I love to write, so for me, developing content for websites is easy. As a matter of fact, I do it here at InMotion for some of our clients.
However, that experience has taught me that not everyone has the ability to sit down and put words to thoughts. There’s nothing wrong with that, you know your business, if you’re a plumber, you know plumbing. I’m a writer, so I know writing.
So how do you, as a plumber, jeweler, baker, or other tradesman, communicate your knowledge to your website easily? It’s a big task, explaining what you do to a wide audience in writing for the world to see. I assure you, you can do it without having to hire a professional content writer to do it for you. After all, who knows your business better than you do?
I’m going to give you some tips and tricks for developing content for your website. You’re getting insider hints on how to inspire the words and pick the best information to include on your website and where to place it.
Above the fold on your home page is prime real estate on your website. So, keep the most important information there. Anything you want your customers to be aware of as soon as they go to your website needs to be front and center.
What does “above the fold” mean?
Above the fold is a term for the area on a website that shows up at the top of the page. Meaning, it’s the part of the site that you don’t have to scroll down to see.
Much like a newspaper headline, this information needs to be brief, to the point, and grab your visitor’s attention.
What to include above the fold:
- Your company name and logo. Don’t leave any mystery about where the viewer is visiting.
- An easy to navigate site menu. Anything to make getting around your site easier.
- Contact information. If you want customers to call or email you as part of your business plan, put this up top. Include any social media links you may have.
- A search feature. If you have a blog, or anything informational, a search bar will help customers immediately get the information they need.
- Any promotions you are running. If you have a sale or special, this is where to highlight it. Make it big and brightly colored so it grabs attention.
- 1-3 important aspects of your business. Ask yourself, what is the one thing I want people to know about my business? Is it your customer service? Your pricing? Your credentials or knowledge? Focus on that. Then, in less than 200 words, explain it. Your above the fold information should be graphic-based, so keep your words brief.
Don’t get too wordy with your home page. Product or action images are great ways to get attention without overwhelming site visitors.
When writing your home page content, limit yourself to no more than 3 key aspects of your business. Brainstorm your business and services and make a list. Then narrow it down to the most important and of that list, pick the top three. Don’t worry, there will be a place for the other important features of your business, just not on the home page.
For example, the history of your company does not belong on the home page. If you are including that, great! This gives the customers something to connect to, but just make it a small phrase, not the whole history on the front of your site. Try something like, “Established in 1997…” or “Locally owned and operated in Virginia Beach…” Any more detail than that is more appropriate in the “About Us” section.
While making this list, call friends and family who know your business and ask them to describe it to you. This may seem silly, but it’s important to have a feel for what outside parties think of the services you offer. They may not fully match up with what you are trying to project. If this is the case, your web content is a great place to revamp the image of your company.
In order to actually write the content for your home page, ask yourself these questions to get the inspiration flowing:
- Why is this important to me and my business?
- How do I display this in daily business operations?
- What have been the results of prioritizing this aspect of my business?
Keep your answers between 1 and 2 sentences here. You can elaborate more in other pages of the site. This is like teaser information.
Organize where you want your content laid out before you write. That list you made before of the most important aspects of your business? Use that as a starting point and outline where you want that information. For example, you don’t want to introduce your prices in the About Us page. Something that important deserves its own page.
Create an outline like this:
- Customer Service Focused
- Guaranteed Pricing
- Free Estimates
- Family owned business.
- Part of the local community for over 50 years.
- Won best of local awards 12 years in a row.
- Community Service projects.
Request A Quote
- Free estimates
- Guaranteed pricing
- Contact form
- Schedule and appointment
Get To Know Our Team
- Staff photos
- Staff credentials
- Customer service focus
- Short bios for staff members
Once you have those basic topics listed for each page, stick to them. Don’t try to put too much information on one page. This will make it difficult to follow and your customers will lose interest in that page. This makes finding information on your site tedious and can cause them to leave your site in search of another.
Even on pages further into your site, you want to keep the information short and sweet. Try to keep your pages around 500 words total. Break them up into short paragraphs, use lists to highlight important facts, and use images to depict things your words can’t.
Know your audience. This seems simple, but if you are catering only to others in your field, you will not have to explain as much as you would if you were catering to novices or customers who know little to nothing about what you do.
When in doubt, find someone who fits your goal audience and ask them if what you have written makes sense. Your site should be informative without being too complicated or too simple. When writing, an outside opinion is invaluable.
Still not sure where to go from here? Check below. I’ve included a list of the questions I typically ask my content clients. These questions usually give me enough understanding of my client’s business and goals that I can then use the answers to draft an entire site worth of content.
Answer the questions fully! Provide as much information as you can and make lists of all the features where applicable. This is not the place to cut words. Once you have answered all these questions and have of paragraphs and pages worth of information, highlight all the parts that are the most critical. If you’ve already made your list of SEO keywords, highlight any sentences where those keywords were used.
Once you’ve done that, all you have to do is string those highlighted sentences together in a way that makes sense. By using that information and just filling it into the pages you listed on your outline, you’ve got strong, relevant content.
Note: As you answer these questions, organize the answers, and think about the site layout, you may find that your original outline is not the best way to organize the site. You might discover that two aspects are related and should be introduced together, but you have them on separate pages in your outline. No worries. Just adjust the outline to fit your changing needs. It is a guide to keep your content focused, so it’s not set in stone.
- Describe your company or business plan.
- What services or products do you offer?
- Describe your work flow. If you hand make products, what goes into it? If you offer a service, how do you proceed when responding to a call or appointment?
- How long have you been in business?
- What made you decide to open your business?
- Have you won any awards or received any acknowledgements?
- What are your credentials? What skills do you and your team bring to the business?
- What are others saying about you? Include customer testimonials, local media, social media, and any word of mouth customers you are aware of.
- What are your business goals?
- What makes your business different from its competition?
Writing content is a lot of work, even when it comes easily to you. So, be prepared to take the time to do it properly. But, don’t be afraid to make changes and updates to your content whenever applicable. It is good to provide new information to your website regularly, so try to keep your site content fresh.