Website content: Mistakes to avoid
Composing website content is difficult. Plain and simple. For business owners, stepping outside of themselves to separate what they think/know about their business from what a potential or current customer is looking to learn can sometimes be impossible. This is the key to good website copy: provide value to your visitors. They could be a potential customer investigating your services and evaluating your services in comparison to other providers. They could be a current customer looking for more in-depth information or even just a phone number. If they get what they need from your website, chances are they’ll become a customer.
When writing content for websites, consider these five frequently made mistakes.
1. Avoid Self Praise
Consider a user visiting your website like a potential suitor checking out your dating profile – do you really want to be the braggy guy who poses with his trophies?
Instead of boasting ‘best in show’ on your main page, get to the point and back up your claims with value. Make your visitors feel comfortable and your services approachable by stating what it is you do, why it’s great, and where/how they can learn more.
When it comes to the bragging part:
- If you’re going to include ‘best’ anything – you’re not doing yourself any favours by stating it yourself. The immediate reaction will always be, ‘says who?’ and you will immediately look shady. Be sure to include the source (i.e.: business bureaus, industry publications). Even better, include the seal/logo and save a few words.
- If you don’t have any awards yet, what can you be the ‘best’ at? Start by thinking about what will endear you to your target customer. For example, if you’re a contractor and you know that scams have been rampant in your community, being known as ‘The Most Trusted Contractor’ would be valuable, but you’ve got to back up a claim like that with proof. Start a blog outlining your work helping families repair damage. If you can demonstrate that you have the ‘highest referral rate’ or that you’ve ‘assisted with more restorations than another contractor’ with content,
- Let the boasting come from online testimonials, reviews or LinkedIn recommendations – try to avoid anonymous reviews as much as possible.
- Post (ideally positive) media coverage in a media section, and pull out the quotes you like best. Outside sources are external credible experts.
2. Avoid Broad Content
Get to the point. If there is content on your home page that does not communicate the benefits of using your product or service, delete it, or put it where it belongs (i.e.: history, staff bios).
Your home page should solve a problem, immediately.
Be specific: If you operate a towing company in Winnepeg, your services will likely be most urgently required during winter snow storms. Include language and imagery that speaks to your specific audience. Your visitors will appreciate that you’ve demonstrated an understanding of their unique needs.
3. Meet the needs of the Newcomer and the Fan
No amount of flashy content will help you make the sale if all your customers need is a phone number.
Consider who your customer is, and why they would be on the look out for your services.
A good example: A disaster restoration company is meeting the needs of two audiences: newcomers seeking urgent response to a crisis and everyone else – they could include current or potential customers, or visitors looking for industry information. Certainly, content should be tailored to meet the needs of customers at everyone point of the buying cycle, but in this case, it’s important to direct people requiring immediate assistance first.
For the fans, creating resources and content that they will enjoy and appreciate will attract them and keep them coming back. Optimizing content so it can be shared will help you open up on the conversation, and allow you to activate them to endorse and support your brand.
4. Remove Jargon
If you need a legend, it is not working.
We get it! Sometimes your products or services require industry jargon and other such junk in order to be ‘correct’. Your audience may consist of professionals that won’t have trouble understanding acronyms. But you’re looking at it the wrong way: instead of showing the guts, demonstrate the benefits.
Example: Look at Apple – Apple is a technology company that provides technology tools, but instead of cluttering their sites with jargon and technical specifications, they present a clean, uncluttered displays of their products with brief titles that explain the benefits of each product and images that feature their differentiators. What are the benefits? What is the value? How will it make you feel? The technical stuff is buried deeper within the site, for when its time to get down to the nitty gritty.
If you do have a technical element to your industry, consider how images or videos could explain the difficult parts. People are lazy. Work with it.
5. Be Mobile Friendly
It goes without saying that mobile compatibility is vital for companies. How annoying is it when all you need is a phone number and you have to scroll through pages of text just to find it?
If your pages contain paragraphs of content, consider how much more daunting that will look on a mobile device. If it’s too much for a phone, it may be too much for your screen as well. Get to the point, demonstrate the benefits, and call them to action.