How to Write Effective Content for Your Website

Business Owners

Photo by UnsplashWriting content for your site is no easy task. Even if you enjoy writing, writing the content on your website can be overwhelming and at times, seem pointless. Who reads this stuff anyway? I get it. You’ve got a business to run, a life to live, hummus to pick up at the grocery store.

But writing for your website isn’t pointless. In fact, if you know how to do it, your content can be highly effective in bringing in new business, getting subscriptions to your newsletter, or even just moving your site up in Google rankings so future potential clients can find you.

Write original content

Many people tend to view the internet as a vast mess of text. It’s so big, who would know if you copy a paragraph here and there? Well let’s start with Google. Google not only can tell when you’re using someone else’s content, they also penalize you for it.

And let’s just remember why you create content in the first place – it brings customers in and introduces them to your brand. If you’re copying someone else’s text, that’s really not going to communicate to the reader who you are. Think the text is too general for anyone to know? Then you’re probably copying bad text.

Now that you’re writing original content, don’t forget to proofread!

Organize your content well

Organization isn’t usually included in lists about creating content but it should be. The goal of writing is to communicate; if the reader can’t figure out your headlines from your sidebar, or your bullet points from your text, there is going to be very little communication happening.

This doesn’t just apply to your posts and pages, either. Organizing your content means making sure the three items on your homepage below the slideshow focus on the three things that will sell you to your client. It also means making it easy for users to find the next article in a series or find the contact information. Make it easy for your readers to find what they’re looking for.

A good way to double-check this? Ask a person who isn’t particularly computer-savvy if they can find something on your site.

Act Natural

Your high school english teacher ruined your writing. They removed any shred of personality while forcing you into a tightly constricting template that does nothing for the reader. Don’t believe them. In fact, besides basic grammar, completely ignore those high school rules.

Instead, write naturally. Your sentences shouldn’t be isolated moments in time, but flowing thought processes that take the reader from the premise to the conclusion in a beautiful arc of text. Forget the dry research papers and engage with your reader. Have a voice! Make a joke (if you’re funny); be honest (if you’re not). Don’t strip your personality from your page.

Include an Image

Images break up text and draw people in. They make the 4 page article you wrote seem less daunting. They’re also great for allowing users to share on social media.

But you can’t just pull an image off Google. Unless marked otherwise, images are protected as owned by the people who originally took them or bought them. But don’t despair! You don’t necessarily have to buy your images. There are free image repositories out there if you know how to find them.

Google’s image tool: When searching for an image on Google, choose “Search Tools”. Then, under “Usage Rights”, choose “Labeled for Reuse”.

ImageInject: a free plugin, you can install it on a WordPress site and it will allow you to search from your page or post for creative commons images.

There are lots of other sites you can also use for free images, but be careful; stealing images can land you in a world of trouble. If you have other sites you use, let me know in the comments!

Use EMV words to encourage responses

EMV stands for Emotional Marketing Value. The idea is that certain words evoke more of a response from people than other ones. This isn’t about click-baiting (headlines like “you’ll never guess what the monkey at LA zoo did today!”), it’s about crafting a headline that sounds interesting enough to click.

Thankfully, you don’t have to figure out if you’re using EMV words or not. There’s a fantastic tool for analyzing the emotional marketing value of your headline created by the Advanced Marketing Institute. Once you submit a headline, it provides a score as well as what that score means.

Write to your customer/client

You can write all the content in the world, but if potential clients won’t understand it, it’s worthless. Now I’m not saying your clients are stupid or to write on a 5th grade level. I’m saying that whatever the “industry speak” for your field is, throw it out the window.

Let’s be honest – your client is not going to know all the technical terms for your field; they have their own field they’re working in! I don’t expect a psychologist to know the term SEO off the top of their heads, just like they don’t expect me to know… all the specialized knowledge they know.

So when you write content for your site, write it in a way that will make sense to potential clients or customers, not to other specialized people in your field (unless, of course, those are your customers).

Call your reader to action

What’s the point of your website? Is it to get people to email you? Get phone calls? Encourage people to comment? Sign up for a newsletter? Once you get people there, what are you doing with them?

This is where the CTA (Call to Action – a little “industry speak” for ya’ll) comes in. On every page and every post, your user should have a clear indication of what you want them to do. For me, I want users to contact me about their projects to see if I can provide solutions and hopefully make their life a little easier. So underneath each post and page, there’s a CTA that says “Tell me about your project”.

If you don’t have a clear idea of what you want your user to do, then neither will they and just like that, you’ll miss a potential sale.

Summary

Writing good content takes time. If you use the points above, though, at least that time will result in customers!

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