How to create a website which works!

When you think about a new website for your business it is all too easy to focus on how you want the website to work, the style, colours, imagery. However, to make a website function correctly it is essential as a business you take the time to focus not just on the design but also the content that will drive your target engagement.

Without both working together you risk your new website missing the mark and failing to brand your business in a way that will capture your key market.

So, what should you be looking for in your content when you create a new website?

Great content tells a story. It brings your business to life and it walks the reader through the website as if leading them by the hand.

It grabs people’s attention and is the heart and soul of your business.

I often hear people say that a website is like a virtual shop window but for me sometimes that analogy doesn’t go far enough and focuses on the look missing all the other elements of a website that make it work – from SEO, analytics and the data behind your choices to the words you use to tell your story.

I prefer to think of a website as a virtual conversation with your client. Yes, you need to present yourself well in how you look, you wouldn’t rock up to a meeting in a dirty tracksuit with your hair all messed up and holes in your shoes. You would want to look your best.

However, if you then turned up and had nothing worthwhile to say people wouldn’t buy into your business. Just as you have one shot to make a good impression with how you look so too do you have one shot at getting your message across clearly. If your words don’t grab their attention and lead them nicely to understanding why your services are so important you will find your target audience losing interest.

This is why we prepare for meetings and make sure that we research and know that the content is going to hit the mark just as you would carry out data analysis and make sure your website is working to its full capacity.

TOP TIPS

Your design might capture your audience’s attention but your content will hold it

Think about what your target audience wants to hear not just what you want to tell them. How can you solve their problem and what do you need to say about your business to make sure your message is clear?

How will your audience interact with your site?

Is the site designed to showcase your products like an online brochure or there for lead generation? Just as all of these elements are crucial in design and development, they are also crucial in determining not only your immediate content requirements but those ongoing elements as well.

Make sure your content guides the reader to interact with the site in the way you want them to. If you are looking to generate leads are your calls to action clear and connected in the right place?

What are your key messages?

What is the most important information you need them to know straight off and how can you drip feed your message through out?

Pull out lines and quotes on a website are great at breaking up your site and adding depth to your message.

Make sure that you know what your key themes and priorities are so that they shine throughout your content. The reader isn’t going to want to find the information it should be spelt out for them.

Tone

The words used on your site will give your audience an impression of your business. Do you want to be chatty or formal in your wording? Hitting the right tone will help to make sure that you don’t alienate or offend your audience. If as a company your brand is very formal and technical make sure that your content reflects that. If the website doesn’t sound like your business it will end up missing the mark and make your audience question the integrity and accuracy of your content.

Your content should be an extension of your business. It tells your story and should bring your business to life reflecting your values and style.

SEO optimised to drive results

There are a lot of SEO elements carried out behind the scenes to maximise a website. However, the words you use on your site will also have an affect not only immediately but in the longterm as you update content.

Be clear on key search engine terms which will drive traffic to your site and make sure that your wording not only sounds good but backs up your SEO strategy as well.

To blog or not to blog?

Creating ongoing engagement is crucial in driving traffic to your website. Continually updating your website on a regular basis will help you to improve your SEO or Search Engine Optimisation which ultimately helps you to get found in website searches. When you are talking to your website developer and agreeing the pages for the site have a think about whether your business would benefit from a blog or news section on the site. This should be something that fits in to a wider marketing strategy and isn’t necessary for every business. It is worth looking at whether the opportunity can easily be added at a later date and how you are going to manage ongoing content when planning your site. An unused blog can be just as bad as not having one in the first place. It looks like the business is out of date, not quick to communicate and inconsistent.

Check for errors

Spelling mistakes and rogue apostrophes will give a really bad impression when reading a website. It is always a good idea to get a fresh pair of eyes to review your content to make sure that it works in the way you want it to and that you haven’t made any mistakes.  Leaving glaring errors will ruin any good first impression you may have built up through your site.

Creating a website that truly speaks to your audience and gets the results you are looking for requires a lot of specialist elements all fusing together in perfect harmony.

In many respects without all the elements built around a strategic plan you will fail to deliver a project that meets your need. You could invest in the best copy but if you haven’t got a fully branded and optimised website behind it your words will get lost in a slow performing, hard to use website.

On the flip side though a highly SEO optimised, design led site will alienate your audience if your copy doesn’t reflect your business in the right way capturing your audience’s attention. This could result in a lot of traffic getting to your site but a high bounce rate as your business story gets misunderstood.

So, next time you need to refresh your website, update your brand or maybe even create a whole new website take the time to think about not just the look of your site but the content as well.

Good content is an integral part of your website and should work with your brand and design to optimise your business and ultimately do what your website is setting out to do –  sell your business!

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