Engage website visitors with planned, organised content. Here are some helpful tips and links to underpin your online strategy through improved content; visual and copy.
Make it Skimmable
(Yes, skimmable is not a word, I’ve just made it up) Not all content is equally important so make it easier for the reader to pull out the important bits by providing a visual separation from key points and supporting content. Remember, we’re all time poor, so make it easier to find the key bits. Guide the reader through the content by pulling key phrases so they can skim to the bits most relevant to them.
- Format your content by making use of heading classifications (in geek speak, that’s h1, h2, h3 etc), bold, italics and lists
- Improve your typography – font size, line height, font types, use of capitals and drop caps
- Break information into small paragraphs
If you’re writing an informative piece, consider doing a summary at the end to highlight the key points.
Headline = Hook
Write your titles and headlines to hook the reader. Just like the subject line is important in an email newsletter, page titles and headlines within content are important to tell the reader what they can expect and why it’s relevant to them.
Relevance not Keywords
Google’s new algorithm, Panda, is looking for unique content that is interesting, not content that is peppered with keywords. Write with your target audience in mind, not with keywords in mind. Keep the tone consistent with your brand identity.
If you’re selling products online, don’t just copy & paste the manufacturer’s description. Increase the tangibility of the product by writing up a description or review using everyday, not marketing, words.
Include Calls to Action
Help the reader out and provide clear calls to action. Don’t just talk about a product or service, give them an easy way to buy it through things like a ‘Buy Now’ button or ‘Get a Quote’ link on the page. Make sure all the calls to action links work, i.e. they’re not broken links.
Calls to action can include providing benefit information, making it increasingly relevant for the reader.
Images Support the Content
Don’t include gratuitous images (*cough* stock images *cough*). Use images to illustrate the content and provide a visual example. Don’t include images just because they look pretty.
Infographics are a great way to visualise data and illustrate your content.
Sounds elementary but it’s often overlooked. If your website is riddled with mis-spellings and grammatical errors it makes you look unprofessional. Take the time to proof read your content.
Copy writing isn’t every-one’s forte. Know your strengths and, if copy writing isn’t one of them, consider using some of your marketing or strategy budget to hire an effective copywriter. Read examples of their work and talk to past clients. Great content = readers, it’s not enough just to have a great looking website. Having fresh, relevant and well-written content can give you a competitive edge.
Make it Social
Add social sharing buttons and commenting where appropriate. This will encourage readers to share your website across their social network and increase the likelihood of engagement.
Looking to refine your content strategy? Here are some articles that may prove useful.
- Yahoo! Style Guide
- Creative Ideas for Writing Content
- Content Strategy: Optimizing Your Efforts For Success
- Make Your Content Make a Difference
- 5 Content Marketing Strategies for Small Business
- Writing Microcopy
- Creating a Message Hierarchy
You’ve got great content, so make it visually appealing through typography.
What resources or tricks do you have for writing and designing effective website content?