Writing your website content
Writing the content for your website can be difficult. I get that. You know everything about your business, but how do you present all of the information succinctly? How can you figure out what needs to go where? What do you share on a website vs social media?
Below, you will find some advice on how to write good copy for your business’ website and if you need help, just shout.
Write a site map
The first thing to do when thinking about a website is to plan what pages you want and how they will ‘sit together’. It is really simple.
Firstly write your ‘primary’ pages. The traditional ones are:
Then decide if there are any supplementary pages you wish to include. For example:
- Company history
- Meet the team
- Latest News
- Special offers
This gives you a great idea of how your website and its menus will look and the content you need to write.
Any website designer will also love you! You are giving them a clear structure for your site and the pages they will need to build, as well as the type of templates which may be suitable. This is particularly helpful too if you are doing a DIY website.
Plan your content with headings
Taking each page, consider what information needs to be covered. Rather that ploughing in to the writing, which I know can seem daunting, start with a few bullet points. Think specifically about some good headings, by which I mean a series of ‘titles’ which will help not only structure your content, but will also provide lovely ‘short’ bits of copy – they will work like headlines. They will catch your website visitor’s eye, even if they don’t read the more in-depth content.
It is important to be consistent in lots of different ways.
Firstly, be consistent in terms of tone, across not only your website but all of your social media copy too, and any other content for that matter. The most important thing is decide if you are going to write in first person singular (‘I’ and ‘me’) or first person plural (‘we’, ‘us’). Mixing this drives me mad! It is not an easy decision, if you are a single person but have a company name, you may want to write about what ‘We offer’ or what ‘we do’ but do remember what this will convey. Potential clients may expect a whole team of people. This could also be inconsistent with your About page content which talks all about what you do…on your own! You can use the company name, i.e. ‘The Content Consultancy offers…’, too remember.
Secondly, be consistent with what you offer and the information you share – check that all of your services, your key details (opening times, offers, prices, contact details) are consistent across your website (as you may mention more than once), as well as on your social media platforms and your print media (leaflets, business cards, etc).
Thirdly, be consistent with the style of presentation. For example, short catchy straplines can work really well on websites. If you are going to include them make sure they fit with the design and include one consistently, for example, in the same location on each page. Similarly, think about layout consistency and the amount of information shared on ‘similar pages’. So for example, in the ‘services’ section if you have more that one page make sure they have similar layouts and designs to help people compare and find information they are looking for.
Write in short sentences and short paragraphs
Everyone scans websites before reading anything in detail. Reading anything on a mobile device is not as easy as a lovely sheet of A4 , so keep sentences short and concise. This is not the time for lengthy sentences. Keep information to the point. Don’t waffle.
Break up longer sections of text into paragraphs and use headings, as well as internal links, to keep readers engaged. It will also help them to navigate to what they are trying to find out.
Check for the obvious
The hardest thing to do is check for the obvious (and ensure it is included) as you know your business inside and out. It is easy to forget or overlook details which people new to your business see as vital information.
Here is a little checklist that I think should cover most ‘must have’ items for most websites:
- Have you included:
- your location? This can simply be within a sentence, i.e. ‘…based in Hampshire’ but is really important for SEO. If you have a physical shop/property include a map and a postcode
- an email address? Contact details are so important and must be EASY to find and repeated.
- a telephone number? There is a certain level of transparency conveyed if you offer a telephone number, especially for those who sell products. If I buy something and there is something wrong with it, I want to know I have lots of options for getting in touch with any concerns
- your opening hours? This might not be essential for all, but it is a great way for managing expectations, especially if you work part time. If someone knows they are contacting you out of your office hours they are less likely to expect an immediate response. It is obviously essential for shops and cafes, etc.
- your logo and branding colours? This isn’t really about writing , but it is essential for branding. Use your logo, use your brand colours and brand fonts too.
- what you actually do? So many people forget this! They expect their business name or perhaps just job title to convey what they do. However, I know ‘Content Consultant’ will not mean a lot to most people. Worse than that it could mean lots of different things to different people. So be clear, in the most common, easy to understand terms exactly what you do and what you offer (ideally on the home page!).
- your name? This may not be appropriate for bigger businesses, but I visit a lot of websites for sole traders, which happily state ‘I do X’, ‘I do Y’ but I can’t find anywhere who ‘I’ is!!!)
- your prices? Controversial for some I know, but I believe in giving some indication of price, even if it is ‘from £XX’ if you don’t feel comfortable committing to something.
Don’t spend loads on design to be let down by the copy
Creating your website can be costly and time-consuming; sourcing images, choosing a template and planning it all. Let alone the technical side of things. Don’t then let down of all of the hard work by shoving in any old words! Plan, edit and proofread.
If you want help writing your website content, please do not hesitate to get in touch. email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07736942348.