How to write your own website (part 1)

These days, more and more businesses have a Content Management System (CMS) website, or use a blogging tool such as WordPress to build their own.

Quite right too. Why should you have to pay a web professional every time you want to update something? But if you don’t know what you’re doing, you might be losing custom. Here are my top tips for effective web content.

Your home page

Don’t use a ‘splash page’ (any extra click e.g. ‘enter site’ is a chance to lose site visitors). Please don’t start ‘Welcome to my website’ – it’s dated and unnecessary! In my view, your home page copy should be more about your customers than it is about you, so they know they’ve landed in the right place i.e.

• DON’T write: ‘We are X, based in Y and we specialise in Z’.

• DO write: ‘Looking for A, B or C? You’ve come to the right place!’

More than any other, your home page should answer ‘What’s In It For Me?’ from the customer’s point of view.

DOs and DON’Ts

• DO use direct language (it makes your copy more persuasive and appealing)

• DON’T write: ‘in order to allow the client to concentrate on their core business’

• DO write: ‘in order to allow you to concentrate on your core business’

• DO write as though you are talking to one person, not lots (they are reading it one at a time)

• DON’T write ‘We work closely with our loyal customers’

• DO write ‘If you want to work closely with friendly local experts, you’ll find our door is always open. We’re here 24/7 at the end of the phone or email ready to help you.’

• DO write so it doesn’t go out-of-date

• DON’T write ‘We have been in business for 17 years’

• DO write ‘We have been providing wonderful widgets since 1992′

• DON’T have wasteful Flash animations (or even worse, ghastly dancing clip-art animated gifs) as they take up bandwidth and search engines can’t ‘read’ them

• DON’T include irritating typos or broken ‘404 not found’ links

• DON’T use wildly inconsistent fonts and sizes, and avoid Comic Sans which is perceived as truly amateur

About page

People do business with people. They like to know whom they’re dealing with, and what goes on behind the scenes. It’s therefore wise to include a Letter from the MD, Meet the Team biographies, and/or picture/s of you (especially when YOU are what you are selling).

People are busy! They are easily bored and click away. So make sure your most important information is first. If you include a company history, write it in reverse chronological order, so what you are doing now is at the top and how you started is at the end.

Added value page/s

21st century marketing is about sharing not selling. So include ‘added value’ such as FAQs, glossary, useful articles or hints and tips. Call the page ‘Free resources’ and see your pageviews soar!

I originally wrote this article for Fresh Business Thinking

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