that is engaging, personalized, and reaches your consumers effectively.
Voice. You’ll find your voice when you find your target audience. They are who you are speaking to. And speaking of speaking, don’t use your website to sell but to tell a story. People visit websites to learn about a company and its products and services. They want to know how it will meet their needs, and this is done through appealing to their humanness and adding subtle calls to action. While meeting search engine needs is important too, your primary goal should be to reach your customers with content.
Style guide. Even inexperienced grammarists can spot inconsistencies, especially if there are a lot of them. Continuity is imperative in website content development, which is where a style guide comes in handy. Not only can it explain your voice, it will also cover how you want things presented, and allow the writer(s) to keep it consistent and error free.
Convey your unique purpose. Your website should explain why you are different, and what your unique purpose is. You’ll want to generate content that helps you stand out from the crowd. Do everything you can to make your website content compelling; use stats and research, but also make sure that the content is at the right technical level for your audience.
Format. The final aspect of your content is its formatting. While it may be tempting to copy and paste a blob of words, you’re going to want to put more effort in. Add supporting graphics and images, subtitles, lists, and any formatting that makes it more readable. Keep paragraphs short, and use typeface that is easy to read. Your visual impact will be as important as the words themselves.
Website content development is an ongoing process. Keep track of the data, and adjust and reevaluate regularly. Your website is the heart of all your content—make sure to put careful thought and planning into it.