3 major web content mistakes (and fixes)
We’ve all experienced the frustration of going to a website that looks nice enough – but you can’t for the life of you find the information you wanted anywhere. The only option is to call or email the company to find out more…and you’re probably not be ready to do that yet.
When I encounter this sort of site, I don’t usually bother with a follow up call…I just keep looking elsewhere.
Bad web content undermines your website
Your website is a big investment for your business – possibly one of the biggest single purchases you make in the initial years of operation.
Good website design is important to help people navigate your site. It’s also a platform to extend your business branding through the choice of colours and imagery. A well designed website site can speak volumes about the professionalism of your business and give prospects the confidence to deal with you.
But important as web design is, it’s actually the website content visitors are looking for when they seek to find out more about your business and how you can meet their needs. If they can’t find essential information they need during their research phase, they may be turned off.
What’s more, Google’s algorithms are frequently updated, with a greater emphasis each time given to high quality, relevant and updated content that answers searchers needs.
If you’re making these common web content mistakes, you could be turning both search engines and more importantly, your prospects off – and you might never know that you could have been a contender!
Mistake 1: Not taking a content first approach
Here are the common stages of a website development project, and how web content fits in.
The beginning – enthusiasm and progress
You need a website and you’ve found some budget to get it done professionally – exciting times. You call your friendly local web designer to discuss options and he or she sends you a few examples or mockups of site layouts that look good and fit your business. You get a quote and give the green flag to your designer to go ahead. S/he does a bang up job setting up the menu structure you have discussed and choosing some nice stock images. It’s starting to shape up well.
The first hurdle
Your web designer reminds you to get your website copy to them, or load it into the content management system yourself. There is Loren Ipsum holding text where it’s supposed to go, and the site can’t be launched without this being replaced. It looks simple enough at first glance. But then you get writer’s block.
Mid stage – Procrastination and frustration
What usually happens now is this: You suddenly get busy. Weeks pass. You don’t know where or how to start writing copy. When you do eventually start pulling it together, you realise that the menu structure is all wrong, you need more product categories than will look good in the current drop down menu and you forgot to mention to your designer that there was a whole category of downloadable product data to put in a different section of the website. Oh, and you’ve just heard you should be blogging.
A sour end
Now you need to make changes out of the scope agreed with your designer and they want to charge you for their time. You’re frustrated with your designer because you are now over budget, your designer is frustrated with you for not planning ahead and they can’t invoice you until the project is complete, and your project is already running late with a big job ahead to make it right.
What to do instead:
Instead of jumping straight into the visual elements of the website (fabulous as they are), turn the old process upside down and start thinking about your content first.
The most important question guiding this should be:
What information will my ideal prospect need to find in order to convert to a warm lead or a sale? (e.g. call to book a consultation or purchase a product online)
Take an inventory of existing useful content you have in your business. This could be anything from emails where you have answered prospects enquiries, to user manuals, annual reports, and demonstration videos.
Analyse the content you’ve found and how it relates to other pieces of content. Figure out which pieces of content you need to help clients take the steps you want to bring them closer to purchasing or taking another action you want.
Rework and link
If there are gaps in the content, create new information that bridges the gap. This may involve rewriting some of the information you’ve found in your audit to make it more targeted.
THEN call your web design with a detailed brief
Then (and only then) get your web designer or developer to put together the structure and beautiful design to house all this useful and result-driven content.
It may not sound as fun as choosing a nice design first, but at the end of the process you should have a website that truly helps meet your business goals, with a lot less angst along the way.
Hint: if you need guidance with your website creation, work with a web agency experienced in pairing content and design, like Hook and Loop.
Mistake 2: Having more than one idea per web page
Sometimes it’s tempting to put everything you know about a subject down in one place. You’d be forgiven for thinking this demonstrates your broad (and deep) understanding of the area. You might also believe it’s easier for website visitors just to go to one page to find out everything they need.
Simplicity and Scan-ability is key
Unfortunately, complex packets of information do not read well on the web. People are known to scan web pages to quickly locate the information that they are seeking. Too many ideas on one page will confuse and distract your visitors. Confused and distracted visitors are unlikely to follow the steps that you want them to undertake on your page.
What to do instead:
- Focus on one product or service per page
- Undertake keyword research to work out what terms are most searched for, and base your page titles on this information
- Use headings and subheadings to guide customers to the information that they are seeking
- Break down dense areas of text into bite size pieces with bullet points or lists
- Include a call to action on every page. This could be ‘Call us now on 555 5555’ or ‘Sign up to our newsletter for exclusive tips and tricks.’
Mistake 3: Writing like a machine
Yes, everyone wants to be on page 1 of Google. No, loading your pages up with tons of keywords for SEO (‘keyword stuffing’) is no longer the way to do it.
Old SEO tricks don’t work anymore (and may damage your website)
Google and other search engines cottoned onto these SEO tricks a while ago and have adjusted their algorithms to downgrade these sort of pages. If you’re not sure what I mean, here is an example:
“at AussieGizmos.com.au you can find the top Aussie Gizmos that you are looking for to meet your Aussie Gizmos needs. So when you’re in the market for the best Aussie Gizmos, visit the Aussie Gizmo specialists today!”
Google will actually penalise websites for keyword stuffing, and your readers will too, by heading away in droves.
What to do instead:
It’s simple actually – just focus on writing good, helpful and carefully planned content, using a content first approach! Be interesting, accessible and demonstrate how your solutions will solve your customers ‘pain points’ or problems.
Good content will attract the right customers to you
Good content has the following benefits.
- It builds your reputation as a great business
- It builds your credibility as an expert source
- It keeps customers coming back to your site
- It is far more ‘share-able’ in social media
- Google loves high quality, frequently updated content.
Most importantly, if your content is written from the perspective of solving your ideal customers problems, rather than overtly selling your products and services, it will attract the right customers to you in a state of mind to buy.
What it boils down to: You’re selling your product or service to people, not search engines – so write like a real person, not a machine!
Avoid these 3 major web content mistakes for a powerful website that converts
Getting your first, or upgrading your old, website should be a milestone that brings more success to your business. Don’t make it a frustrating waste of time and money – stop these 3 major web content mistakes in their tracks and make your content as powerful as it can be.
Did you know we write professional web copy as well as develop your website?
To ensure you have the most effective website call 0404 086 140 or ask below for a free consultation
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