Writing web content is one of the important tasks business owners know they should do.
But lack of time makes it the one task that gets pushed to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list.
What are the 8 most common mistakes made by SMEs when writing web content?
You don’t think about your reader and what they want
One of the easiest mistakes to make is to forget the purpose of the content and, who you are writing it for.
Write as though YOU are the customer, what do they want to read?
It isn’t about what you think they want to read.
They’ve found your blog because the title grabbed their attention and now they are on your website you want them to take action.
Give them the information they are looking for.
2. Does your website deliver what they are looking for?
When they arrive on your site, a visitor doesn’t want to have to search to find what they are looking for.
They don’t have the time to read from top to bottom preferring to scan and scroll picking out the bits that attracted them to the page.
The use of subheadings breaks up chunks of text making it scannable and easier to find the information.
If the site is complicated and hard to navigate then the visitor will leave.
Your message is lost.
Writing for the web isn’t like writing an assignment that requires a clear introduction of what the topic is about, clarification of the points you are making and a conclusion where you round up the points you’ve made.
Web content requires the most important facts to be stated in the first paragraph.
A website should contain the information that’s important to your visitors.
Take for example a law firm that specialises in HR and employment, have a clear headline that makes it clear what the site and business are about.
If the headline is misleading or vague your visitor doesn’t understand.
3. Keep your message simple and clear
When I started blogging in 2010 I was taught to write as if writing for a 12-year-old.
Even now I find it difficult because I love the use of big words and technical jargon and I don’t want to treat my readers as though they are unintelligent.
Writing using fancy prose slows people down, they lose interest even if the information they want is right in front of them.
We don’t have time to read masses of information so keep it straightforward and easy for the reader.
4. Write as though your life depended on it?
Most of us scan text when we are searching for what we want.
We want it to be simple and quick to read if we cant find it boom, we’re gone.
Keeping it clear and concise with short paragraphs speeds up the reading.
- Is your headline relevant to the text, does it communicate the idea or message you’re writing about?
- Make use of subheadings to break the text into scannable chunks?
- Bullet points make it easy to scan and read
- Make sure the images you use also have relevant captions to the text
5. Appeal to your reader’s emotions
- At the present time – now
- As a result of – because
- In spite of the fact that – although (that’s one I still use and have to correct myself)
- Conceptualise – think
You want them to read your copy and nod their heads in acknowledgement.
If you achieve this they are now at the start of the sales journey.
6. Don’t assume your visitor will start at your home page
Unless you are sending them directly via a backlink you have to assume that your visitor is likely to land almost anywhere.
Each page needs to be easy to read, with headlines that tell them where they are, the right navigation and what the page is about.
Don’t forget CTAs with links to other similar services or offers.
Tell them where to go to read another blog post on your website, a sign up for your newsletter or request a quote. Anything that gets them to take action.
7. How do they find your website?
Write quality content that answers your potential customer’s problem.
- How have you helped other customers?
- Give examples and testimonies and provide useful information.
- Write with SEO optimisation including keywords and phrases that customers are searching for.
- Include links to relevant pages on your website and make it easy for visitors to find the information.
8. Your website design
This needs to be fresh and appealing and it is worth re-visiting your site regularly with a keen fresh eye to see if it flows.
- Is it visually appealing?
- Does it flow?
- Are there enough images that break up the text?
- Make use of italics to highlight quotes and copy of specific interest.
- If paragraphs are long, break them up into smaller paragraphs or add subheadings.
- Include bullet points
Make it uncluttered and simple with plenty of white so it is easy for the visitor to find the information.
Writing copy is hard work, it takes time, effort and a lot of planning.
It doesn’t matter if your audience consists of academics, solicitors, plumbers or teachers the same principles apply.
The digital world requires us to put the spotlight on the customer.
What do they want and how does your offer help them?
Time is at a premium so optimise content for the visitor.
If the above all seems a bit too much then call me for a free no-obligation chat and let me write great content for you.
I can write for your blog, provide snippets for your social media posts, inject some gusto into your sales and promo material.
Click here for more information.