What Should I Put In My Website?
A Consumer Friendly Guide to Content Creation
One of the biggest challenges in developing a website is creating content that is user friendly, comprehensive, and provides an accurate picture of your organization. Perfecting this content can be time consuming, confusing, and slow down the site-building process, while still creating conditions that impede your customers in accessing the information they need. The introductory guide provided here may seem simple, but a surprising number of websites are not structured to put their basics first.
How Will Your Website Be Used?
In most cases, a user is visiting your website to answer a question. Your job in providing information about your business, and your web designer’s job in presenting that information is to predict the questions your customers will ask, and to answer those questions quickly, easily, and reliably.
There are two general categories of information your visitors will look for: information about your specific business, and information about your general industry. Either or both of these searches may be relevant to your website, depending on the type of product or service that you offer.
Questions About Your Business
This category includes questions all websites should answer – who are you, what do you do, and how your products can be accessed. Answers to these questions should be very easy to find, and located either on your Home Page, or within one click through a well-labeled menu item. These questions include:
- What are your business hours?
- Where are you located?
- What are your products or services?
- How much do your products and services cost?
Providing this information up front, and before lengthy details reduces customer frustration, improves bounce rate, and helps customers trust your business. For organizations that provide consulting services, or custom packages that vary in cost, providing an average range or industry standard gives your potential clients a base idea of what to expect, and creates a more approachable experience.
Your job in providing information about your business, and your web designer’s job in presenting your information is to predict the questions your customers will ask, and to answer those questions quickly, easily, and reliably.
Questions About Your General Industry
If you work in an industry that provides professional services, sells specialty products, or requires technical knowledge to access, content should include explanatory information that draws customers to your site. This is the more challenging side of content development, and can be as short or extensive as needed, depending on the reason for your website, type of product you sell, and how much of a reference you would like your website to become.
These questions may also be more general to the type of service you offer, for example:
- If you do home inspections, what should an inspection cover? What is the difference between an inspection conducted to meet closing requirements, and an inspection that will evaluate long-term repair costs?
- If you sell a specialty product, what problem does it solve? How widespread is this problem, and how should a customer evaluate what solution they need? Is there a unique perspective you can give on the background of the problem?
- If you offer custom repairs, what can customers do to prevent damage? What accelerates damage, and what can be done while they’re taking estimates and waiting for repairs to begin?
In addition to building trust and providing free assistance to your customer base, providing this information boosts your search ranking by driving traffic to your site and encouraging link backs from other reputable organizations.
Choosing a Tone and Audience
When presenting your information, think about your ideal customer. How knowledgeable do you expect them to be when contacting you? What can you provide to help your clients become more informed and positive to work with? As you provide more detailed information, understand that a substantial portion of your site traffic will be made up of visitors who may not need your services, but are interested in your industry as a whole. To encourage traffic on that level and build your general base, tailor your writing to readers outside of your industry as a whole – this means defining acronyms, minimizing technical jargon, and explaining your products from the ground up (more technical descriptions can and often should be available also, but generally not as the site’s first impression of your services).
In our next article, we’ll be showing you examples of taking walls of text, jargon, and graphics, and turning it into clean, simple website content.