You should always know what your primary message is, who you’re writing for and how you want them to respond. A clearly focused website enables you to attract more traffic; help you to differentiate you from your competitors and ultimately ensures that you rank well with the search engines. You need to be more specific than saying you just want a website because “everyone else has one so I need one too” or “a good way for me to be able to generate more income”. A website that does not have a clear message directed to a target audience does not serve a useful purpose and becomes yet another forgettable unvisited website – online noise.
Before you start writing
When you sit down to begin writing content for your website you need to first clarify your underlying strategy. Try to have a clear picture of who your target audience is, what they look like, what age range they’re in, working or retired, what gender they may be, any details that might help you clarify who you’re writing for. You must also have an idea in your mind of your core message and your goal for why you want a website in the first place – what’s the one thing you want from their first visit? An email address, a newsletter sign up, a purchase, a Facebook Like?
Why are you writing this web page?
Think about each web page individually. Consider the reason you will be publishing it. Does that web page need to be on your website or did you just think it should be up there because everyone else has a similar one?
What is this web page about?
You need to focus your content as succinctly as possible. Each web page should have a key message that you can summarize in one sentence – think of it as an elevator pitch. How do you decide on what the key message will be? Imagine if you had less than 30 seconds, can you summarize the key message of the web page in one headline and use one sentence. Every web page you have written should be prepared with this in mind, write:
- for a specific purpose
- for a specific type of reader
- for a specific result
Each web page should have a different key message – you don’t want to duplicate content.
Identify your target audience: Who are you trying to attract?
By knowing and understanding who your target audience is, it helps you to use the appropriate tone, language and vocabulary in your writing. For clarity and good search engine rankings, you need to think about exactly what the people you are hoping to attract actually want. For example, on a corporate website might be trying to attract new investors so new investors might be looking to read or download the latest financial statement or annual report or prospectus. So give them what they are looking for and use appropriate language that would be appropriate and relevant to your prospective audience.
What do you want people to do?
How do you want people to respond after reading your web page? Clarifying and clearly identifying in advance the key goals for each web page will help you to structure your writing well, choose relevant keywords and enable you to rank highly in the search engines. Perhaps you want people to complete a specific action – for instance:
- comment on your web page or post
- share the link using one of your social media options (like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc)
- sign up to your subscription newsletter
- order a product – “Buy Now”
- bookmark your website
- read another page on your website by clicking on another link
So you can see that writing content for your website does actually require a bit of strategic thinking and foresight long before you sit down at your keyboard to start typing. It can be extremely tempting to rush headlong into writing content, but planning and preparation will yield much better results in the long-run.