How to Create Website Content
When it comes time to create a website, most business owners know they need to spend time thinking about its design. Color selection, images, and layout all receive their due attention; but textual content often gets left out of that picture. As a writer, this puzzled me for a long time. Who ignores the written word? Don’t they know the power of the right word?
But now I have a theory about why written content gets ignored – it is because good content disappears. If your website content is thoughtful and well-written, no one will notice. It comes across as easy and effortless. But poorly written content jumps off the page, it screams out unprofessionalism.
This problem is compounded because everyone looking for a website knows how to write at some level. They probably have no idea about HTML, CSS, and the like – but who hasn’t put pen to paper at least once in their life? And by the time they realize that written good website content is harder than it looks, it’s too late and they’re committed.
I get it. I wish everyone hired to me to write their content, but there are a thousand reasons to do it yourself. It could be money, time, pride, control, or any reason. So, if you want to try your hand at writing website content, consider the following guide as a quick introduction to content writing.
Step 1: Competitor Research
The first step in crafting website content is competitor research. For this process, I usually pick 2-3 local competitors and 2-3 national providers. The goal of competitor research isn’t to copy – it is to learn. Figure out what they’re doing that you like and what they’re missing.
If you have access to advanced SEO tools, you can also see which competitors are the most successful and use that information to help shape your content strategy. Once you’ve put together some competitor information, you’re ready to move on to step two.
Step 2: Establish Tone & Voice
Once you have an idea about the competition you’re facing, it is time to establish your tone and voice. If you’ve already developed a brand voice, then you’re way ahead here. But either way, spend some time considering how you want your content to sound. It could be professional, playful, funny, logical, or whatever works for your brand.
We covered tone and voice concerns in-depth in this blog post: Writing 101: Tips for Content Writing. Check it out if you need a bit more information about establishing your brand’s tone and voice.
Step 3: Write & Proof
With a tone and voice established, you’re ready to start actually writing! The best writing practice is unique to each person, but I’ll outline my technique here:
- List: I got down a running list of ideas I want to cover. This is totally unorganized and usually all over the board. The goal here is just to get the ideas flowing
- Find the Focus: Once I have my ideas down, I read through them and determine the focus of my content. The focus of your content should consider your business offering, SEO needs, and your competitor research.
- Organize: I use the focus to organize and reshape my remaining ideas. In this step, I create a rough outline of my content – with an introduction, body, and conclusion.
- Write: Take your outline and start writing. Many people want to jump to this step, but your writing will be so much better if you put in the work of outlining first.
- Proof: I usually let my writing sit overnight before I go back for to proofread and edit. Then my final step is to run the text through Grammarly – a great (free) tool that will catch a lot of mistakes that a typical spell-checker misses.
Step 4: Go Live
Eventually, you must set your writing free in the big, wide world of the internet. It might be scary, but there’s only one way to know if your content is successful. The beauty of the internet is that you can also go back and revise your content later. So, suck up your pride and let your hard work be seen by the world. If they hate it, you can go back to the drawing board and start over again.
Step 5: Refine and Revise
And that brings us to the final step: refine and revise. The internet allows us to constantly refine our work to reach more people and make more of an impact. With tools like heat mapping and Google analytics, we can see what content is catching reader’s attention and what is falling flat.
You might not want to hear this, but website content creation never ends. It is a never-ending cycle of writing, testing, analyzing, and refining. That might seem daunting – but the success of your business might very well depend on it.
Writing high-quality website content isn’t easy – but the cost of poor content is high. Think about the last time you visited a website with poorly written content. Did you trust that business? Did you want to tell your friends about their service? No way.
When I come across a website with typo-filled, confusing text, I move on. If they won’t invest the resources in crafting content, then I don’t trust them to invest in the quality of their product or service. Don’t run the risk of losing customers over low-quality content!