I’ve been rewriting (updating, optimizing) a lot of websites lately. For me, it’s a matter of looking to see what needs doing and doing it, and it doesn’t really matter what it’s called.
If it’s your website, though, and you’re looking to hire someone to improve your web content, you might choose to determine which of these services you need before you look for a web content specialist to do the job.
An update is what you need when your site is no longer accurate and up to date. I’m working on a site right now which shows products which are no longer available, contact info for people who are no longer working there, and upcoming events which have already taken place. Sometimes it’s more a matter of needing to change the focus of the text because the business has changed — or the world has changed and the business needs to respond.
Often an update is needed because a website doesn’t present information in the way people now interact with information on the web.Taking dense blocks of text and tightening them up, moving the essential information to the top, and making them more scannable can improve the chances of getting visitors to make the commitment to read the information you want to present. Chances are, a specialist can get your update finished faster and more effectively than you can do it yourself.
A rewrite, on the other hand, is what’s needed when the content just isn’t doing its job. Content with grammar and punctuation errors puts up red flags for search engines and humans alike. Text that rambles or is unclear lowers conversions. Lively, direct, engaging language produces better results than poorly written content.
Most websites are still written by the site owners, or even by their IT or design departments. This is as much of a mistake, in most cases, as having the IT department or store owner paint the signs or sing the jingle on the commercial. Having a professional writer rewrite your site can make a big difference in its quality and therefore in its effectiveness.
Optimization is a matter of taking content that already has the sound and feel you want, and helping it communicate better with search engines. Optimized content may not be different enough for visitors to notice — in fact, that’s the goal. Inserting keywords delicately into the text should help people find you, not make your site sound unnatural. It’s always a special pleasure to optimize a well-written site to improve traffic without disturbing the voice of the original writer.
If you like the look of your website but you’re not getting the results you want, consider having the content refreshed. You’ll probably be surprised by how affordable it is and how much difference it makes.