Given the choice, nearly any business owner or marketer would prefer to have a professional copywriter craft their web content rather than spending hours and hours on the job themselves. However, not every client who needs web design has the budget for a good writer, and in some industries the huge amount of insider knowledge involved in crafting informative pages makes it faster to write than it would be to bring an outsider up to speed.
If you find yourself in either category it doesn’t mean you have to give up on having great web content. You just need to approach the project the same way a professional would. We talked with an experienced web content writer who has written hundreds of across many industries. Here was his advice…
1. Start with Your Target Audience
What looks like great web content to one type of buyer could fall flat with another. If you really want to make an impression on visitors to your website, think about who those visitors will be and what they care about most. Try to picture them as individuals and then shape your messaging around their preferences and concerns.
2. Lay Down a Few Set Talking Points
If you tend to suffer from writers block it’s probably not a lack of creativity that’s affecting you. Instead, it’s not having a sense of where to begin. To break through, don’t think about writing anything. Just begin putting your most important thoughts and notes in a blank document and build up from there.
3. Start Thinking in Words
After you have a rough idea of what you want to write about, begin extending your ideas into complete sentences. They don’t have to be perfect, or to go in order. Just keep putting one sentence after another onto the page until you feel like you have gotten to the heart of what you need to express to your potential customers.
4. Trim Down Your Content
The magic of good writing isn’t in putting words together, but editing them into something that is informative and insightful. If you have already followed our advice this far you will have lots of different sentences written out. Arranging them should be easy. As a rule of thumb, just rank your ideas from most important to least and then start trimming repetitive or unnecessary ideas until your web page is a reasonable length.
5. Add a Few Extras
It’s perfectly fine to have functional writing on your website that consists of clear sentences in a logical order. To make your content stand out a little bit, though, try using bulleted points, subheadings, and numbered lists to make your key ideas easier to identify. These will also make your content feel shorter and more engaging.
6. Focus on a Clear Conversion Goal
Every page in your website will exist for some specific purpose. Think about what that goal is. Do you want to convince a visitor to pick up the phone, order product, or do something else? Find that goal and start writing statements that invite them to take that step. You can use these to end each page and keep buyers moving in the right direction.
7. Double Check Everything
After you are finished writing and have a version of your web page or blog post you like and think expresses your most important ideas, resist the urge to put it straight online. Instead, walk away for a few hours and then read everything again with fresh eyes. Or better yet, get someone you trust to proofread the pages and give you feedback. It can be frustrating to stop when you’re so close to the end, but your web content will much better for this added step.