Part of my job is to review websites and to find issues that could negatively affect SEO and more importantly, sales. A common problem I see is really bad, crappy, content. By bad content I don’t just mean just grammar and spelling issues, I mean content that is no way helpful to the user, hard to read, boring, and serves no obvious purpose.
The good news is content can always be changed.
I understand that many businesses do not want pay for a good writer, but they are often sabotaging themselves by not investing in not only a writer, but also a marketing consultant/company to help them. Writing and marketing is done by real professionals. Business owners cannot read a marketing article or two and assume they can suddenly handle their content, SEO and integrated marketing strategy!
If you cannot afford a large marketing package or ongoing services, hire a consultant.
Many consultants are open to helping businesses on an hourly basis. Just contact some and discuss your needs. I have clients that pay me monthly for a certain number of hours, and they always have someone else to run ideas by. All businesses need an objective point of view from someone that lives and breathes marketing on the Web to give them good ideas and structured strategies.
Some Page-to-Page Writing Guidelines
I am going to give the basics, but please know that these are just the basics. There is a lot more to consider when writing website content.
On main services pages, especially, you need to have content with the following:
- Headlines for scanning!
- The top headline should immediately tell the reader what service they are looking at.
- This top headline should be immediately followed with why the service is needed and how the service will help the reader. #Sell
- There needs to be an SEO strategy for each page that supports the overall SEO strategy for the entire website! (<- read this again, critical)
- The content should create trust and persuade.
- The content needs to reiterate why the reader needs the service, how they will benefit from the service, and why your company is the right one for the job (but do this subtly).
- Find a way to nicely integrate related services that might interest the reader.
- Offer a call to action.
- Content should read like it is for the reader, but be focused on SEO. This isn’t easy. (while doing all of the above)
Every single sentence on a website should serve a purpose and all copy should be carefully planned.
To start, goals for the overall site need to be established and then you work on goals for each and every page. Businesses, get on the right path of choosing the right goals by starting with the following:
- Talking to sales people; they know what works and what people need to hear.
- Checking out competitors. What are they doing and how are they ranking for service terms?
- Talk with other employees and get their insights.
- If you have a current website, do a page-to-page audit.
- This is not a must, but a good idea: Talk to current clients and ask them what they would want to see, what is missed currently, and what was it that made them choose you.
- Research (this is a whole other article)
Compile this data, but before anything is written, there needs to be an SEO plan in place so it can be merged into the content.
The combination of good, planned content and SEO is a win for any business.
I don’t think any business can come up with an effective SEO strategy for their website and pages without the help of an experienced and educated SEO. Keep in mind, an SEO consultant cannot do their job without the client educating them on what the business does and where it makes its money. With the right company, a partnership is formed with both parties focused on goals.
Hire a Copyeditor – A Real One
There are many people out there selling themselves as “copyeditors”, and perhaps they really believe they are great at it, but many are not. Have a real copyeditor review the content for grammar issues, misspellings, difficult to read sentences and a lack of flow. DO NOT allow the copyeditor to make permanent changes (except for spelling). Just let them send you recommendations page to page. I will explain why.
If you worked with an SEO/SEO Copywriter on your content, nothing should be changed without the consultant/company reviewing the proposed changes first. They planned content a certain way for a reason, so don’t change their work. Discuss any issues you see with your consultant and they will make sure everything is right.
A real copyeditor will ensure that you look professional in your copy.
The appearance of “professionalism” creates trust, and trust leads to sales.
I cannot really express in words how critical great, researched, planned and optimized website content is. Unfortunately, many believe themselves to be great writers, but they are not. If you have written for your site and hire a consultant, or SEO company, please be open to hearing that changes need to be made.
All businesses need content that represents their business in a positive light and that clearly/easily explains to the reader what services the business offers. SEO and conversion should are always a top priority as well.
For more suggestions: Content Marketing Beginners Suggestions for Businesses: Where to Start
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Xebeche and Gunnar Pippel