Not all businesses have the luxury or budget for an agency or freelancer to work with them on their website content, user experience mapping or understanding each page’s goal. Every page should have one; a clear and decisive objective to convince a customer that your business, product or solution is for them or steer them deeper into the journey (and sales funnel!) Everyone wants plenty of traffic but not when high bounce rates are the result, followed by zero leads.
Businesses can fall into a well known trap of ‘page fillers’ that are purely created to pad out a website and a means for more SEO. And that, unfortunately, is not well performing or rich content. More isn’t always better and keyword stuffing isn’t going to help your website’s performance or lead generation.
However, thinking about your website’s page content is. There’s a light at the end of that dreary tunnel of average time spent on pages and exit rate. Here are 6 questions to ask yourself when getting started as a content writer and forming the skeleton for page content, before you even start the writing itself.
1. What is the page’s core goal?
This one is fairly simple. What’s the goal of the page? What do you want the page to achieve and what do you want a user to do or think? Every page should have a different goal in mind, whether that’s an initial impression of the business (such as a homepage) or converting a customer to a lead after reading a product page. No matter which page, a clear purpose should be outlined for each one and what you want your customer to do by the end of reading/scrolling through it.
2. What audience/persona is the page targeting?
Who are the primary audiences and what at their personal goals for visiting the page? What do they want to know? If there are secondary or tertiary audience, what are their personal goals too? If you don’t fully understand who your audiences are and their personas (a representation of their demographics, goals and behaviours), then it’ll be impossible to write in a tone of voice that speaks to them. What benefits does your business offer? How does your business make a difference to them and theirs? Many companies fall down a trap of boasting about their accomplishments, but never actually explain why those accomplishments add value to their customer’s experiences.
Another point to consider at this point would be what groups do your audience fall into. This doesn’t necessarily concern every business, as some may only have one group, such as “Consumer/Buyer.” However, there might be a user group such as “The Researcher” on a fact finding mission or “The Decision Maker” who’s there to buy, subscribe, ask for a quote. Understanding these groups will help to inform the content, components and relationships that are offered on a page (and your designer will know where best to place these).
You should also think about where your user has come from. For instance, did they first land on a page from a search engine, a social network or from another page on your website, as this informs the content and components needed on a page. A user might land on your website with specific emotions or feelings prompted by their origin, so consider the connection the user has and what content needs to be delivered to them on click and the pace of content they need to drive them toward the all important CTA.
3. At what stage of the buying cycle does the page represent?
Has your customer just entered the funnel, are they half way through it or are they at the end about to make their decision whether to engage or not with your goal CTA? This is very important in understanding what language and tone to use when writing your content. Are you still persuading, backing up your benefits, proving your credibility and trustworthiness or has a connection formed between brand and customer? Do you need to add any more support, value, information or should this page be a very clear and direct message, such as a transactional page. Understand where to be clear and where to continue to help a consumer move along the buying cycle.
4. What are the benefits and solutions you are communicating?
This is really important! It’ll be one of the key drivers in engaging a user and giving them a reason to continue on their journey through your website. It goes hand in hand with who your audience is, their needs and pain points, and how your business can make a difference. If you’ve already considered who your audience is, their personas and what user group they sit within, it’ll be much easier to identify the messaging that’s needed here to successfully communicate how your business benefits theirs.
5. What is the key call to action the audience must take?
What is it that you want your customer to do? Do you want them to click to find out more, download a white paper, fill out a form, call, email, purchase a product or receive a quote for a service. There’s a fine line between being persuasive and being pushy. Understanding your audience will place a business in good stead for knowing the sort of call to action they’re more inclined to engage with. Every page should have a clear call to action too; and some have several and some simply have one. For instance, a product page might have “add to basket” as well as “add to wishlist”, “read reviews”, “related articles” or even a comparison tool, but they’re all aimed at the target audience and offer value adds to help the customer in making their decision to buy.
6. What keywords and phrases must be included?
This might be a little controversial, but keywords and phrases is something that I always consider last. Whilst I have a good idea about what I need to include as I write, I don’t proof or add in any other keywords for SEO purposes until the end. I’m particularly mindful of keyword stuffing or making sentences repetitive for the reader. A list of keywords isn’t the way to go with rich content and overuse of specific phrases is robotic. Save them for the headlines, subheadings, the meta title and peppered within the pages content; don’t overuse and don’t over complicate.
Whilst brand awareness and promoting your services, products or solutions are all a priority, understanding and providing difference for your audience and potential future customers is key. Always ensure you’re writing for them, that your content speaks to them and what it is they’re trying to achieve and how you can help them do it.