We specialize in web content, and when we build websites, they come with content — either we write it for you or we optimize your existing content. The average web designer doesn’t do that: they expect you to provide all the content for your website. And of course, if you build your own website you have to provide your own content. Since this isn’t something you do all the time, it’s easy to end up with content mistakes.
Here are five errors to watch out for when you’re writing your own content:
- Thinking that web visitors will read every word. People usually come to your business website looking for the answer to a question. That question could be “How can I control my allergies?” or it could be “Is the product I saw on Pinterest as cool as it looks in the picture?”or “What are your hours?” Visitors will usually search and skim for the answer to their question, rather than carefully reading every word and then making a careful decision about your goods and services. Offer something useful or entertaining, and your visitors may become readers and then customers. But people don’t approach websites they way they approach books or even brochures. At the very least, remember that each page has to stand alone, because your visitors may only go to one page.
- Making it all about you. Your web visitors have a question in mind, and chances are that the question is about their own needs. It’s almost certainly not “What is your company’s mission statement?” or “How did your company start?” Certainly you should tell your story on your website, but your visitors are honestly more interested in their own needs and wants than in your organization. Keep the focus on your visitors and what you can do for them.
- Copying competitors. We’ve seen websites where the content has simply been lifted from another website. This is a mistake. Leaving aside all questions of copyright, search engines won’t offer your website to people when the original source of the words is another web page — they’ll just offer the other webpage. It makes sense to look at competitors and learn from them, but don’t copy and paste.
- Assuming lots of background knowledge. Unless your brand is already a household name, your visitors don’t know as much about it as you might think. Make sure that your content conveys meaning for your customers in the vocabulary that they use, not in the more specialized terms that you might use yourself. Far more people call their dog or cat a “pet” than a “companion animal.” You should also bear in mind that people often start their search for goods and services with general informational questions or descriptions of a problem. They’ll look for “smelly dog” or “dog odor” before they search for “yeast infection treatments for dogs.” Go for clear and simple.
- Skimping on the writing. Search engines consider spelling and grammatical errors when ranking websites. Human visitors are also affected by writing quality — well-written content just works better than poorly-written content. We see websites with unfinished sentences, misused words, and repetitive content. These sites are not going to perform as well as well-written websites. If you don’t happen to have a writer on staff, it makes sense to hire one.
Need a professional content writer? Call Rosie at 479.966.9761 to get the conversation started.